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A-C-N-E is a four letter word. Yes, I know literally...but figuratively too! If you've been a reader of mine for a while, you may have seen my post earlier this year about my pledge to quit picking my skin. And while I am doing much better at refraining for popping (and my skin is flourishing because of that) there are other external causes of acne aside from face touching and picking, that I want to share with you so that you can learn from my journey and give your self the gift of healthier skin.

The surprising causes of acne that you might not be aware of- and how to stop them from plaguing you. 

If you have acne:

Around your mouth- Acne around the mouth can be caused by a reaction to your lip products or from traces of toothpaste left of the skin post- brushing. If you notice small blackheads, or white bumps in the corners or edges of your mouth, it could be caused by an irritation from your lip gloss, or from the bacteria that is living on the applicator. Be sure to regularly clean off applicators on your lip products using a baby wipe and a spritz of rubbing alcohol. And follow the guidelines for the life of your lip cosmetics (usually 18 months) and throw them out and replace them often enough. 

Traces of toothpaste can also cause irritation around your mouth- so be sure you thoroughly rinse and dry your mouth area after every brush. And follow up with your lightweight moisturizer in these areas. 

On your cheeks near your ears- If your acne is concentrated on the cheeks near your ears, a dirty cell phone is often the culprit. The glass surface of your phone can contain thousands of bacteria spores that thrive in the warm environment of a battery-heated surface. Think about what your hands touch throughout the day, then every time you pick up the phone to text or check Instagram- you transfer those germs to the phone screen, then smear that all over your face... Gross right!?! 

The fix for this is simple. Pick up a box of alcohol cleansing pads next time you're at the pharmacy and keep a stash in your car and purse. Wipe off the phone on all sides at least once a week, but I try and do it 3 times a week and I have noticed a huge change in my zit situation. I do it whenever I'm waiting for something, like a meal to arrive at my table, or when I'm waiting for my daughter at the bus stop... It takes very little time, but is such a good habit to form. 

Along your hairline- Hairline pimples can be caused by excess soaps and cleansers that aren't rinsed off fully during your cleansing session. I learned this the hard way when I started regularly cleansing at night. I was proud that I was in the habit of nightly cleaning but as I got a little lazier I realized that I was leaving extra product on my skin around the perimeter of my face, and as a result I started getting pimples in my hairline. 

Whiteheads form in the hairline very easily because the pores on your scalp are much larger than the skin on your face. So if you're noticing regular zits just beyond the hairlines border- add an extra rinse to your process. I added a snugly fitting sports-type headband to my washing regimen, to hold the hair firmly out of my face while washing. 

Within your eyebrows- eyebrow pimples are often caused by irritation after waxing or tweezing. If you often breakout after a visit to the brow spa, try adding an antihistamine to your regimen. Take a low-dose antihistamine (such as kids Benadryl) before you head to the salon for a wax. It will help your skin from breaking out in an allergic type response from the waxing. Or opt for a post wax anti- inflammatory like Advil to keep redness and swelling at bay, and use an astringent to clean the skin such as witch hazel.

If your waxing technician applies a soothing oil to the skin after your wax, ask if she can swap it out for Aloe Vera, or just bring a small bottle of your own to use instead. And finally avoid lots of makeup on these areas until they've had 2 days to heal and your brow/lip acne will be a thing of the past. 

Only on one or both sides of your face on the jawline and neck- If your zits have a home only on the far sides of your face and neck, it could be a sign your not washing your pillowcase often enough. Side-sleepers can struggle with acne along one or both sides of their face, while the forehead, nose, & chin remain blemish free. The pillowcase is another Bactria harboring love-fest and you can understand why; that warm environment breeds skin sabotaging bacteria like nobodies business. 

Channel your inner Martha and make a pledge to wash those sheets at least every other week and you'll see huge dividends in your overall skin luster and health. 

***Remember that I am not a dermatologist, and I do not claim to know the answers to all of your acne problems. But my experience with adult acne and my training in the beauty industry have helped me to understand these causes of my own acne as well as some of my clients. I believe this is sound advise that will help, but beyond these tips genetics and hormones also play a big role- so teaming up with a doctor my still be necessary to fight your acne completely. 

How's my #nopickingpledge going, you ask!?! Come back on Thursday for a full run down of my progress and to learn about the acne products I have been using for the four three months.

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