Dermatologists on the 10 everyday habits that could be giving you acne.

We all know things like sleeping with your makeup on or skipping cleanser (or not having any semblance of a skincare regimen in the first place!) aren’t exactly great for our skin.

If done frequently, they can often be the cause of pimples.

But what about the less obvious habits contributing to your skin problems? If you’re the kind of person who takes their phone into the bathroom with you, you’re probably going to want to read on…

makeup apply mirror beauty

Image: iStock

1. Using your laptop.

"Unclean surfaces which repeatedly touch your skin such as a cycle helmet strap or dirty phone or unclean surfaces you touch regularly followed by touching your skin like a keyboard can cause skin problems," says Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica.

"Any surface that harbors dirt and surface bacteria can cause the skin to become irritated and breakout."

This is because you're transferring all dirt, oil, bacteria and grime to your face. Try giving these items a wipe down every so often.


Image via iStock.

2. Your phone.

Most of us are never without our phones - yes, even on the toilet (admit it, you've done it).

The result isn't great for our skin.

"Bacteria that are on your phone can exacerbate acne and rosacea as well as cause skin infection. It has been reported in numerous studies that mobile phones carry large numbers of bacteria when tested," says Neutrogena dermatologist, Dr Eleni Yiasemides.

"It is important to maintain good hygiene with your phone - never take them in your hands to the bathroom for instance!"

Watch: A DIY face mask (almost!) good enough to eat. Post continues after video.

3. Your headphones.

Jumbled in our bag, pocket or picked up from the debris of your bedroom floor, even your headphones aren't totally blameless.


"If the bacteria and dirt accumulation is sufficient on the headphone it could potentially cause an ear infection," says Hobson.

4. Your tight clothes.

This explains so much.

"Wearing clothing or glasses that creates continual friction on the skin can irritate the skin and cause it to break out," says Hobson.

"Think items like a bra strap, sunglasses rubbing on the nose and sides of the face, wearing a hat or bandanna."


Image: iStock

5. Over cleansing.

Being overenthusiastic can actually be doing more harm than good.

"Over cleansing the skin can also cause irritation by stripping the skin of its natural protective layers. This can lead to itchy, red, flaky, and burning and sore skin that then becomes intolerant to all products, even water," explains Dr Yiasemides.

"Dry irritated and cracked skin is also a risk factor for skin infection. There has to be a balance between poor hygiene and over cleansed skin."

She advises only cleansing the face once a day and a simple splash of water will do if any extra is needed.

"Cleansing at night makes sense as it removes the dirt and grime as well as the makeup of the day. It also allows treatment serums or creams to work over night whilst the skin is rested during sleep.

"I don’t recommend scrubs or harsh physical exfoliation which can cause damage to the skin. Instead, exfoliation should be done with treatment serums or creams that contain AHAs or vitamin A (retinoids)." (Post continues after gallery.)

6. Not washing after exercise.

Quickly changing or skipping the shower after your workout may save time, but it's not helping your skin.

"Always clean your skin after exercising. Leaving a residue of sweat can lead to increased bacteria on the skin and subsequent skin irritation or breakouts," says Hobson.


7. Your pillowcase.

Another potential cause of your unexplained skin problems could be as simple as sleeping on a pillow case that has been washed using fabric conditioner.

"Ingredients in the conditioner can be comedogenic to the skin," says Hobson.

This means that it can cause the pores to become blocked leading to blackheads.


Goodbye to sleeping easy. Image: iStock

8. Using the same face cloth all the time.

"If you use a face cloth, use a clean one every time - don’t use the same one repeatedly. As they don’t dry quickly they are a great place to harbor bacteria," says Hobson.

Eek! Noted.

9. Touching your face too much.

"It’s important to limit the number of times you touch your face with your hands (including sweeping the hair off the face) when your hands are not thoroughly clean. Unclean hands can transmit and spread unwanted bacteria, dirt and grim on the skin which can lead to increased skin irritation and breakouts," says Hobson.

"Clean your hands thoroughly and regularly to help prevent the spread of any infections, bacterias and viruses."

10. Not washing off your shower gel.

If you get out of the shower and notice you've still got suds hanging around, hop straight back in.

"If these products are not pH balanced and contain soaps or detergent factors, then residual product on the skin can cause irritant contact dermatitis - this can sometimes be mistaken for an allergy," says Dr Yiasemides.

"The skin becomes red, itchy, flaky and sore. Common areas that this can occur include between the web spaces of the fingers from residual hand soap and behind the ears from residual shampoos or hair products."

Image: iStock.