There are certain things you just know will make you break out—not washing off your foundation after a long night out, cradling your phone against your face all day at work, or experiencing major stress (like having a huge fight with your boyfriend, which always did it for me). But here are a few less-notorious causes of breakouts that celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau thinks you should keep in mind this season.
1. Air travel. Dry cabin air robs the skin of moisture, which can lead to a buildup of dehydrated cells that keep oils trapped underneath, Rouleau says. The result? Post-flight breakouts. She suggests packing a hydrating serum to reapply every hour while in the air (in fact, she designed a new product with this purpose in mind—Renee Rouleau Pro Remedy Oil for Air, Land, and Sea) and, once you land, using an exfoliating scrub to remove dry surface cells, followed by a hydrating mask to seal in moisture.
2. Too much of a good brush. While we can't say enough good things about our beloved Clarisonics (and similar sonic skin-cleansing brushes), Rouleau says it's not a good idea to overdo it with these popular devices. "These brushes can overstimulate the skin, resulting in breakouts," she notes. "While it’s important to exfoliate, going over the top with it can cause skin to become dry, in turn increasing oil and breakouts." She suggests limiting use, or laying off the brush completely, when faced with a suspicious breakout. I've started using mine only every other day because my skin's been breaking out and I don't want to further irritate it.
3. Dairy overload. I don't want to be the one to come between you and your sweets, especially this time of year, but it's worth considering whether you might suddenly be OD'ing on dairy—a dietary factor that many experts, Rouleau included, believe can trigger breakouts. To truly determine whether dairy is the cause of your acne, you should give it up for at least three weeks, Rouleau says. Yikes! But well worth it if you end up with less acne angst, right? Maybe slate this experiment for after Jan. 1. In the meantime, see what happened when Beth gave up dairy for this reason recently.
Have you ever uncovered a surprising cause for your own breakouts? Share below!