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What’s Causing Your Sudden Breakouts?

Anna Denson
Written by
Anna Denson
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Maybe you’ve never been prone to breakouts before. Or maybe you managed to get your acne under control after your spotty teen years, and since then, you’ve been living the clear skin dream.

But that dream can quickly become a nightmare when, out of nowhere, they appear:

BREAKOUTS.

How can this be? You were doing fine, your skin looked great, and then, poof! You’re suddenly dealing with greasy skin and blemishes like you’re right back in middle school. 

What happened?

These abrupt acne attacks don’t happen at random. Somewhere in your life, an acne trigger has worked its way in.

But don’t panic. For every problem, Averr Aglow has a solution! Identify your most likely trigger, and we’ll give you our best recommendations to clear up those sudden, week-ruining breakouts! 

 

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are pretty much always involved in acne. These chemical messengers go haywire during puberty, and can still fluctuate around the menstrual cycle during adulthood.

But if your breakouts occur suddenly, or suddenly get much worse, you may be dealing with more than the usual fluctuations. It may be a sign of hormonal imbalance.

Hormones prefer to work in harmony, so if one gets thrown off, it can start a domino effect throughout your endocrine system. (The system that regulates said hormones.) This imbalance can cause all sorts of symptoms and health issues, including your unexpected breakouts.

And when it comes to imbalance-induced acne, there are a few particular hormones that are likely to blame. 

TESTOSTERONE (OR OTHER ANDROGENS)

An excess of androgen hormones like testosterone can increase your skin’s natural production of sebum, aka skin oil. This leaves your skin greasier, and your pores more likely to clog. These clogged pores can develop into full-on blemishes, and you’re left in the middle of an acne flare-up!

ESTROGEN

Estrogen usually counteracts the oil-producing effects of testosterone, helping keep your complexion clear. But a lack of sufficient estrogen can give androgen hormones free rein to trigger breakouts!

PROGESTERONE

Much like estrogen, progesterone works to keep androgen hormones from running amok. So low progesterone levels can let hormones like testosterone turn your face into an acne fueling grease factory.

If your unruly hormones mean that you’re struggling against a crazy flood of sebum, we recommend oil-balancing products to help your skin regain its equilibrium.

Our nutrient-rich Clear Skin Elixir is designed to be worn overnight, thoroughly infusing your skin with the healing properties of coral and French pink clay. Smoothing and balancing, it can help reduce hormonal breakouts and even out your complexion!

 

Averr Aglow Clear Skin Elixir

 

Diet

You’ve probably heard that diet plays a role in the development of acne. No big surprises there. But you may not realize how your diet plays that role.

One of the major ways that food influences your breakouts is actually through your body’s insulin response. Insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels. Eating refined sugars and simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta cause your insulin to spike sharply.

High insulin levels then cause increased, acne-triggering levels of sebum and skin cell growth. 

Another common dietary issue is dairy — specifically cow’s milk, which contains hormones that can disorient your endocrine system and lead to a hormonal imbalance. Plus, milk can spur your production of a hormone called IGF-1, which is known to trigger breakouts.

Dairy may even trigger breakouts due to a common allergy called lactose intolerance. Affecting a whopping 65% of the population, dairy sensitivities are more widespread than you might think!

GUT HEALTH

You may be asking yourself: “What on earth does my gut have to do with my complexion?”

Seems weird, but they are intimately linked via something called the gut-brain-skin axis. Essentially, the different systems within our body are all interconnected, so what’s affecting one can easily cross over to affect another.

For example, the levels of healthy bacteria thriving in your gut can impact your insulin levels, which we know to be a potential acne trigger.

Or, on the flip-side, a healthy gut can enable our body to reduce and regulate inflammation, helping your swollen acne blemishes heal faster.

There’s even a condition called leaky gut, which can lead to breakouts when harmful bacteria and toxins escape your digestive system to run riot through the rest of your body. 

Wow. Seems like a lot to tackle in your weekly meal plan!

But all is not lost. If food seems like the root of your breakouts, there are ways to improve your gut health and practice the right dos and don’ts to get your clear skin diet back on track.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to nourish your skin from the outside as well as the inside! Our Perfectionist Overnight Serum is formulated with more than 40 active ingredients, all natural and safe for your sensitive skin. These rejuvenating botanicals help brighten and refine your complexion, so you can reveal your inner radiance! xx

 

Averr Aglow Perfectionist Overnight Serum

 

Stress

Breakouts causing your stress? Sounds about right.

Stress causing your breakouts? Now, that’s just cruel!

