5 things that could be aggravating your acne

Acne Triggers

Acne can be embarrassing for sufferers, but it’s important to remember you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 85% of Australians will develop acne in their lifetime, and 5% will be severe cases.

Excess oil production, hormones, bacteria and hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells are usually to blame. However, there may be other factors within your control that are causing you to breakout.

Acne trigger #1: The wrong products

Abrasive over-the-counter products can dry out your skin and actually cause it to produce more oil, and in turn, more pimples. It’s important to use a face wash that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils. You should also be careful about overusing products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid breaks down comedones (small bumps or papules), while benzoyl peroxide reduces acne-causing bacteria.

The solution:

Be gentle on your skin and invest in quality products. At Southern Cosmetics, we offer a range of medical-grade skincare that won’t dry out your skin and will help keep your acne in check.

We can also tailor your skincare to your specific needs, thanks to our new UniverSkin range. Products can be formulated with the right active ingredients to tackle your acne.

Acne trigger #2: Your makeup

Certain ingredients in makeup can clog pores and exacerbate acne. Not removing makeup before bed is also likely to aggravate your skin, as is failing to clean your makeup brushes and sponges.

The solution:

Opt for foundations that are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. Mineral makeups are a good choice, as they are usually free of oil, fragrance and preservatives. Our Jane Iredale mineral makeups are perfect for acne-prone skin (drop by for a free colour-match).

Always remember to wash off your makeup at the end of the day. You should also wash your makeup brushes at least once a week with antimicrobial soap to keep bacteria at bay. If you use your hands to apply your foundation, don’t forget to wash them thoroughly before touching your face. 

Acne trigger #3: Your diet

Certain foods are believed to aggravate acne. In particular, studies have found a link between milk and acne severity in teenagers. It’s also been suggested that high-glycaemic carbohydrates like pasta and white bread could worsen acne. These foods cause a spike in insulin, which can in turn stimulate your oil glands to produce more oil.

The solution:

While further research is required to see how diet affects acne, it may be worth cutting back on cow’s milk and high-glycaemic carbohydrates to see if it helps your skin.

Acne trigger #4: Your pillow

Did you know pillows can harbour sweat, germs and acne-causing bacteria? That’s right, the next time you lie down for some shut-eye, you may also be coming into contact with the very bacteria you want to avoid. Residue from your hair products may also transfer to your pillowcase and cause breakouts.

The solution:  

Change your pillowcase regularly. You may even consider flipping your pillow every other night to ensure you’re not coming face-to-face with acne-causing bacteria.

What’s more, it has been suggested that liquid fabric softeners may leave behind a waxy residue that may clog pores, so give them a miss. 

Acne trigger #5: Your phone

Think about how often you use your phone. Now consider how frequently you clean it. Probably not often enough, right?

A study by researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found both our hands and our phones are riddled with bacteria. The researchers took 780 swabs – half from phones and half from their owners’ hands. The findings were that 82% of phones and 92% of the participants’ hands had some kind of bacteria on them.

The solution:

Use a microfibre cloth to clean your phone daily. Be sure to clean the cloth afterwards by soaking it in warm soapy water. You can find tips for keeping your phone clean here. Also, use a headset where possible.

Like to know more? 

If you suffer from acne, it’s important to seek expert advice on how to tackle the condition in order to prevent scarring. Our practitioners can devise an acne-management plan tailored to your specific needs. We offer several treatments that can help prevent breakouts and prevent scarring, as well as medical-grade skincare designed for acne sufferers. Please get in touch!


Sandringham Clinic

324 Bluff Road, Sandringham
P: 03 9533 1100
E: [email protected] 

Mount Martha Clinic

Suite 1/4 Langrigg Ave, Mount Martha

P: 5974 1474

E: [email protected]