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Posted on / Noelle Cesario, L.E., C.L.T.

Acne Prevention: Lifestyle Choices That Contribute to Breakouts

Now and again skin breakouts can feel totally out of your control, but there are some lifestyle choices that could be contributing to your breakouts more than you realize!

10 Lifestyle Choices That May Contribute to Acne Breakouts:


Do not use Fabric Softener in the washer and/or the dryer (no dryer sheets). The waxy residue gets on your  pillowcases, towels, wash cloths, and sheets which have direct contact with the skin. This residue will clog pores of acne-prone individuals. If you want something to stop static cling in your dryer, you can get anti-static balls at Bed Bath and Beyond, Target or online.  

Detergents with fragrance can also cause skin irritation. Best to use fragrance-free such as Cheer Free, All Free & Clear, Tide Free, and Arm & Hammer Free. 

No Water Softeners  

There is some evidence that water softeners can lead to acne, especially those containing high amounts of  potassium chloride.  


Swimming pool disinfectants contain iodides and chlorine which can remain in the water, causing skin problems for frequent swimmers. We advise applying a thin layer of Vaseline before you get in the pool.  

Sun Exposure and Acne  

Although sun exposure causes scaling and drying, it also damages the follicle, exacerbates dark  spots, and causes skin cancer as well as premature aging. Always wear your sunscreen, even if it’s overcast  and/or raining.  

Beware of Hand Lotions  

If you are using a comedogenic (pore blocking) hand lotion and then leaning your face on your hands - many do this in front of the computer - or sleeping on your hands, this could contribute to your acne.  

Breakouts Around Your Mouth Area?  

Many lip balms, toothpastes, and even facial tissues have comedogenic ingredients in them. So, if you see breakouts around your mouth area, this is possibly why. We recommend Vaseline or Aquaphor for a lip balm and toothpaste without SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). Many well-known tissue brands are infused with things like coconut oil, isopropyl myristate, and SLS, all of which will clog the pores.

No Picking or Squeezing!  

Instead, rub ice on pustules and pimples for a couple of minutes, twice a day. IMPORTANT: if you pick, squeeze, and break the skin, that scab will leave a red or dark mark that will be there for months, making  your skin look WAY worse than if you had left it alone.  

Birth Control and Hormone Replacement  

Avoid low estrogen birth control pills. “Lo” dose pills are higher in androgen hormones that can make acne-prone skin worse (see our handout on birth control pills). Norplant, Provera, Depo-Provera shots, most IUDs like Mirena, Skyla and Liletta can be a problem. Also, the Nuvo Ring can cause breakouts.  Progesterone hormone replacement Premarin can be problematic. If you have polycystic ovaries, they will  cause hormonal changes and breakouts.  

Recreational and Prescription Drugs 

Recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine, speed, and steroids used by bodybuilders or prescription drugs like topical and oral steroids, anticonvulsants, Lithium, thyroid meds, Quinine, Isoniazid, Immuran, Danazol, Gonadotrophin, Cyclosporin, Disulfuram, Phentermine, ADD/ADHD drugs can contribute to acne. 


Coal tars (roofers), grease (mechanics, cooks, waiters), chlorinated industrial chemicals, dioxin re all noxious chemicals that can contribute to breakouts.

Playing Sports/Wearing Hats/Helmets/Shoulder Pads Regularly 

Wearing hats and/or sports equipment regularly can drastically contribute to acne breakouts, especially on the forehead. Clean and disinfect hats and helmets before each use. Cleanse skin immediately after wearing hats or other sports equipment.

Maintaining healthy, beautiful skin shouldn't be stressful. Keep your skin hydrated with our SkinFit Membership.

Aesthetics & Beauty

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