Pimples Everywhere: What’s Causing Your Breakouts?

Do your pimples pop up ever so suddenly without you knowing its underlying cause? Well, it’s time to investigate your triggers and find out what’s causing your breakouts.

It is easy to attribute your breakouts to a stressful week or a couple of all-nighters. However, there are other things that we come into contact on a regular basis that can actually cause these breakouts. As there is no one specific cause for acne, many things in our daily life can cause or contribute to this. With that, here are some common and not so common causes that you should be looking out for:

#1 You’re menstruating


It’s that time of the month once again where your hormones go haywire. Androgen production over-stimulates your oil glands and may cause break outs especially along your jawline. Most women find relief by using oral contraceptives (the pill), but you will need to talk about this with your doctor first.

#2 You work out and sweat

Everybody sweats, and that’s normal. However, excessive sweating especially when working out can clog your pores, leading to acne. Workout clothes (especially tight fitting ones) can also rub against your skin and cause friction, aggravating acne. Always shower after working out and wash your body with anti-acne wash to keep your pores clean. n

#3 You use pore clogging products

Many beauty products contain comedogenic (pore clogging) ingredients that clog the pores. Try to look for products with the term “noncomedogenic” on the labels.

#4 You don’t wash enough – or too much

washing face

Cleansing your face is important to remove dirt, makeup and sebum on the skin. So you may find yourself washing frequently to improve the condition of your skin. This may actually lead to more problems, since excessive skin cleansing may strip off your skin’s protective layers and dry the skin, causing irritation and breakouts.

#5 You forget to wash your makeup off

I know, sometimes you are just too tired to remove makeup, but no matter how much you want to close your eyes – be sure to drag yourself to the bathroom and wash your face. Sleeping with your make up on is a surefire way to trigger acne breakouts. Stock on cleansing wipes beside your bed for nights when you’re too tired to clean the gunk off.

#6 You don’t wash your makeup brushes and sponges


Okay, so cleaning your makeup sponges and brushes might not be on top of your to do list right now, but do it. Bacteria can grow on them, and you immediately transfer it to your face once you apply make-up.

#7 You’re allergic to your laundry products

Laundry detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softeners can cause skin irritation and lead to contact dermatitis, which you may mistake for acne. Try swapping your detergent with organic or fragrance free version, and skip the dryer sheets and fabric softeners and see if things clear up.

#8 You need some Zzz’s

woman sleeping

It is true, your skin needs rest. Not getting enough sleep inflicts stress on your body which raises the levels of cortisol or stress hormones in your system, leading to breakouts. Try to get at least eight hours of straight sleep every night.

#9 You’re taking prescription meds

Some prescription medications can cause acne formations, too. Check out for ingredients like prednisone (a steroid), iodine, lithium and lithium chloride. Most products that cause breakouts will list acne as a side effect in its Rx.

#10 You’re Always Anxious

Have you ever noticed how your breakout happens right before a big event? Yep – that’s stress wreaking havoc on your body. When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels shoot sky high and increases oil production and inflammation on your skin. When you feel stressed and anxious, try to calm yourself through relaxation methods and meditation.

#11 Your diet

Changing your diet is not only good for losing weight. It is also a good idea if you want to improve your skin condition. Avoid trigger foods like dairy, peanuts, caffeine, sugar, seaweed and soy. Eat clean and healthy by loading up on fruits, vegetables, free range poultry, fish and lots of water. Follow a clean diet for a month to see if there are any changes.

#12 You aren’t changing your sheets

woman changing sheets

Too tired to change your sheets? That can be your culprit right there! Bed linen absorbs gunk, sweat and dirt from your body and can harbor bacteria. Make sure you change your pillowcases twice a week and bed sheets once a week. The same thing goes for your towels as well!

If these scenarios are common to you, try to make the necessary changes and see if there is any improvement on your skin. If so, then you’ve found your trigger. Make sure that you avoid it to prevent pimples from breaking out in the future.

What about you, what other things trigger your acne breakouts?

About the author

Justine R

On an eternal quest for happiness, Justine tries to lead a positive lifestyle by giving back to the universe and following natural approaches to parenting, health, food and beauty. When she's not on the beach, she keeps herself fit (and sane) by running and doing yoga.


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  • Okay I don’t Menstruate, Don’t work out that much, don’t use pore clogging products (organic), wash my face 1-2 times a day not too much, don’t wear makeup, changed my laundry detergent to organic, been working hard to get the right amount of sleep, stopped taking prescription med and won’t even take any pain killers or allergy medicines anymore, been really working on my anxiety, changed my whole diet to organic, change the sheets on my pillow every night (even have organic sheets and pillow).

    Now what else can I do. My doctor wants me to go on antibiotics but I am hesitant. My acne is on my face, shoulders and chest. I feel when I eat a lot of cheese, carbs my acne flares up. If anyone knows I am in desperate need of assistance. Thanks!