50+ Hidden Triggers of Acne in Your Daily Routine

This is a checklist of 50+ triggers in your day-to-day life that could be worsening your acne without your knowledge. This is not to say that you cut out all of these triggers from your routine. This checklist is to help you rule out all the major triggers that contribute to your acne on a daily basis.
  1. Shaving creams for men – often contain hair softening comedogenic emollients.
  2. Aftershave lotions – contain alcohol that can irritate skin, causing more acne.
  3. Perfume sprays – contain oils and alcohol, spray can accidentally reach acne prone areas.
  4. Deodorant / anti-perspirant sprays – the same stuff that prevents odour and sweat can also cause acne.
  5. Using dirty wrist bands to wipe sweat on face – germs build up with each swipe.
  6. Pet dog licking you face – need we say more? (hint: saliva and germs)
  7. Swimming pool water – Chlorine and suspended impurities can irritate and clog pores.
  8. Sitting near burning oil lamps – wall plugins with perfumed oils can deposit oils on your skin.
  9. Car perfumes – car plugins with perfumed oils can deposit oils on your skin.
  10. Cell phones – keeping the cell phone close to your jawline can lead to irritation acne.
  11. Pillows – if pillow cases are not changed regularly, germ build up can cause acne.
  12. Hair oil – hair oil can slowly and invisibly trickle down to acne prone areas of face and neck.
  13. Hair conditioner – silicone and oils in hair conditioners can cause acne.
  14. Hand creams and lotions – contain thick emollients that reach your face when you touch it.
  15. Body lotions – same logic as for hand creams and lotions.
  16. Fumes from frying stuff in the kitchen – oily fumes from cooking with a frying pan can deposit on skin.
  17. Lip balms – lip balms contain emollients that can trickle down or rub off and cause chin breakouts.
  18. Eye creams – often contain comedogenic ingredients that can travel or rub off on acne prone areas of the face.
  19. Hand wash liquids and soaps – can leave a film of irritants and comedogenic substances on hands which can then rub off on acne prone areas.
  20. Touching your face out of habit – resting your chin on your hands or resting your face on your palms can transfer dirt and germs on to the face.
  21. Helmets – can lead to acne on the forehead due to friction and accumulation of sweat.
  22. Dandruff – can lead to pimples on the forehead.
  23. Rim of your eye glasses (spectacles) – The part that rests on the bridge of the nose can accumulate sweat and dirt that can clog pores.
  24. Dairy items – although controversial, milk and dairy products have been reported to aggravate acne. Maybe cut out dairy for a couple weeks and see if it helps your acne.
  25. Sugar – although controversial, sugary food items have been reported to aggravate acne. Maybe cut out sugar for a couple weeks and see if it helps your acne.
  26. Sweat – sweat due to exercising, walking in the hot sun or from anything else can cause acne. Use a paper napkin to wipe sweat and wash face at the first chance.
  27. Liver overload – there is not enough science to back it up, but this is a theory prevalent in Ayurveda.
  28. Hormonal – puberty, PMS, pregnancy, menopause, PCOS can all cause and worsen acne.
  29. Stress – being under long periods of extreme stress can take a toll on the skin in the form of acne.
  30. Thick creams – time to ditch that old jar of Charmis / Nivea / Pond’s Cold Cream. Thick creams form a layer on the skin and their comedogenic ingredients clog pores to worsen acne like there is no tomorrow.
  31. Towels – Like pillow covers, towels need to be washed regularly to prevent germ build up.
  32. Hair creams – Like hair oils they can trickle down invisibly to the forehead and jawline.
  33. Hair sprays – often alcohol and comedogenic ingredients, spray can accidentally reach acne prone areas.
  34. Grease from pollution – if you commute on a two-wheeler in a polluted city, you are reaching home with a layer of grime and grease that can worsen acne.
  35. Using face cleansers with pore clogging ingredients.
  36. Facials at a beauty parlour – taking skin care advice from your beautician bent on selling facial packages and creams in jars may not be the best thing you do for your face.
  37. Dirty shower head – often overlooked and far-fetched perhaps, but a clean shower head is a good thing for your whole body.
  38. Not removing makeup completely – using a face wash to remove makeup is not enough. A non-comedogenic makeup remover (our pick: Johnson’s Baby Oil) can take off every last trace of makeup.
  39. Not washing hands properly after eating greasy food – using paper napkins to wipe hands after a meal instead of washing them with soap leaves greasy residue on hands that can then reach the face.
  40. Using contaminated makeup brushes / sponges – makeup brushes and sponges need to be washed after every single use.
  41. Unhygienic jars of creams – dipping your hands into a jar of cream for every use is unhygienic.
  42. Roller ball pimple treatment creams – for the same reason, using roller ball pimple treatments is unhygienic.
  43. Trying out products at makeup counters with their contaminated brushes / sponges – if there was a sin against your skin, this would be it.
  44. Steaming the face too often – hot, moist air from the steam can lead to inflammation of the skin and block pores further.
  45. Harsh scrubs – can cause irritation and thicken the skin, leading to more acne.
  46. Using body soap on face – a common practice, but unfavourable when it comes to an acne prone face. A mild face wash is a safer option.
  47. Using anti-bacterial soap not meant for acne prone skin on the face (Dettol / Lifebuoy) – assuming that an anti-bacterial soap will help acne prone facial skin is a mistake. Such soaps can be harsh and are otherwise loaded with pore clogging ingredients not suitable for the face.
  48. Certain nutritional supplements can increase oil secretion in the skin and lead to more acne and pimples.
  49. Body-building supplements used to add bulk to the body can increase testosterone, an androgen majorly responsible for causing acne.
  50. Eating too much heat-inducing food – not enough science behind it, but it is generally believed that spicy foods or heat-inducing foods can aggravate acne.
  51. Using the wrong products for home remedies – even if you are using the right home remedies, they may not be in the purest form – example bottled honey may have preservatives that can aggravate your acne.
  52. Sleeping with your face resting in your palm – a common practice, but hands can transfer oils and germs to the face.
  53. Taking skin care advice from well-meaning relatives and clear-skinned friends – that auntie who told you to use Pears soap for your face, didn’t know any better.


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