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What Your Breakouts Are Telling You: When, Where and Why?

Unrelenting acne or breakouts is something that many of us have experienced at one point or another. It may even be something you still experience as an adult (as if grown-up life is not hard enough). If you do not resonate with this, you friend, have been touched by the skin gods!

If you are like many mere mortal men and women who experience regular pimples, it can be safe to assume that you have tried the potions and lotions to help manage your breakout but much like the year of 2020, your skin can be just as fickle. Beyond skincare, there are many contributing factors to why you may be experiencing breakouts. To understand it is to have the upper hand in either preventing or managing “skin gone rogue”.

Let’s take you on a journey. Destination breakout.

The T-Zone

The T-Zone includes your forehead, nose and chin and it is renowned for being an acne hotspot! The Tzone is the part of your face that has the most oil secreting glands so it is clear to see how sebum, dirt and oils can quickly build and create pesky reminders for rigorous cleansing. Lesson learned.

In addition to oils, stress can also trigger breakouts due to the corticotrophin-releasing hormone it induces. CRH can increase oil production by attaching itself to receptors within your sebaceous glands and clogging your pores.

For those of us who have grown up in Australia, sweat is an acne causing culprit we know all too well. Sweat can clog your pores by mixing with dirt and bacteria which cause a build up of oil, leading to break outs. Furthermore, rubbing your sweat away with your hands can make matters worse by pushing the germs from your hands into your open pores. Note that the average person touches their face at least a hundred times a day… That’s a lot of bacteria to be pushing into your skin.

The Breakdown: If you experience breakouts around your T-Zone, it may be caused by an excess of oils. It’s time to invest in a quality cleanser, serum and moisturiser and check in with your Dermal Therapist.

The Cheeks

Acne or breakouts on your cheeks is commonly caused by pollutants, dirt, bacteria, and grime.

As we go about our daily routine it can be easy to forget just how exposed we are to pollutants and bacteria. If anything good came from 2020, it was making us all aware of just how often we touch our face, that trolleys are a mecca for nasties and that we all need to up our game when it comes to hygiene.

First and foremost, stop touching your face. All day long you will be transferring dirt onto your skin and into your pores. But wait there is more.

Think about your mobile phones. They are places on countless surfaces, the gym floor while you complete a set, coffee tables, bathroom vanities, in the trolley. Now consider what may occur when you place your phone on your cheek to make a phone call. Disinfect your phone regularly and if you lead a very active social life or have a job that requires plenty of phone time, invest in an eye piece – your skin will thank you for it.

Lastly, regular washing of your bedding and pillowcases can also help prevent dirt and grime build up. Without regular washing of your pillowcases and bedding, dirt, debris, oils and other nasties can build up and become trapped in the fibres of your bedding, which then transfers to your skin while you sleep (icky!).

The Breakdown: Pimples on your cheeks is typically a result of pollutants both in the air and transferred by way of touching, mobile phones, bedding, and dirty makeup brushes. Maintain a high level of hygiene, wash your brushes and bedding regularly and carry a hand sanitiser especially if you are a chronic face-toucher!

The Hairline

The cause of acne along the hairline can be a bit easier to narrow down. Sweat is the leading contributor. Particularly in summer, we are producing sweat and oils which can get caught amongst our hair follicles and cause breakouts. Appropriate cleansing can help counteract this.

If you are noticing break outs recurring every few days, the answer could be that you are not washing your hair often enough. Your scalp is continuously producing oils, which is why you will notice your roots becoming oily a few days after washing your hair. Not shampooing regularly will allow the oil from your roots to build up and cause acne along the hairline.

Another cause for hairline acne could be the products you are using. Oil-based hair care products could be clogging your pores. This could be found in styling pomades, root and scalp masks or other products with thick ingredients.  If you think this might be the case, try using light and natural products on your scalp.

The Breakdown: Sweat and oils are a huge contributor to breakouts around the hairline. Be selective when choosing haircare and be mindful of that hat you always wear when exercising, it may be time to wash it!

The Chin and Jaw

Hormones and gut health are the cause for acne along the jawline.

Many women will experience acne in this area around the time of their menstrual cycle, which is caused by an increase of hormones. Similarly, starting or changing birth control can have the same effects, resulting in hormonal breakouts around the mouth, chin, and jaw.

Typically, this type of breakout or pimple is cystic. These pimples like to sit underneath the surface of skin, forming swollen bumps. They can take weeks to heal. Oily or dry skin—does not matter. All skin types can suffer this type of acne. It may be connected to hormonal issues, including PMS, menopause, pre-menopause, childbirth, and breastfeeding. They can become inflamed, painful and if poked and prodded, very angry.

If you are experiencing constant acne in this area, your diet may also be a contributing factor. If your diet is high in sugar, dairy and gluten this may also be a cause of inflammation in this area. If so, try cutting back on some of these things and by the process of elimination you should find the culprit! Gut health plays a massive role in the overall health of your skin. Maintaining a healthy diet all year round will present you with endless benefits!

The Breakdown: Breakouts and cystic acne across the chin and jaw is a tell-tale sign of hormonal shifts including stages in your menstrual cycle, changes in your contraception, pregnancy, and stress. It can also be exacerbated by diet. Speak to your Dermal Therapist at Face Fit and receive a custom treatment plan and advice around nutrition and gut health for skin.

The Chest, Back and Shoulders

That’s right, pimple and breakouts are not just reserved for your face.

Acne on your chest, back and shoulders can be caused by changes in hormones, friction, shower regime and dirty shower accessories, sweaty clothes, and dirt. Hormonal acne on the body is the same as on the face. Changes in hormones induces oil production which can mix with bacteria and clog the pores. To prevent this, try cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising your body wherever necessary.

Friction caused acne is due to ill-fitting clothing or repetitively worn bags. These factors particularly come into play during the warmer months and during exercise. It’s important to make sure you’re washing your workout clothing each time they’re used and wearing the right size clothing to avoid friction induced acne.

Do you wash your body before you wash your hair? Another possible cause for chest, back and shoulder acne could be due to the oils from your hair migrating onto your body. Try washing your body after your hair to make sure you’re removing all of the oils and dirt that have travelled from your head onto your body.

Last but definitely not least, maintaining cleanliness of shower accessories is imperative. Wet loofas, damp towels, moist bath brushes and dirty exfoliating gloves are a bacteria’s best friend. Regularly replacing these accessories and washing your towel more often will do wonders for your skin if your experiencing body acne.

Preventative Measures

It is super important to stay on top of your health and cleanliness in order to keep your skin clear and glowing! It’s a great idea at this time of year to start implementing preventative measures into your daily routine to avoid the hustle and bustle of dealing with summertime acne. Clear skin is confident skin!


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