Breakouts can happen at any time, but somehow, they manage to show up when they’re the most inconvenient—the day you take your driver’s license photo or before a big work presentation. There are a few common habits that can contribute to breakouts and undermine a diligent skincare routine. Small changes to these habits can make a big difference to your complexion.
Habit #1: Not changing towels often enough
Dirt, oil, and makeup are only a few of the things that collect on your towel, but you can’t see them. Every time you touch your towel to your face, those substances transfer to your skin.
However, those aren’t the only things a towel can hide. If you leave your towel in a humid bathroom, the towel can become a host for bacteria or fungus. Once transferred to the face, fungus and bacteria can irritate the skin or clog pores.
Keep your towels fresh and make sure they dry completely between uses. Your climate and how often you use the towel will determine how frequently that is for you. However, if you’re getting breakouts often, you might need to bump up your towel replacement schedule.
The towel’s texture can also play a role in breakouts. If you have dry or sensitive skin or if you have a condition like eczema, a towel that’s too rough can irritate the skin and contribute to breakouts. Look for soft, absorbent towels that are gentle on the skin. Make sure to dab your face dry rather than rub it to reduce the chances of irritation.
Habit #2: Not changing your sheets often enough
Sheets and pillowcases might not be as prone to bacteria and fungus as towels with their thousands of looping threads, but sheets can harbor oil, dirt, makeup, and yes, bacteria or fungus, if not changed often enough.
Pillowcases, in particular, can cause problems if they aren’t replaced regularly. Those with oily skin may need to replace their pillowcases more often than the sheets to prevent oil build-up and reintroduction of oil to the skin.
Habit #3: Using body cream on your face
You’re tired or in a hurry, and you’ve already got cream or lotion on your hands. It’s so easy to put it on your face and rush out the door or go to bed. However, the skin on your face is more sensitive than the skin on other areas of the body.
Facial skin has a relatively thin barrier and a high sebaceous gland density. The sebaceous glands produce natural oils that moisturize the skin. Body lotions and creams aren’t designed for sensitive facial skin or for higher oil production, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.
Facial moisturizers can prevent those breakouts because they're formulated for the unique needs of the face. If you can’t imagine having more than one moisturizer for your body, try SkinResourceMD’s Total Skin Moisturizer that’s formulated for the entire body, including the face. SkinResourceMD’s Oil Free Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer is another gentle, lightweight option formulated for the face that’s packed with antioxidants to nourish the skin.
Habit #4: Waiting to shower after a workout
Shower as soon as you can after your workouts. The longer perspiration, oil, and dirt accumulated while working out stay on the skin, the more likely they are to clog pores and lead to breakouts. Perspiration and body heat also create an environment that welcomes bacteria and fungus, which you also want to wash away as soon as possible.
Habit #5: Heavy phone use
Mobile phones collect more bacteria than most people realize. Studies show that they typically contain more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Much of that bacteria get there via the hands. Now imagine placing that phone against your ear and across your cheek every time you chat with a friend.
One solution is to use a hands-free device or speaker when talking on the phone. The other options are to sanitize your phone regularly and cleanse your face on a regular schedule. SkinResourceMD’s Tea Tree Deep Clearing Facial Cleanser is a great option because the tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties to keep bacteria under control.
Habit #6: Sleeping with your makeup on
Makeup, even non-comedogenic makeup designed for oily skin, can clog pores if it mixes with 24 hours' worth of oil and dirt. Remove your makeup before bed with a gentle cleanser, like SkinResourceMD’s Total Facial Cleansing Gel. You can further support your skin health by following up with a moisturizer.
Habit #7: Touching your face with dirty hands
Bacteria, oil, and dirt collect on the fingers and transfer to the face if you rest your chin in your hands or scratch your nose. Wash your hands before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, or using the restroom. It can also be helpful to wash them after spending time in public places where you’re more likely to collect dirt and bacteria. And, of course, try to keep your hands away from your face.
Ban those breakouts
Changing towels and sheets more often, keeping your skin clean, and making sure you’re using the right skincare products can all help put a stop to breakouts. Be consistent, and soothe your skin with nourishing products that restore balance and maintain natural moisture.