7 Weird Things You Never Knew Made You Break Out

Most of us believe we already know the usual breakout suspects: oily creams and fluctuating hormones, I'm looking straight at you. But admit it: there are times when you know you're doing everything right--from eating and sleeping well to using skincare products specifically designed for your skin type--and yet you're still experiencing an inexplicable onslaught of pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. What in the world is going on?

The truth is, there are many factors that could contribute to breakouts, including the birth control you're taking, the skincare devices everyone else raves about, and even ice cream.

 Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse
, a dermatologist and educator, highlights 7 weird things you probably never realized could give you pimples.



It isn't your imagination. Although there is a weak link between acne flare-ups and dairy products, Shainhouse says studies have shown an increase in acne incidences reported to be associated with skim milk intake (but NOT with whole milk or low-fat milk dairy product consumption, which is a good thing for ice cream lovers). "While the mechanism of action has not been elucidated, it is probably associated with the natural and added growth hormones and growth factors in the skim milk itself, which trigger hormonal acne flares in the skin," Shainhouse says. "Most milk is sourced from pregnant dairy cows, who have high levels of circulation progesterone, insulin-like growth factor and other hormones that human bodies convert into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). These hormones can send oil glands into overdrive, which can trigger acne in susceptible people."

And be careful: even organic milk, which doesn't contain added bovine growth hormones, can still contain the innate ones. If you believe that dairy is triggering your acne, Shainhouse suggests waning yourself off of dairy for a month or two and replacing it with almond or rice milk (but be sure to make dietary changes or take supplements to replace the calcium and Vitamin D you'll lose in the process).

Vitamin B12 Shots.


Shainhouse cites a recent study from UCLA (2015) that showed extra Vitamin B12 may trigger acne flares in people who are already prone to acne and possibly in people who don't normally have acne. "Vitamin B12 was shown to alter the metabolism of the supplement by P. acnes, the bacteria that lives on everyone's skin, but only causes acne in some," she says. "These supplemented bacteria produce porphyrins, which can induce acne-triggering inflammation. While more cause-and-effect studies are needed, if you are acne-prone, you might not want to get am energizing Vitamin B infusion before your next party weekend with the girls."

Depo-Provera Shots.


There are many pros to getting Depo-Provera shots as an effective form of birth control, but one of the biggest drawbacks could be what it does to your skin. "These shots contain high levels of progesterone, which can trigger acne for some women, as well as weight gain," Shainhouse says. "If you have noticed this pattern in your skin, consider a non-hormone IUD or vaginal ring as a more convenient, face-friendly birth control option."

Lazy Laundry Schedule.


You're crazy busy so you skip laundering your sheets every few days. You don't have the patience to wash your own hair so you wait until your weekly blow-out. Both of these shortcuts make life a lot easier, but they could be wreaking havoc on your skin. "The grease from your scalp and face build up on your pillowcase and can trigger acne flares," Shainhouse says. "To prevent this, shower and wash your hair before bed, change your pillowcase at least once a week, and try flipping over your pillow mid-week."

Hair Conditioner.


If you're leaving your conditioner in for 3-5 minutes to soak your strands before rinsing it out, your well-conditioned, smooth, and glossy hair will thank you. But the skin on your back and shoulders may not be as grateful. "Letting that oily conditioner run down your back, then jumping out of the shower can leave a residue on your skin that can clog pores and trigger acne on your back and shoulders," Shainhouse says. "To prevent this, re-wash your back after rinsing your hair conditioner."

Facial Cleansing Brush.\


The Clarisonic has about a billion fans worldwide who will balk at the suggestion that it may not be good for all skin types. But even the best devices and skincare products don't work for everyone. And, even if the Clarisonic has given your skin a new lease on life, it's crucial that you care for it properly or it can backfire and cause breakouts. "While exfoliating can help prevent acne by unclogging pores, if you choose an electric face brush, be sure to keep it clean, so that you don't re-populate your skin with the bacteria that you removed the last time you used it," Shainhouse says. "Bacteria and yeast can live on the brush, and mold and mildew can grow inside of it. To prevent this, remove the brush head once a week and wash it, as well as cleaning out any mildew. Then, let it dry out completely, preferably outside of the shower."

Cell Phones.


Unless you only use a Bluetooth earpiece, the screen of your smartphone gets covered with dirt, make-up, oil and bacteria from your hands and holding it to your face, Shainhouse says. This can trigger and aggravate acne on the cheek that you usually use to take your calls. Shainhouse suggests preventing this by wiping down your phone a few times a day--no excuses.



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