Ever wonder what might be lurking inside the walls of your home and causing acne? Some enemies are hidden in plain sight—in other words, things you use every day may be secretly wreaking havoc on your skin! Blinded by habit, you might be alarmed to discover that your constant household companions are doing dirty work on your skin. What do these items have against you? It’s just in their nature to be both naughty and nice. Let’s storm the gates of our castles and tackle our acne-causing friends.
1- Cellphones Are Double Agents
Talk about a constant companion—smartphones fall squarely within this category. We use them all day and half the night. We type in our closest contacts. We swipe the screen to access our favorite music. Our phones tell us where we are, how far we’ve walked and which direction we should travel. Some even recognize our faces and fingerprints. Oh, how close we are with our phones!
However, when you cuddle that iPhone 6 against your face, know it’s acting as a double agent. That’s right: Your bestie is working both for you and against you. All that swiping, typing and cuddling with your all-knowing phone can give you acne. Your cellphone screen is teeming with bacteria; after all, think of everything your fingers touch before they fiddle with the screen. When that screen rubs against your face and chin, the bacteria and friction from the contact can clog pores and irritate skin, causing or contributing to acne. Icky, huh?
To combat this, use an antibacterial wipe to clean your cellphone screen several times a day. Alternatively, use Bluetooth or speakerphone instead of placing the screen against your skin. Otherwise, when take your next selfie, your double agent might just capture you as an acne-stricken girl trapped in an undesirable ménage à trois between you, your iPhone and recurring acne.
2- Acne Fighters Can Be Frenemies
Are there other items in your house that purport to be friendly helpers but you suspect are sabotaging efforts to improve your skin? If so, these are called frenemies. And the over-the-counter acne treatment sitting on your vanity might just be one!
What to do? Perform a little online research to see what others are saying about your acne treatments. For example, just because your friend Ellie uses Proactiv doesn’t mean you should too; in fact, you might be surprised to find that this same OTC treatment has not received great reviews from the masses. Also, analyze the ingredients list in your acne cream or other acne treatment products. Watch out for products with high amounts of harsh, drying agents, such as alcohol. Check your moisturizer for pore-cloggers like mineral oil. Finally, consider how your skin has reacted to these products. Are they overdrying your skin? Is your face becoming more oily? Have you seen actual progress from your treatment regimen? Or does your acne just clear up and come back in a never-ending cycle?
If your acne persists, is cystic or is causing you emotional distress, you should see a dermatologist. Dermatologists aren’t frenemies; they’re professionals who can start you on a treatment plan. In one visit, you can begin a path to healing your skin.
3- Snuggly Pillows Deal in Your Dirt
Research from the American Academy of Dermatology says that stress plays a role in triggering or prolonging acne. So in the fight against acne, learning to relax and recover from stress is important, and properly managing stress entails getting enough sleep. After a long day when you lay your head to rest, you should feel comfortable, relaxed and ready for dreamland; however, if you’re sleeping with the enemy, beauty sleep isn’t going to happen. And each morning, the discovery that your acne is no better—or perhaps even worse—just triggers more stress. After looking in the mirror, you might frustratingly ask yourself: “Why doesn’t my acne improve? I gently cleansed my face and applied my OTC treatment before bed. Yet, after months of this regimen, my acne persists. What is going on?”
Have you considered that your pillow may be a germ factory disguised as your snuggly bedfellow? Pillows can become like petri dishes, growing bacteria from the dirt, sweat and oils on your face. Truth is, your pillow’s got the dirt on you because you got your dirt on the pillow first.
So, what to do? Pillows are among the surfaces, termed acne mechanica, that regularly and repeatedly rub against the skin for hours at a time and produce lesions in acne patients. Tight clothes, like fitted exercise clothing, and recreational equipment, such as football pads, also fall in this category. Washing your face and applying your nightly OTC acne treatment is key, but make sure you also wash your pillowcases at least every 2–3 days.
The good news is that we’ve identified some of the household culprits that are hindering your fight against acne. Armed with this knowledge, you can rid yourself of hidden enemies!