The Hidden Link Between Lifestyle and Acne

The hidden link between acne and lifestyle may surprise you!

Just this month a client came in to our location here in Ardmore, Oklahoma, concerned about her recent bout of breakouts and irritation. 

“Nyki,” she’d said, distraught, “I’ve been following your recommended acne routine to a T! Why is my face acting out like this?”

It didn’t take much sleuthing to determine the underlying cause: while her Clear Skin Solutions-approved acne routine was indeed working to heal her acne within the average three-to-four month timeline seen in our clients, there was a hidden link to her acne flare ups that she was overlooking.

You guessed it— her lifestyle!

Lifestyle: the Insidious Trigger Most Acne Sufferers Overlook

While science-backed acne products do indeed play a vital role in healing acne, not treating acne from the inside-out is one of the most common acne mismanagements we see at Clear Skin Solutions. 

Here at Clear Skin Solutions, we factor in a multiple of aspects when tailoring our acne treatment to each client. In our acne programs, we consider:

  • Your skin type
  • Your skin’s history
  • And your skin’s tolerance 

Our top consideration when designing acne treatment programs and home care plans, however? Lifestyle. Namely, what day-to-day acne triggers you’re inadvertently facing… and how to mitigate them! 

Today we here at Clear Skin Solutions are thrilled to provide an overview of the top eight insidious acne triggers clients unknowingly face due to their lifestyle (plus what you should be doing instead if you’re acne-prone!)

Now, without further ado…

Lifestyle and Acne Link #1: Laundry Soap and Fabric Softener

Just like how swapping out your pillow case periodically is strongly recommended for preventing face acne, being mindful of which soaps and fabric softeners you’re using in your day-to-day will make a surprising amount of difference to your skin.

The most common soap and laundry detergent offenders when it comes to triggering acne?

“But Nyki,” you may be exclaiming, “how do I even figure out which soaps and laundry detergents have those in them? You know as well as I do that they’re often disguised under different names.” This is true! Luckily for all of us, online homelife magazine The Spruce lists their top hypoallergenic, acne-safe cleaning products, which we here at Clear Skin Solutions give two thumbs up!

Lifestyle and Acne Link #2: A High-Glycemic Diet (and Dairy!)

We know, we know: the thought of cutting out carbs is painful even for the most disciplined of us. However, as we have already detailed in our blog “The Link Between Diet and Skin”, there is a direct correlation between the food we choose to ingest and the level of sebum production and inflammation our skin experiences.

A high-glycemic diet is classified as a primary diet of foods that rank high on the glycemic index, which is a rating system for foods based on carbohydrates. High-glycemic foods have been proven to be the foods that impact blood sugar the quickest, which in turn leads to heightened sebum production and inflammation. 

Common examples of foods that make up a high-glycemic diet?

  • Soft drinks
  • Juice
  • White bread and white rice
  • Cereal
  • Potatoes 
  • The majority of desserts (such as cakes and doughnuts)

Another common diet-related factor that we see frequently in clients? Dairy intake. Due to the artificial and growth hormones that dairy products are treated with during production, ingesting dairy is shown to worsen acne in those prone to it.

One of our favorite reads here on the link between diet and acne is The Paleo Diet’s “The Dietary Cure for Acne”. If you haven’t already given it a read, we can’t recommend it enough!

Lifestyle and Acne Link #3: Speaking of Hormones…

Whether it be during one of our Virtual Skin Programs or an in-person consult, there’s one common acne trigger that pops up frequently in our female clients: their choice of birth control.

Although birth control has been touted as a way to manage hormonal acne, there are two pitfalls that many clients are unaware of: low-estrogen birth control pills and the majority of IUDs. 

Why? Well, many low-estrogen birth control pills are marketed as “low” dose… but have higher amounts of androgen to make up for it, which is linked to excess sebum production (which, in turns, causes acne!) Hormonal IUDs are also unfitting for those who are already acne-prone due to their use of progestin, which has an androgenic effect.

The solution? Be sure to chat with both your acne specialist and your primary healthcare provider about which birth control solution keeps both you and your skin safe!

Lifestyle and Acne Link #4: Sun Exposure (Yes, Even in the Non-Summer Months)

Did you, too, fall prey to the myth that getting a tan will cure your acne? If so, you’re not alone!

On the contrary, it’s quite the opposite: while getting your daily dose of Vitamin D is fantastic, not investing in proper sun protection for your skin will result in dryness, irritation, and burns… which, paired with acne, can lead to an overproduction of oil and pigmentation!

What to do instead? Be sure to remember your daily broad-spectrum SPF 15 and protect your skin during peak UV hours (10AM to 4PM) if using acne products that heighten your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Lifestyle and Acne Link #5: Comedogenic Products

Last but certainly not least is clients integrating comedogenic products into their day-to-day!

For example, are you breaking out around your mouth or nose? Then your lip balms, toothpastes, and/or facial tissues may be to blame.

What about breakouts around your cheeks and jawline? We recently had a client come in who was puzzling about his sudden facial breakouts… only to realize that his hand lotion was the culprit. (The story? Using hand lotion at work to compensate for the hand sanitizer drying out his palms and then resting his face in his hands frequently throughout the day!)

Which Common Acne Trigger Have You Been Overlooking in Your Day-to-Day?

These common mistakes are exactly why we encourage everyone to confer with licensed skin professionals like the team here at Clear Skin Solutions: a combination of science-backed lifestyle changes, tried-and-true product recommendations, and tailored facial treatments are how we have transformed clients’ skin both here in the clinic and via our Virtual Skin Programs.

Contact us today to let us know: which common acne triggers have you been overlooking your day-to-day?