Unfortunately, it’s all too true. Stress triggers the release of hormones like cortisol and CRH, which are no friends to your skin. Cortisol helps block pores by contributing to the increased production of oil and skin cells. At the same time, CRH activates inflammation to make those blocked pores extra red and swollen. 

Plus, stress is bad for your immune system, interfering with your body’s ability to fight off bacteria like the pimple-master itself, P. acnes.

Stress has even been linked to itchiness and skin picking, which is an acne taboo! (Stop messing with your blemishes. It’ll only end in tears.) 

If you’re that desperate to soothe your itchy, irritated skin, instead invest in calming skincare like our Clarifying Hydration Dew. Natural ingredients like rosewater and cucumber help soothe, hydrate, and reduce inflammation.

This delicate mist is also perfect for an afternoon refresh!

 

Beautiful young woman holding Averr Aglow Clarifying Hydration Dew

 

LACK OF SLEEP

Your stress level gets even worse if you are running low on sleep, and it doesn’t have to be anxiety-induced insomnia.

Whether you’re agonizing over that thing you should have said to win an argument ten years ago (guilty) or simply bingeing cute cat videos on Youtube (definitely guilty), your body interprets your sleepless nights the same way…

As stress.

You can do all the calming bedtime meditations that you want. But if you’re only resting for three hours a night, your body will still produce those acne-inducing stress hormones.

So do yourself a solid, and find some real ways to get better sleep.

 

 

Harsh Skincare Ingredients

As you’ve probably discovered during your clear skin journey, all products are NOT created equal. And, in fact, some skincare may be making your breakouts worse, not better!

A few controversial ingredients to avoid:

  • Surfactants: These over-enthusiastic cleansers can strip away all your natural oils, sending your skin into panic mode and causing excess oil production. They can also damage your skin’s defensive barrier, leaving you vulnerable. Look out for surfactants under names like:
    • Sodium lauryl sulfate
    • Sodium laureth sulfate
    • Ammonium lauryl sulfate
  • Occlusives: Occlusives are heavy moisturizers that don’t pair well with oily, acne-prone skin. Designed for drier complexions, occlusive products smother your skin with extra oils and sit on top of your skin in a thick, airless barrier. And for acne sufferers, additional oil + an oxygen-free environment = bacteria paradise. Beware of occlusives such as:
    • Paraffin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petroleum jelly
    • Coconut oil
  • Endocrine Disruptors: Endocrine disruptors are ingredients, usually chemical, that can mess with your hormones and throw you straight into an acne-filled period of hormonal imbalance. Don’t mess around with these bad boys! Keep an eye out for disruptors like:
    • Parabens
    • Phthalates
    • Triclosan
    • Oxybenzone
  • Artificial Fragrances: Artificial scents, sometimes disguised on your ingredient list simply as “Fragrance,” can be lousy with hidden chemicals and preservatives. Many of these are endocrine disruptors, mucking about with your hormones and leading to acne breakouts. Adding insult to injury, artificial scents are the number one cause of a skin rash called contact dermatitis.

It can be hard to dodge the nasty ingredients hiding in your skincare, but Averr Aglow has your back! Our Radiant Cleansing Nectar helps remove impurities and heal your skin without relying on any damaging chemicals like surfactants. Its clean formula instead boasts ingredients like antimicrobial manuka oil and vitamin-rich hawthorn berry, to clear your complexion naturally!

 

Beautiful black woman using Averr Aglow Radiant Cleansing Nectar

 

Skincare Allergies

Speaking of rashes, there are other skincare ingredients that you’ll probably want to avoid: allergens. These are substances that accidentally set off your immune system, often resulting in a fierce defensive reaction. For example, that contact dermatitis rash we just mentioned.

Generally, signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Redness or inflammation
  • The appearance of hives or a rash
  • Skin discomfort (burning, itching, or stinging)
  • Swollen lips or tongue
  • Irritated eyes (red, itchy, swollen, or watering)
  • Parched skin
  • Small blisters

Allergic reactions can happen anywhere on your body, but the face is particularly sensitive and vulnerable. So you should be extra choosy with your facial skincare!

Of course, this can be tricky, as not everyone has allergies to the same substances. Your best bet is to begin with a skincare line that is hypoallergenic in the true sense of the word. That is, not containing any common allergens, and very unlikely to set off a reaction.

Averr Aglow is happy to report that reactions to our products are exceedingly rare. That’s because we don’t use common allergens like synthetic dyes, preservatives, or artificial fragrances. So you can treat yourself while also treating yourself well!

