9 Ways You’re Making Your Breakouts Worse
9 Ways You’re Making Your Breakouts Worse

9 Ways You’re Making Your Breakouts Worse

Hormones, poor diet and feeling run down all result in the odd breakout, but did you know there are some daily habits that can make the problem worse? We asked two skincare specialists to share some of the common mistakes – and how to correct course.
By Rebecca Hull

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Mistake #1: Clogging Your Pores

“Your skincare products and make-up often contain ingredients that can trigger breakouts. Some of the biggest culprits are toners, which contain alcohol that dries and strips the skin – it can be so aggravating for those who are prone to spots. Likewise, coconut oil, cocoa butter and essential oils are all very occlusive and will clog your pores unnecessarily. As for make-up, heavy-coverage products that claim to be ‘long-wear’ are on my no-go list when you’re battling breakouts. While they create the illusion of an even-toned complexion, they basically act like cement, trapping oil, dirt and bacteria on the skin. Instead, try mineral-based make-up. The particles are so fine you’ll never suffocate your complexion – BareMinerals is a favourite brand of mine.” Dr AJ Sturnham, GP specialising in dermatology

Mistake #2: Picking & Squeezing 

“Despite knowing we shouldn’t, a lot of people insist on picking their skin. While it can be tempting to do so, it will just push what’s inside the spot – think pus, bacteria and dead skin cells – deeper into the skin, even if you think you’ve cleaned it out properly. This will only increase inflammation and lead to more noticeable acne, as well as scarring and general discomfort. Leave everything well alone.” Dr Alexis Granite, consultant dermatologist 

Mistake #3: Switching Up Your Products Too Much

“Using the same products over a long period of time is far better than constantly chopping and changing. That said, keep an eye on the expiry date. The open jar symbol on your packaging will tell you how long a product remains usable once open. Using expired products can result in bacterial contamination and lead to acne, so be careful.” – AJ

Mistake #4: Not Applying Moisturiser 

“Breakout prone skin tends to be oily, so it’s easy to see why people apply astringents to their face to dry out their spots. However, it’s essential you keep your skin hydrated. Dry skin is irritated skin, and any time you irritate it, you risk making your acne worse. To save time and protect your skin, look for a moisturiser that contains broad-spectrum SPF – it should be factor 30 or higher. Non-comedogenic formulas are best, too – that way you won’t clog up your pores.” – Alexis

Mistake #5: ‘Drying’ Spots Out 

“Overdoing it on products that promise to ‘dry out the skin’ is a big no-no. This will cause extensive peeling and irritation which is never beneficial and may disrupt your skin barrier. Better options include hydrocolloid patches and blue light pens – both of which are proven to have a positive impact on breakouts.” – Alexis

Mistake #6: Over Exfoliating 

“Over exfoliating is a big issue in my clinic. Tempting as it seems, harshly scrubbing your skin to get rid of blemishes only makes things worse. It leaves your skin barrier weaker and your hydration levels impaired. The result? A triggering of excess sebum oil production which can make breakouts worse. Avoid overzealous cleansing regimes too – I find oil cleansing balms can really set skin off. Anything oil-based is the first thing I remove when my patients come to me looking for a new regime.” – AJ

Mistake #7: Touching Your Skin A Lot

“We don’t realise how much touch alone can aggravate spots. Doing so can spread dirt, oil and bacteria from your hands directly to your face. Only touch your face when you’re cleansing, moisturising or applying sunscreen and make-up – and when you do all of that, always wash your hands thoroughly first.” – Alexis

Mistake #8: Using Primer Too Often 

“If you are prone to oiliness and breakouts, you should skip the use of daily primers. Save them for special occasions only. They act as an occlusive layer, clogging up your pores which leads to dull, lifeless-looking skin. Instead, use replenishing moisturisers that can act as a primer while keeping your skin in good health at the same time.” – AJ

Mistake #9: Not Drinking Enough Water 

“It’s not a myth that drinking lots of water can help your skin. Doing so will eliminate toxins from the body and in turn, keep your skin clear. If your body doesn’t receive enough hydration, it can end up drying out your skin and dehydration can lead to spots. Equally, drinking too much alcohol can also have a big impact on breakouts, as can a lack of sleep. Regular exercise is a great way to combat the effects of all of this, but you must cleanse your skin immediately afterwards with something like CeraVe’s Blemish Control Cleanser. This uses an oil-absorbing technology with hectorite clay that gets rid of dirt, excess oil and sweat.” – Alexis


Follow @DrAlexisGranite & @DrAJSturnham for more skincare tips & advice. Find Dr AJ at Nuriss Clinics & Dr Alexis at the Cadogan Clinic.

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