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Things that Cause Breakouts

Updated on September 4, 2012

What's Messing Up Your Skin?

You could be putting your skin through hell and not even know it. You lathered on sunscreen all summer but if you're about to pack away the SPF along with your flip-flops....don't! Fall's rays can cause brown spots, wrinkles and skin cancer just as quickly as the summer sun can. Every morning you should be applying a moisturizer!

- Going to Bed with Makeup On! A surprising number of women fall asleep without washing their face. Skipping it once a week is not a huge problem, coming home late from work and just collapsing into bed but doing it night after night can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. For those times when you're too tired to wash your face, keep a stash of cleansing wipes on your nightstand so you can swipe your face, throw away and go to sleep. Every other night you need to lather up nightly with a dime sized drop of cleanser and rinse it off with several good splashes of water. If you don't completely remove cleanser, it can clog pores. Residue may also prevent the active ingredients in creams from sinking in and doing their job. If you're not wearing mineral makeup yet, it's about time you start!

SKIN SPOILER 2 - Getting Squeaky Clean! Dermatologists say they're treating more and more women who use too many types of exfoliates. Scouring yourself too often strips out natural oils so your skin produces extra to compensate. Exfoliating more than necessary can cause extended harm. You end up with dry, flaky skin that's extra prone to sun damage and wrinkles. If your skin is normal, exfoliate just once a week. Oily or breakout-prone? Do it twice a week. If you're dry or sensitive, two times a month is plenty. No matter what, if a product burns or tingles, rinse it off.

SKIN SPOILER 3 - Eating the Wrong Foods (or Eating too Little)! If you've starved yourself to fit into a new dress or regularly snack on processed foods like chips and cookies instead of fruits and veggies, you're missing out on vitamins and nutrients. You don't have to be perfect all the time but for smooth clear skin you need a well rounded diet. I recommend whole grains, soy, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Plus....filling yourself up with the good stuff means you'll have less room for all that fatty, salty and sugary stuff no matter how much you like it.

SKIN SPOILER 4 - Smoking Cigarettes! About 20% of women 18-24 smoke and it may be written all over their faces. A female smoker will have pronounced lines around her mouth and look much older than she is. Smoking decreases the flow of oxygen and increases the production of rogue molecules known as free radicals, both of which bring on sallowness and wrinkles...a.k.a. smoker's skin. Do yourself a favor....quit smoking! Getting happier in your own skin may help. Work out and eat better. You will feel healthier and cherish your body more.

SKIN SPOILER 5 - Skimping on Sleep! Between economy anxiety and increased workloads, women seem to be sleeping less. Beauty sleep is no myth. Your body sees a chronic lack of sleep as a state of emergency which causes it to produce stress hormones. They signal the body to divert oxygen and nutrients away from skin to major internal organs. When skin doesn't get that optimum fuel, it can break out and become dull with dark under eye circles and puffiness. There's no getting around it, aim for seven hours of sleep.

SKIN SPOILER 6 - Yo Yo Dieting! Weight gain and loss, especially when they're done quickly and repeatedly weaken the fibers of skin, making it prone to premature sagging, stretch marks and little lines. Even putting on and shedding as few as five pounds rapidly can upset the body's hormone levels and trigger breakouts. If you're yo-yo dieting and your skin's sagging, try a firming lotion. Most important, set a goal of losing no more than two pounds per week, a safe, skin-friendly amount. Remember...slow and steady wins the race.

- Mistaking Rosacea for Acne! It's easy to confuse rosacea's red patches, visible blood vessels and inflamed pimples with plain old acne. More women are being diagnosed with it now more than ever before. If you have any symptoms or if you have splotches that worsen after workouts, when you eat spicy food or drink alcohol or when you're under stress, see a dermatologist. Leave it to a professional.

SKIN SPOILER 8 - Not Having Enough fun! Spend time with your friends, it's a proven stress buster. Studies show that stress weakens the barrier that protects skin from elements like pollution and the sun. When you break down the barrier, you put your skin at more risk for breakouts and wrinkles. Schedule yourself in some fun! It doesn't have to be with friends...I find a lot of fun taking my dogs to the dog park so I squeeze that in at least once a week and it's good for me and they're certainly not complaining. If you're going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear a quality sunscreen that won't clog your pores!


Five Bad Things that are GOOD for Your Skin

1. Chocolate - Women in a German study who downed a cocoa-rich drink daily-the equivalent of 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate for 12 weeks experienced less dryness. Their skin also had better blood flow, which pinks your cheeks, and was more resistant to sun damage, thanks to all the antioxidants.

2. Fruit Juice - It gets a bad rap for the sugar, but the antioxidant-packed kind, like cranberry and pomegranate juice, do skin good. So have a small glass or a Pomatini!

3. Oil-rich cleansers - They can help oily skin. Cleansers that contain emulsifying oils such as Vitamin E or Castor oil break down and dissolve dirt and oil without overdrying it like harsh cleansers can.

4. Sweat - I think it's funny how some women try to not sweat or workout but now quite to the point of sweating because they think sweat will cause breakouts. Perspiration is great for skin, it opens up pores, releases dirt and generally encourages skin to function properly.

5. French Fries - OK so they're not good for your skin but contrary to popular belief...french fries don't directly cause breakouts!


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