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You’ve tried everything, it seems, from scrubbing your face with every acne product you can find to changing your diet – yet, you are having more breakouts than ever before. If so, our dermatologists can help you determine why your acne is getting worse.

Acne is a common problem among teenagers and adults. In fact, acne is the most common skin problem in the United States, with about 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experiencing some degree of acne.

Woman looking at a breakout on her cheek in the mirror

The cause of acne in adults can vary from person to person, but four factors contribute to the development of adult acne: excess oil production, pores becoming clogged by “sticky” skin cells, bacteria, and inflammation. Other factors, such as hormones, makeup, and skin and hair products, stress, medications can influence the onset of acne in adults.

Certain factors can also cause existing acne to get worse. Here are a few of those factors and suggestions on how to avoid breakouts associated with them.

Too Many New Skin Care Products

When you see signs of a breakout, your first reaction may be to buy a different acne medication. After all, it would seem reasonable to buy something new if the old products didn’t work within a couple of days.

You might be surprised to learn that using too many new products on your skin may actually be causing breakouts, especially if you quit using a product too soon. Overlapping acne products can cause skin irritation that leads to even more breakouts. What’s more, you may be quitting a potentially successful treatment before it has a chance to work – acne treatments can take 6 to 8 weeks to begin working and may take three to 4 months to completely clear your skin.

Takeaway: chose one acne medication and stick with it for at least two months.

Bad Makeup Habits

While makeup is great for hiding blemishes, bad makeup habits can trigger or worsen your breakouts. Sleeping in makeup is one of those bad habits. As you sleep, oil flows from the pores of your face to the surface of your skin. Makeup can trap this oil, clogging your pores and causing breakouts.

Using unwashed makeup brushes can also trigger breakouts. Dirty makeup tools can trap dust, dirt, dead skin cells, old beauty products and more to create a bacterial breeding ground. Each time you put on makeup with a dirty makeup tool, you are also applying more dirt, dead skin cells and other debris onto your face.

Takeaway: remove makeup at night and wash or replace your makeup brushes regularly.

Touching Your Face

Every time you touch your face, you potentially bring dirt, oil, and bacteria to your pores, causing breakouts. Touching your face to pop pimples is even worse, as the pressure between your fingertips can push these pimple-causing agents deeper into your pores.

Takeaway: try to avoid touching your face whenever possible and never pop your pimples.

Scrubbing Your Face

If your acne looks worse after washing your face, you may be scrubbing your face too aggressively. Scrubbing can irritate and inflame your skin, which may worsen your acne instead of making it better.

Takeaway: wash your face gently.

Dirty Cell Phone

Each day, your cell phone touches a wide variety of surfaces, including the inside of your pocket, purse, desk, and even your fingers. Every time your phone touches one of these surfaces, it can pick up grime, oil and bacteria that may clog your pores – you can transfer those acne-causing agents to your skin every time you hold your cell phone to your face.

Takeaway: clean your cell phone regularly with an antibacterial wipe and use your phone’s speaker when you can.

If your acne is getting worse even with consistent use of acne products, smart makeup habits, and good cell phone practices, consult with your dermatologist. Our team of dermatologist at Center for Dermatology can help you determine the underlying causes of your breakouts and provide treatment recommendations to reduce your acne. Contact us today to learn more about our acne treatment services.