I think we can all agree on this: Blackheads are pretty much the worst.
Some days, you might feel as though you’ve tried absolutely everything to keep your skin clean and clear…and still wake up with a raging blackhead right in the middle of your forehead. Cool. Cool cool cool.
As it turns out, there might be a few more things you can do in order to prevent breakouts. Actually, there are a number of things you’re probably doing that are making your blackheads worse! You might even be doing them every. single. day.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 15 things that you might be doing to trigger blackhead breakouts…and the solutions to those things, too. (Don’t worry; we weren’t gonna leave you high and dry!)
Without further ado, here are some of the sneakiest causes of blackheads. How many are you guilty of?
Your phone is covered in germs. Lots of ’em. And you probably put it right against your face every time you have a phone conversation!
It’s no surprise that a dirty phone on your face can have less than desirable results.
First of all, you can keep your phone clean by wiping it every now and then with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. Dry it with a (clean!) lint-free piece of cloth and you’re good to go!
Also, consider taking your calls on speakerphone or using headphones!
2. Sleeping on a Dirty Pillowcase
Once again — dirty thing. Touching your face.
It’s a recipe for blackhead disaster.
Do your laundry!
However, washing your pillowcase every single day? Nobody has time for that. You can also just place a clean towel or washcloth over your pillow each night!
You touch your face dozens of times per day, most of the time without even realizing it. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you were touching face when you read that.
There’s no way you’re washing your hands often enough to keep dirt and oils from building up on your fingers, and putting them on your face…well, you get the picture.
Try not to touch your face!
If you need a boost of willpower, just try to gross yourself out and think about the germiest thing you’ve touched. Then think about the fact that those germs will get on your face if you touch it. Yeah. No thanks.
If you play an instrument like the violin or viola, you’re introducing dirt, oil, and germs to your face every single time you place it under your chin. (The same issue if you play another instrument and constantly rest your face against it when you’re not playing!)
Over time, you might notice that you break out in that exact spot pretty regularly. That’s not a coincidence.
Nah, I’m just kidding. Just wipe off the offending component before every rehearsal. Maybe get a few wipes to store in your case for just such an occasion!
Obviously, you have to wear a helmet if you play football, but after each practice or game, it becomes hot, sweaty, and damp — literally everything nasty bacteria could want. Next time you put your helmet on…ew. All that bacteria gets transferred directly to your face.
This one’s a little tricky!
You can try adding some Velcro to the inside of your helmet and lining it with washable fabric (change it out often!).
If that’s a little too complicated, wear a sweatband! And don’t forget to wash your face after practice!
Yep. Believe it or not, washing your face may actually be to blame for some of your blackhead woes.
Scrubbing at blackheads can actually irritate your skin and make them worse! On top of that, your face wash could be drying out your skin which causes it to go into overdrive to produce more oil.
Everything in moderation.
Wash your face regularly, but don’t go crazy scrubbing an entire layer of skin off. Also, ask your dermatologist what type of face wash is best for your skin. It’s best to trust the experts on this one.
When your hormones get a little out of whack, your skin is often made to suffer for it.
Obviously, being on your period has a pretty big effect on the ol’ hormones.
Unfortunately, there’s not too much you can do about this one.
Be sure to drink plenty of water (at all times of the month!) and maybe try to be extra vigilant about some of the other blackhead triggers on the list while you’re on your period.
You can also talk to your doctor about prescribing you birth control.
While sweat itself is sterile, it can easily pick up dirt and oils from elsewhere on your skin and leave them behind, causing blackheads.
Barring that, try to wash your face (or at least rinse it off) after every workout. And, obvs, make sure to use a clean towel.
9. Using Dirty Makeup Brushes
Honestly, this might be the worst mistake on the list.
Every time you use a makeup brush, you’re dipping it into the product and touching your face (duh; that’s how makeup works). This gives dirt and oils the chance to get onto the brush…which you then put right back in the product and back on your face again. It’s a gross, blackhead-triggering cycle.
Wash. Your. Makeup brushes!
You should be washing them at least once a week to stop bacteria from collecting there. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt. Yes, you have to do it anyway. Sorry.
10. Sleeping with Your Makeup On
Look. I know what a pain it is to remove your makeup every single night.
Unfortunately, makeup is one of those things that definitely contributes to the whole “dirty pillowcase” problem we talked about earlier.
I mean, come on. You know this one.
Wash your makeup off. Every night. Even when you don’t feel like it.
And apply a moisturizer while you’re at it! 35-year-old you will thank you.
Every time you shave (your face or elsewhere on your body), you’re not just removing hair. You’re also removing a thin layer of (mostly dead) skin.
This can irritate your pores and cause ingrown hairs, which in turn can result in blackheads.
This one’s a multi-step solution.
Before shaving, splash warm water on your face to open up your pores.
Always use a shaving cream or gel to provide a layer of protection, and change your blade out regularly.
Finally, steer away from aftershaves or other post-shave stuff that has alcohol in it. That will just dry your face out, which is no good.
If you’re stressed out about having blackheads, well, I’ve got bad news for you.
Stress is actually going to make them worse.
Cortisol — the stress hormone — causes your skin to produce excess oils, which in turn can cause blackheads. It’s a cruel world, no?
Try to relax.
I know, I know. That’s much easier said than done. Maybe consider taking up meditation — even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day. Also, not to sound like a broken record or anything, but make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!
13. Wearing Tight Clothes
In order to remain healthy (and blemish-free), your skin needs to be able to breathe. Wearing overly tight clothes that are constantly rubbing against and suffocating your skin can lead to — as I’m sure you’ve already guessed — blackheads.
Don’t wear tight clothing. Or at least don’t wear it 24/7.
Loose-fitting, 100 percent cotton clothing is your best friend if you’re trying to battle blackheads. Also, feel free to break out the sweatpants just get totally comfy.
While it might be tempting to cover up any blackheads you see, that can actually make things even worse. Like we’ve already mentioned, your skin needs to be able to breathe in order to be healthy!
Wear less makeup! You might especially want to avoid oil-based foundations.
(Obviously, feel free to wear whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. Even it does result in blackheads. You only live once, ya know?)
15. Eating (and Drinking) Dairy
There’s some scientific evidence to suggest that consuming dairy products could cause blackheads. Researchers aren’t totally sure why, but one theory is that the hormones that are given to dairy cows in order to make them produce milk could also have an adverse effect on your skin.
Bring on the almond milk!
If you’re not ready to cut dairy completely out of your life, consider eating less of it for a week and seeing if that has any effect on your skin.
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