There are many causes of acne. These can be different for everyone. Regardless, it’s important to know the cause of your acne in order to effectively treat and control it.

The most common causes of breakouts and acne are clogged pores, excess oil production, hormonal changes, poor skin care, diet, stress and more.

Other causes of continuous and stubborn breakouts are less obvious. You might think you are doing all the right things to prevent breakouts, but have you considered these less obvious causes of acne and breakouts:

Drying skinAfter Cleansing – so you are cleansing regularly to maintain an acne-free complexion and making sure you remove all traces of makeup each night, but are you finishing the job correctly? Most of us think nothing of reusing the same towel to dry our skin after cleansing, but even a towel that has only been used once can lead to additional breakouts by transferring bacteria to the skin. Always us a clean washcloth and a clean towel to pat the skin dry.

Analyze Your Products – you know that buying non-comedogenic products is important for keeping pores clear, but manufacturers are not required to prove that their products are non-comedogenic. Look for ‘Dermatology Tested’ products to ensure they are truly non-comedogenic and will not clog the pores.

Switching Products – stubborn acne and reoccurring breakouts are frustrating and most of us continue to search for new and better products. That’s a mistake! Switching products frequently can be counterproductive and may lead to clogged pores, over exfoliation and dry skin.  Be patient.  Select quality products and stick to them. Wait at least three weeks for results, but it can take six to eight weeks for products to do their job.

Check Your Hair Products – that’s right, your hair products might be clogging your pores and causing breakouts. They create a film over the hair to seal in moisture, but in doing so, they seal the skin and clog pores which leads to breakouts especially around the hairline, behind the neck, upper back, forehead and cheeks.  The thicker the product is, the more occlusive oils it contains.  Hair masks contain the most, conditioners less, and styling products the least.

Surprising Causes of AcneFriction – probably the most overlooked cause of acne and breakouts. Called acne mechanica – it occurs when the skin is aggravated by friction from cell phones, helmets, sports bras and other things that cause constant friction or pressure on the skin. Clean your cell phone often, keep sporting equipment clean, and remember to wipe or wash skin after working out. Click the link to read more about avoiding and treating Acne Mechanica.

Pillows and Pillowcases – these are a breeding ground for bacteria and a host of millions of dead skin cells and dirt. Wash your pillowcases at least once a week. Some Dermatologists recommend that you also wash your pillow.

Moisturizers – First, it’s a common myth that those with acne cannot use a moisturizer. Actually, skipping this step in your skincare routine could make your acne worse. It’s important to select the right kind of moisturizer – one that is oil-free and non-comedogenic. Look for moisturizers containing ceramides (a type of lipid that improves the skin’s barrier and adds moisture). Ceraminds are also suitable for those with sensitive skin and Rosacea. Avoid moisturizers containing mineral oils and petrolatum.

Medications – Acne can be a side effect of a number of medications. Breakouts from medication are sudden and all blemishes tend to look alike. Medications that commonly cause breakouts are anabolic steroids; bromides (found in sedatives, analgesics and cold remedies); iodines (found in cold and asthma remedies, kelp and multi-vitamins). Check with your physician to determine whether your medication might be contributing to your acne.