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We’re always asked for acne advice and usually, we’d suggest the best skincare and topical treatments. But if you’re already following all the right steps, why are you still getting acne? The truth is, doctors still haven’t fully grasped what causes acne, but there are other things in your life that could be causing breakouts that you’ve never even thought about or realized you’re doing. Here’re six daily habits that could be the reason your acne is still lingering…

1) Your Diet

We all know that what we eat affects our body, hair, and of course, our skin, and if you suffer from acne there are certain food groups that you should avoid. Dairy is the most important, as the milk proteins in cows milk have been shown to trigger breakouts; instead, try almond or coconut milk. Other foods that can inflame acne episodes are shrimp, dried fruit (high sugar content), and milk chocolate – these high sugar foods dehydrate and irritate your skin so always check the sugar content on the ingredients list.

2) Your Phone 

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Did you know there’s more dirt on an iPhone than a toilet seat? Pretty gross considering how much time we spend with our phone to our faces. Not only does this transfer bacteria to your face, but the makeup and dirt left on your screen can also clog your pores, which could be causing pimples on your cheeks. Carry antibacterial wipes in your purse, and give your phone a daily wipe down. The bright light can also trigger your body to produce more melanin (pigmentation) leading to dark spots and uneven skin tone – make sure you set your phone screen to turn off during calls.

3) Your Sleeping Habits 

Your mom is totally right, a good nights sleep will do you good – especially your skin. Sleeping gives your skin the chance to properly repair as your blood flow improves, and good blood flow equals better skin cell regeneration and collagen production. Sleep also increases melatonin, which helps the body fight against age spots and fine lines. More time spent in bed also means your skin isn’t battling against the damaging effects of the sun or free radicals (which cause premature aging). Sleep deprivation also increases cortisol production (the stress hormone), which causes your skin to become inflamed and irritated. Basically, without a good night’s sleep, that pimple is going to live on your face a whole lot longer.

4) Touching your face

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It’s not just picking your spots that’s seriously bad for your skin, it’s touching your face in general. On average we touch our faces more than three times an hour and by doing so, we’re just relocating dirt and oil from our hands to our face. The outcome? Blocked pores that can lead to blemishes. We promise if you stop touching your face for three weeks you’ll notice a big difference. You should also wash your hands before cleansing, otherwise, you’re effectively doing the same thing.

5) Your Laundry

Even if you’ve got a pillowcase made of pure silk (which is amazing for your skin BTW, find out why here) if you don’t wash it weekly you’re just allowing it to collect dirt, bacteria and the oily residue from your skin, which you’re then sleeping on every night. The same goes for your face towels and your makeup brushes, anything that touches your face needs to be cleaned at least weekly to get rid of lurking bacteria. Some types of laundry detergent and softener could also cause your skin to react, especially those with fragrances, which can clog pores and irritate hair follicles if you’re acne-prone. If you sleep on your side and get pimples more often on that side of your face, try using fragrance-free laundry products.

6) Your Stress Levels

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Stress can have a huge impact on your skin due to the extra release of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes your oil glands to produce more sebum, which blocks pores and leads to flare-ups. When you’re feeling more stressed than trying to do liquid liner in a rush, try some calming or endorphin-boosting activities, like reading, exercise, a massage or take deep breaths. Check out our post for more stress-busting tips here.

Let us know if you’re guilty of these bad habits in the comments below.