Acne. I know I’m not the only one who considers it the bane of their existence sometimes. When you break out (or at least when I break out) you tend to blame the zits on the same old things: sweat from exercising, touching your face too frequently, your hormones swinging (hello, period), ect. All of those old notions are 100% true – but there are some other, more surprising reasons that cause you to break out. Here’s a few causes of acne that you might not expect and some tactics to stop those pesky pimples in their tracks.


1 . Your Significant Other Has a Beard

This one is unfortunate…but we have to hear it. If your guy has facial hair, kissing him might be causing you to break out. No, you’re not allergic to him. His rough beard rubbing against your smooth face creates friction, which causes his prickly hair to stimulate oil production on your face, causing blemishes and even beard burn.

Your Solution: I would say ask him to shave, but I know if I asked my boyfriend to do that, he’d start to weep. If you and your man love his facial hair, ask him to start conditioning his whiskers with coconut oil. This will leave his beard soft and smooth, preventing the irritating rubbing that causes acne.


2. You’re Eating Spicy Foods

If you can’t get enough of buffalo wings and Indian food, you might be sad to hear that this is a cause of acne. Many spicy foods contain acidic lycopene that can be an irritant to some people, causing their skin to break out. Other people will break out in response to other types of food, like dairy or bread. It entirely depends on your unique body.

Your Solution: If you think what you’re eating is a skin irritant (you can best tell if there are clusters of white heads popping up around your mouth and chin after eating the offending food) then take a break from it for a month. If you’re unsure which food is causing your acne, see your doctor or dermatologist so they can help you determine what’s going on.


3. You’re Going a Little Crazy on the Spot Treatments

This one seems counter-intuitive. Spot treatments have salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulphur in them to help heal your skin, don’t they? Well, they do, but they also dry your skin out incredibly. So if you’re going a little overboard, you will irritate your skin and cause further damage.

Your Solution: Back away from the drying spot treatments. Instead, try dabbing on an OTC 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, like Aveeno One Percent Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream, onto the spot to take down the inflammation and redness. Then cover it with a concealer that has antibacterial ingredients to keep your face clear.


4. Your Hair Products Are Clogging Your Pores

Although this doesn’t seem to make sense (you use hair products on your hair, not your face, duh), the sulfates, moisturizing agents and silicone in your hair products can soak into your face and clog up your pores. If you have acne around your hairline or on your forehead, this might be the culprit.

Your Solution: When washing and conditioning your hair in the shower, tilt your head back and to the sides to prevent the products from getting on your face as you rinse them out. Also, make sure to wash your face last in the shower, assuring that you’ve banished those product problems for good.


5. You’re Scrubbing Your Face Too Hard

Acne scrubs may seem like a blessing, but they only are if you’re using them correctly. Rubbing too hard with a cleanser or wash cloth can cause severe dryness and irritation on your face. Scrubbing also takes the bacteria from your pimples and spreads them across your face (gross), causing more pimples.

Your Solution: Go for a different type of scrub. While crushed apricot seeds might seem like your only option, there are more gentle scrubs that aren’t so harsh. Or cut the exfoliation out of your routine all together, and find a gentle system (using cleanser, toner, moisturizer) that contains pore-clearing ingredients, like alpha hydroxy acids.


6. You Don’t Release Stress Properly

You’ve probably heard that stress causes acne. When you’re stressed, your body produces hormones, like cortisol, that can stimulate your oil glands to make testosterone. This testosterone then increases oil production and clogs pores.

Your Solution: Chill out, man! Easier said than done, I know. But to reduce stress, try working out regularly (just make sure you wash your face correctly afterwards!), meditate and participate in hobbies that you love. Focusing on you a little bit will ease your stress and therefore ease your acne.


7. You’re Using the Wrong Detergent

This is a big one for body acne. There may be chemicals in your laundry detergent that will irritate your sensitive skin, whether that’s on your face, your back, your legs, ect. So as soon as you slip on your nice, clean clothes…you’re asking for acne.

Your Solution: If you’re noticing acne on your body or after a wash of clothes, consider that your detergent might be the issue. Opt for a detergent that’s fragrance-free, dye-free and dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin.


We can all agree: acne stinks. But if you’re dealing with blemishes, there is always a way to fight them. It’s important to first know each and every reason they could be cropping up so you can get them off your face quickly and effectively.

Make sure to take note of what you eat or wear when you break out and never be afraid to approach your dermatologist about your acne.