 

 

Tanning

Laying out in the sun may give you a golden glow, but it may also give you a fresh batch of blemishes. 

Too much light from the sun (or tanning beds) dries out the surface of your skin. Your sebaceous glands overcompensate by pumping out skin oil faster than ever. That oil mixes with all the dead skin cells to effectively block your pores.

To make matters worse, sunlight can result in dark spots and scarring as your blemishes heal.

Side note: On top of all your acne woes, tanning can also contribute to premature aging by breaking down collagen and thickening your skin. No thank you! 

To keep all that toasty sunlight from overdrying you into a tailspin of oil and breakouts, keep your skin hydrated with products like our Flawless Nourishment Cream. Deeply moisturizing, this luxurious cream calms and balances your skin with the power of camellia and pumpkin seed oil. It even helps combat fine lines and wrinkles, so you can stop that premature aging in its tracks!

 

Averr Aglow Flawless Nourishment Cream

 

Tap Water

Depending on where your water supply comes from, tap water can include contaminants that may be bad for your skin.

Hard water is one example. Containing an unusually high level of salts or minerals, hard water can disrupt your skin’s defenses and leave you vulnerable to bacteria and pollutants. It can also strip away moisture, which, as you know, can spur your sebaceous glands to overproduce oil.

This combo of oil, dry skin, and bacteria can be all it takes for a new batch of acne breakouts.

The same can be said of water containing chlorine or fluoride. Like in pools and hot tubs, tap water is sometimes spiked with chemicals to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, this can dry out and damage your skin.

Plus, drinking chlorinated water can kill beneficial organisms in your digestive system. Remember the gut-brain-skin axis? Messing with your digestion can have broad consequences, including breakouts!

Last but not least is the issue of pH.

The pH scale measures the acidity of a substance. This includes your skin, which likes to stay on the lower, slightly acidic side. But tap water often has a high pH level. As a result, rinsing with tap water can raise your skin’s pH, messing with its hydration and ability to fight off bad bacteria.

To help your skin recover after a brush with pH imbalance, one common recommendation is to use a toner. Our Luminous Complexion Toner is a perfect choice. Bursting with immune-boosting kakadu plum and regenerating comfrey, it helps restore your skin’s balance and clarity.

 

Beautiful young woman using Averr Aglow Luminous Complexion Toner

 

Acne Mechanica

This final cause of sudden breakouts can be the bane of athletes. Sometimes called “sports-induced acne,” acne mechanica flare-ups are caused by surface-level irritation — specifically, by persistent friction, heat, and pressure against your skin.

Sports equipment is often to blame for acne mechanica breakouts, as it can be tight and chafing against your sweaty skin. Guilty parties include:

  • Shoulder pads
  • Helmets
  • Caps
  • Jockstraps
  • Knee pads
  • Shin guards
  • Shoulder straps

But acne mechanica can also be caused by other types of equipment or even tight clothing. It can result from any friction, as from bra bands, chin rests, backpacks, prosthetic limbs, or body armor.

Though the cause of acne mechanica is radically different from your typical breakout, they look very similar. If you’re trying to guess whether that blemish is really acne mechanica, compare it to this checklist:

  • Your skin is mostly clear, but breakouts appear in areas where you often carry, wear, or lean against something.
  • Your breakouts have appeared suddenly after a period of regular physical activity. 
  • Your breakouts feel chafed and close to the surface.

To help prevent acne mechanica, be sure to cleanse thoroughly ASAP after physical activity. Consider a gentle exfoliant like our Rejuvenating Essence Body Polish. It's infused with volcanic ash and antioxidant-rich lingonberry to freshen and detoxify your skin. Bye bye, body acne!

 

Averr Aglow Rejuvenating Essence Body Polish

 

Ultimately, our bodies are complex machines that can be disrupted by many health and lifestyle issues. It may take some time and testing to figure out what is triggering breakouts on your sensitive skin — and there may be more than one cause at play!

But this challenge isn’t insurmountable. With quality skincare and a little determination, you can finally say farewell to acne and hello to clearer skin! <3

 

Still not sure what’s causing your breakout? Maybe it’s something a little more obscure! Find out about more acne triggers in our article on 21 Shocking Causes of Adult Acne.

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Anna Denson
Written by
Anna Denson
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Anna is a Copywriter at Averr Aglow. A not-so-secret nerd, she loves books with swords and never gets tired of Alien or Jurassic Park. Also a total foodie, she has an unnecessarily large cookbook collection. When not busy writing, Anna travels the world and dotes on her two spoiled cats, Waffle and Fanta.