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Last updated August 10, 2020

6 Causes of Acne (You may not be thinking of)

If you are currently breaking out, and haven’t been able to figure out the root cause of your acne, it’s very important to educate yourself on all the potential causes and triggers of acne in order to clear your skin once and for all.

When I was struggling with acne, I researched the topic constantly, only to find the same answers. “It’s your hormones”, or “It’s genetic”.

However, through my journey of healing my acne, there were some answers I came across that I wasn’t familiar with from all my research before. I put them into practice, gave my body and skin time to heal, and now I am acne free. Read the 6 acne causes below if you are looking for more answers to clear your skin.

1. Pore Clogging Ingredients

Check your skin care, makeup, hair care, and body products for acne pore clogging ingredients. Did you know that pore clogging ingredients were found in 90% of cosmetics?! It’s really important to know what the root cause is to your acne.

Go to this link and type in each ingredient from the ingredients label on your product.

The top pore clogging ingredients are: coconut oil or coconut alkanes, soy, wheat, shea butter, algae/kelp/seaweed, and ethylhexyl palmitate.

Not all “organic” or “natural” products are good for the skin, and could be making you breakout. And products that you wouldn’t even think of (like hair products, or laundry detergent) can transfer from your pillow case to your skin at night, clogging up your pores.

2. Caffeine Caffeine Caffeine

I know you’re going to hate me for saying this, but caffeine may be making your acne worse.

How many caffeinated drinks do you have daily? Do your drinks contain sugar and cream?

Caffeine is acidic and contains high levels of caffeine which can stress your body out by releasing excess sex hormones. This leads to overproduction of skin cells, clogged pores, and releases the hormone cortisol.

Caffeine also dehydrates you, and if you don’t already drink at least 3 liters a day (more if you exercise), then your skin might be a little thirsty! You need to stay hydrated throughout the day to make sure you are flushing out toxins from the body.

If you struggle with acne, I highly recommend removing caffeine (specifically coffee) from your daily routine for at least 1 month to see how your skin reacts. Remember, it takes time for your skin to heal. You may not notice a difference right away. You can replace your coffee with any organic teas or a mushroom elixir mix like Four Sigmatic.

3. Stressed Much?

Stress affects the skin in so many ways. I really underestimated how much stress was causing chaos in my body, as well as my skin (and still does from time to time).

It sends your body into fight or flight mode (aka stress) and the hormone cortisol and insulin spike! This leads to your skin creating more oil, which leads to an increase in bacteria stuck in your pores, more breakouts, and blemishes.

In life stress is indefinitely bound to happen. Here are some better ways to deal with your stress so that you can have bright, glowy, and acne free skin:

  • Sleep 7-9 hours each night. There’s nothing worse than a bad night of sleep, and it can send your stress levels through the roof! Focus on quality sleep and form your own wind down routine before bed each night. Turn down the lights 2-3 hours before bed, put on some blue blocking glasses, and do something that relaxes you like reading a book, taking a bath, or having a conversation with loved ones. Leave your phone out of the bedroom or away from the bed. As much as I try to stay away from watching TV at night it can be relaxing to me to watch my favorite show with my partner. Just make sure to wear your blue blocking glasses if you do watch TV or are on a screen at night. Read my post about how to sleep better naturally here.
  • Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes daily and stay active throughout the day. We all know exercise helps with stress relief, anxiety, and depression. If I’m feeling stressed or have anxiety the first thing I do is get outside in the sun and walk my dogs. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout every day, but you can walk, hike, or be active around your house cleaning. Just get up off your booty and move!
  • Eat healthy fats. Fat being marketed as “bad” is so 2017! Fat is good for your skin, hormones, brain, and the rest of your body. Consume healthy fats like wild salmon, avocado, walnuts, coconut oil, grass fed butter or ghee, olive oil, and macadamia nuts. Fat does not make you fat, so start eating it and you’ll notice a huge difference in your skin, and hormones.
  • Do something for yourself. Take 5-10 minutes a day and do something for yourself. It will help you to remain rejuvenated and focused so that you can continue doing your best work and feel confident in your own skin.

4. Sneaky Supplements

Are you taking biotin, B12, energy supplements, multivitamins, preworkout, protein powders or vitamin D supplements?

These supplements may be causing your acne. Yes, even biotin (the supplement known for helping your skin, nails, and hair), can cause your breakouts.

For example, whey protein powder contains dairy, which is highly inflammatory to the body leading to acne and stress to the skin. If you are struggling with acne and haven’t given up dairy yet, I highly recommend doing so!

Energy supplements like preworkout, contain high caffeine levels, as well as other suspicious ingredients that can also trigger acne.

I recommend getting most of your vitamins and minerals through food and if you are unsure about a vitamin deficiency, getting yourself tested before supplementing. Vitamin D at high dosages will raise testosterone (the primary hormone that causes breakouts) levels in your body and cause hormonal acne around the mouth and chin.

5. Eggs

Unfortunately, this amazing superfood can be a major trigger to your acne. If you currently have acne (especially along the lower jaw line, under the jaw on each side, mouth and on the cheeks), taking eggs out of your diet may be a good idea. Eggs contain a steroid type hormone that can cause hormonal acne.

Eggs also cause digestive issues because they contain a protein that is very hard to digest for some of us. When the eggs don’t properly digest they can clog up the lymphatic system, leading to acne around the mouth, face, and neck.

I was eating eggs every morning, and having breakouts on my cheeks, and jawline. I took eggs out of my diet, and within a few months my skin started to heal and clear up. It takes time, but you will definitely notice a difference in your skin.

6. Hormonal Birth Control

I got on hormonal birth control (the pill) in college because my breakouts were very severe. It definitely cleared up my acne at first, but after time went by (6 months-1 year) I had to keep switching brands because my acne started to come back.

Hormonal IUD’s also cause acne as well as the implant-based birth controls.

After getting off birth control 5 years later, my hormones and skin spiraled out of control. If you are just getting off birth control, this can be another cause of your acne. Read about how to heal your body after birth control here.

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