What Causes Breakouts?

Keep reading to learn exactly that, as well as tips for managing acne, including using skin care products formulated with salicylic acid.

From: L'Oréal Paris

Acne bumming you out? We feel you. If it seems like you’ve tried just about everything to get clearer-looking skin with little to no positive results, it’s time to take a deeper look at your skin care routine. While you may be trying every skin care product under the sun in an attempt to get rid of acne, sometimes less is actually more. Of course, before you start putting together a skin care routine for acne-prone skin, it’s important to understand what can cause breakouts to begin with. Keep reading to learn exactly that, as well as tips for managing acne, including using skin care products formulated with salicylic acid


There are a few different factors that can lead to the development of acne on the skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), when your oil glands are overactive, they can produce too much oil—and this oil can mix with skin cells on skin’s surface, clogging pores. When pores are clogged, bacteria on the skin multiply, which can lead to acne on skin’s surface. 


We hate to “break” it to you, but it turns out that acne is actually pretty common, so there’s a good chance you’ll spot a pimple or two on your complexion at one point or another. According to the AAD, up to 50 million people in the U.S. experience acne breakouts each year. Talk about a big club!


Hands off! Don’t pick or squeeze a pimple on your skin if you notice one. We can’t stress this enough! This can cause scarring and take the blemish even longer to go away. Besides, it can spread bacteria to other pores, making even more blemishes.


There are a few steps you can take to help avoid future breakouts. Take the following skin care tips into consideration if you have acne.

1. Always wash your face before bed. 

When you sleep in your makeup, it can mix with the dirt and oil on your face, leading to clogged pores. To make things easy on yourself, stash a micellar water on your nightstand so that you can remove your makeup without having to leave your bedroom.

2. Give acne products a chance to work. 

If you find yourself switching up your skin care routine frequently because you don’t see immediate results, it’s time to have a little more patience. According to the AAD, it can often take 4-8 weeks to see results when it comes to using skin care products formulated for acne-prone skin.

3. Look for salicylic acid. 

Speaking of skin care products, one of the best ingredients you can look for in your skin care products if you have acne is salicylic acid, according to the AAD. (Read What Is Salicylic Acid? to learn more about adding this ingredient to your skin care routine.)

4. Be diligent about changing your pillowcase. 

Haven’t done laundry in a while? Get to it! According to the AAD, by the end of the week, your pillowcase will be loaded with dead skin cells on it. The AAD recommends changing your pillowcase twice a week if you have acne. You should also clean your makeup blenders and brushes regularly.

5. Wear non-comedogenic makeup. 

Pay attention to the makeup you’re putting onto your face. According to the Food and Drug Administration, non-comedogenic makeup won’t clog pores, so it’s a good bet for those with acne.


Breakouts don’t just occur between the ages of 12 and 17; they can happen even after you’ve reached adulthood. In fact, according to the AAD, some people still experience acne in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. It’s even possible to get breakouts for the first time as an adult.

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Women's Magazine: What Causes Breakouts?
What Causes Breakouts?
Keep reading to learn exactly that, as well as tips for managing acne, including using skin care products formulated with salicylic acid.
Women's Magazine
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