Everyday Acne Causes

Woman frowning upon discovering a pimple on her face

Hormone fluctuations during puberty are routine, but nonetheless horrifying to many teenagers. And just when we thought we were out of the woods, adult acne rears its ugly head. Find out everyday causes of adult acne and how you can prevent breakouts.


It seems no great surprise that what you’re putting on your skin could be an obvious cause of acne. Makeup and sunscreens can all contain ingredients that can irritate your skin and result in a breakout. Consumers are advised to read labels before buying beauty products. Tony Nakhla, M.D. and author of “The Skin Commandments: 10 Rules to Healthy, Beautiful Skin” warns against the following ingredients:

  • Artificial color (FD&C) which can irritate skin
  • Lanolin, which is basically sheep sebum or oil, and could cause breakouts in acne prone skin
  • Mineral oil which can form a film on your skin trapping dead skin cells and bacteria
  • Petroleum: Another oil that you really don’t need on your skin
  • Isopropyl Myrlstate: Although this gives the illusion of making skin feel less greasy, it will ultimately clog pores

Your Cell Phone

That’s right, this convenient piece of modern technology could be a major component in what’s making you break out. Pressing your cheek and chin around the phone causes pimple producing oils to collect and build up along with any bacteria already on your mobile. Eric Schweiger, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City explains, “It’s called acne mechanica. It’s caused by not letting the pores breathe and the repetitive motion causes friction.” Acne caused by your cell phone can be avoided by cleaning the phone regularly with the same cleansers you would use for computer and TV screens. Also, try not to keep your cell phone against your face and try to alternate the sides of your face you are pressing against your phone while speaking. A hands- free device could be another solution.

Hair Products

Many people don’t think about how their hair products cause acne, but, if you think about it, hair is constantly touching your face and if there is product in it, it will seep into your skin’s pores causing breakouts such as ‘pomade acne’ along the hairline. Annet King, director of The International Dermal Institute warns to stay away from hair products with oil, silicones and plasticizers which will clog pores if they get into your skin.


We’ve all heard that greasy foods and chocolate can lead to breakouts, but that’s not totally true. Ava Shamban, MD, author of “Heal Your Skin” notes that it’s really an all over unhealthy diet that can cause acne. Avoid eating foods that spike your blood sugar levels, like refined, sugar, white bread, pastas, and fried food. They will mess with your body and cause acne. Also, you may be allergic to certain foods which could be leading to breakouts. If you notice that your skin is breaking out after eating certain foods, avoid eating them and see what happens.

So, what do you find makes you breakout? Do any of these acne solutions seem like they might work for you?

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