10 Sneaky Habits Causing You Acne

Because of overwhelming hormones and genetics, acne can often feel like an uncontrollable force. But even if you follow the no-fail “cleanse-tone-moisturize” rule, blemishes can still find their way to the surface. So if you already know the ins and outs of acne but are still struggling to understand why it won’t go away, perhaps you need to take a step back and examine your lifestyle. There are some sneaky habits that could be the cause for your breakouts without you even realizing it. Here are some that you might be guilty of.

Touching your phone too much

Nowadays, we’re pretty inseparable from our phones. You might even be reading this from your phone right now. But when was the last time you gave it a good cleaning? Unfortunately, our screens are where dirt, oil, and make-up come together to clog pores. Couple this with the pressure from the phone surface, and it could cause what is known as acne mechanica. No need to give up the digital life just yet, but it is important to clean your phone regularly and consider using wireless earphones when making calls.

Over-scrubbing your face

You might think that scrubbing your face spotless is the way to go, but all you’re doing is irritating your skin and creating microtears. This trauma can trigger more melanin (brown pigment) production and lead to uneven skin tone. For best results, just ditch the scrubbing altogether. The ideal way of washing is to do it gently with your finger tips. Pat, don’t rub dry. If exfoliation is your goal, figure out if physical or chemical is a better option for you. You can check out our in-depth guide to exfoliation here.

Not changing your sheets or towels regularly

Just like your phone, your sheets, towels, and pillow cases are also the perfect place for harboring bacteria. You’d basically be rolling in a pile of oil and dead skin cells. So change them at least once a week to allow it to stay fresh.

Wearing the wrong clothes

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a Spartan race or attending 30-minute yoga, any activity that anticipates sweat and friction needs the right clothes. Choose fabrics that are breathable and quick-drying so they don’t block your pores and lead to acne. While you’re at it, try not to rub your sweat away and use a gentle patting motion to dry instead. But most importantly: don’t skip the showers after a sweat sesh.

Not using clean beauty tools

When it comes to make-up, choosing oil-free and non-comedogenic is the number one rule if you want to avoid acne cosmetica. But it doesn’t end there. Even your beauty tools can cause acne if not cleaned properly. And when we say beauty tools, that covers the entire spectrum of products — from your brushes to your cosmetic sponges. Pretty much anything that comes remotely close to your face needs to be sanitized regularly, or else the bacteria will build up and worsen your acne as you use it.

Using harsh hair products

Your hair product can affect more than your tresses. If you’re seeing acne around your forehead, hairline, neck, or back, your hair product could be the culprit. While there’s no harm in wearing your hair down, at least try to keep it off your face as much as possible. And just like your face, it’s good to wash your hair at night so you can keep the oils and products from transferring to your sheets and onto your face.

Letting yourself be stressed

When you’re stressed, hormones are released into the body, triggering the production of oil and increasing the likelihood of acne. And when this excess oil starts to clog your pores and mix with bacteria, it’s nothing but a recipe for inflammation. It helps to have a go-to anti-stressor, be it meditation or taking morning strolls to relax yourself. Turning to vices such as smoking and alcohol isn’t just a bad habit, but it can trigger acne too. It’s a lose/lose situation.

Not getting enough sleep

For whatever reason you’re keeping yourself awake at night, depriving yourself of sleep is never a good idea. When you lack sleep, your stress levels are heightened, making you more prone to stress-induced acne, along with a myriad of other negative effects — from mood swings to slowed metabolism.


Traveling is fun, but nobody is exempt from the harsh dry air in the plane cabin. When you’re up in the air, you might notice your skin growing more parched than usual. At this point, the dehydrated cells build up and retain oil, which is another recipe for acne. So whether you’re flying first class or staying in coach, be sure to be properly moisturized and protected with SPF. And wherever you’re headed, don’t forget that sunscreen is a 365-day must-have — rain or shine!

Being lazy with your regimen

At the end of a long day, it’s tempting to dart straight for the bed and call it a night. But don’t allow yourself to fall off the wagon so quickly and undo all your progress. Establish a daily routine and stick with it. In line with this, make sure you’re scheduling regular check-ups with your dermatologist too.

Still wondering what’s causing your acne? If you feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book and you still can’t find a solution, consider this your cue to get checked by a professional. At Remedy, we’ll help you get to the root cause of your blemishes and figure out a way to fight it, together. After all, your own acne is a unique case that calls for a unique approach, and that’s exactly what we’re here for.