5 Causes of Acne Flare-ups

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You may have a hunch about the causes of blemishes; some will be surprising, but the following less-than-commonly-known factors could be contributing to your breakouts. Here’s what you need to know.

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Travel
Whether it’s the change in weather coupled with dry airplane air, the stress of travel, or just getting out of your routine, travel is one factor guilty of causing breakouts.

How They Show Up:
Since these types of breakouts are most often caused by dehydration, the pimples are often smaller, with redness (sometimes).

How to Avoid Them:
Keep your skin hydrated and try to stick with your normal routine and use your normal products.

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Skin Care
It’s not uncommon for acne patients to try lots of different products to find the one that works, but according to most dermatologists, often this is counterproductive, leading to clogged pores, overexfoliation and dryness.

How They Show Up:
Vary in appearance and severity by individual

How to Avoid Them:
Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD, says “Nourish and protect skin with gentle cleansers and moisturizers—and stick 
to what works.”
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Friction
Acne mechanica is a form of acne that is aggravated by friction, heat and the skin being covered with constant pressure (athletes who wear helmets, sports bras, tight jeans)—but for most people, your cell phone is to blame.

How They Show Up:
As red bumps in areas where there is pressure, like the jawline.

How to Avoid Them:
Clean your cell phone regularly to remove oils and bacteria.
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Diet
Evidence suggests diet affects acne—but it’s not the age-old myth about chocolate that those with acne need to worry about. “Patients in their 20s-40s with hormonal acne have told me dairy makes their acne worse,” says New York dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, MD.

How They Show Up:
The breakouts can surface anywhere for those who are prone to it. Many find this type of acne associated with cysts.

How to Avoid Them:
“Switching to organic milk may help,” says Dr. Goldenberg.
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Your Scalp
Hair products, in general, can cause acne. “Occlusive hair oils and gels can clog pores along the hairline, forehead and cheeks, causing a pattern of acne called ‘pomade acne,’” explains Dr. Segal.

How they Show Up:
Smaller bumps along the hairline, forehead, behind the ears and upper back.

How to Avoid Them:
Switch you hair-care products and consider using only fragrance-free ones.

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