Whilst acne breakouts seemingly hit us from nowhere, it is likely that the underlying factors contributing to the breakout, have been occurring for some time. Many acne sufferers understand how breakouts occur - when oil glands go into overdrive and pores become clogged and inflamed, but for many people it is difficult to pinpoint why.
Understanding why helps people to minimise the severity of the breakout and to better manage potential factors that may be causing continuous breakouts to occur.
Here are 5 common triggers that may surprise you:
Many of us are wearing masks for extended periods, and whilst there are many positive benefits to mask-wearing, acne breakouts can be one of the downsides. Acne breakouts triggered by masks occur due to the pressure from the mask in conjunction with humidity and sweat being trapped underneath causing irritation and pimples. Furthermore, microbes can rapidly build up and sit on the skin for many hours under the mask leading to breakouts. People wearing fabric masks face an elevated problem as material such as cotton blends may absorb natural oils causing dryness and irritation. For people washing and re-wearing their mask, residue from the washing detergent can also lead to clogged pores and irritation.
Cleanliness of your pillowcase could be a massive culprit to acne breakouts. When your pillowcase is not washed or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as what is on your actual skin and hair that touches the pillow is transferred back onto your skin. This can clog pores and cause blemishes. Not everyone is going to break out from a pillowcase but if you are prone to breakouts, whether it's because of hormones, genetics or stress, your pillowcase can exacerbate an already delicate situation and cause micro-irritation.
You should wash your pillowcases every two to three days. This ensures you are not lying on a pillowcase with several days' worth of oil soaked into it or pooled on the surface.
But wash with caution - liquid fabric softeners leave behind a waxy residue that is highly pore clogging. Avoid using fabric softeners on your pillowcases. Fragrance-free fabric softeners are unfortunately not any better - in this case, it is the softening agents that are a problem for acne-prone skin.
Not having a balanced diet
If you are consuming a diet high in processed foods, dairy and sugar and not eating a wide range of plant-based and fibre rich foods, chances are you are compromising the overall health of your skin especially if you are acne prone.
Too many highly processed foods are likely to mean you suffer inflammation and skin problems such as acne. Certain foods can further promote inflammation throughout the body, and it is possible this can trigger acne breakouts.
To best nourish your skin, you need to nourish your body from the inside out and ensure you eat a wide variety of wholesome foods to promote high levels of good bacteria and not let the bad bacteria overrule.
However, there is no definitive food “cure” or a one-size-fits-all approach to diet and acne. Before modifying your diet, it is best to consult with your doctor or naturopath to ensure you are getting the right dietary advice for you.
In general, the most effective way in dealing with acne triggers is to be eating a wholesome balanced diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy protein sources, and whole grains.
Foods containing the following ingredients are also thought to be beneficial for the skin because they reduce inflammation:
High stress levels
While stress does not directly cause acne, it can exacerbate it, and if you are already acne-prone, stress can make your acne worse. Acne is an inflammatory disease that can be exacerbated by hormones released during stress, which increase inflammation. It is common for stress to cause your skin to go into ‘defence mode’ at the first signs of stress and produce more oil. Our cortisol levels - appropriately referred to as the “stress hormone” rises. This imbalance may trigger or aggravate existing skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, hives and eczema. Prolonged stress can also make it harder for skin problems to heal. The best solution is to find stress relievers that work for you and dedicate some time to self-care every once in a while, doctor’s orders.
You could try:
Prolonged use of antibiotics
Whilst in some cases antibiotics are critical to recovering from an illness, taking too many can be detrimental to the colonies of your good gut bacteria. When bad bacteria overrule, it can quickly trigger a variety of skin conditions.
You might be surprised but your gut’s microflora is directly related to the health of your skin. When your gut’s microflora is unhealthy or out of balance your gut leaks toxins, that are then carried to your skin - resulting in breakouts. Bottom line is the healthier your gut, the healthier your skin.
Taking probiotics and plenty of fermented foods is a really important part of healing your gut. If your digestive system isn’t functioning properly, then neither will your liver nor lymphatic system which will end up causing havoc with your skin.
If your skin is suffering ongoing breakouts, Kiri Yanchenko, founder of AMPERNA® is here to help. Kiri suffered severe health complications from stress and side effects from medication. She found by that adopting holistic principles she was able to help herself back to full health and glowing skin.
The AMPERNA® range features products that are full of anti-inflammatory anti-bacterial ingredients and contain our probiotic complex. The products and ingredients are inspired by Kiri’s learnings on Holistic Skin Health and the link that she found between gut health and skin health.