For a large part of my existence, I’ve had acne. And during that time I spent literally thousands of dollars and hours of researching for ways to clear my skin. My skin has been clear for about a year now, (yay) but every now and again I’ll get an occasional spot and often I know why. If you’ve also been trying to clear up your skin, you’ve likely heard dozens of times to “drink more water, eat better, exercise, sleep, etc”. All of these are valid and true points, but today I’d like to share with you 8 (slightly unusual) things that could be breaking your little face out.

1. Pillow Cases

At the beginning of 2017, I began going to an acne treatment center which I have to thank for clearing my skin. During my first appointment with them, they informed me I should change my pillow cases every *clap emoji* single *clap emoji* NIGHT. Which sounds like a disgusting amount of work, but the amount of bacteria you get all over your pillowcase every night is even more appalling. I recommend skipping over all the “acne safe” pillow cases out there, and just get a stack of cheap but comfortable ones you can fling off before bed. Even if you just do every other night, this can save your face from a surprising amount of acne.

2. Washcloth and Towel

Along similar lines as your pillowcases, your washcloths and towel’s hold so much bacteria. Especially since they regularly are wet, they’re more likely to get musty and downright nasty. It’s recommended you switch out your face and body towels every three days, your hand towels every two, and use a new washcloth every time. And yes, you heard me- I’m talking separate face and hand towels. Some people aren’t the greatest hand washers, and could potentially be drying their dirty hands all over the towel you’re going to rub all over your face later? Nah man, just keep those separate.

3. Laundry Detergent

This was another thing I learned from my treatment center, just about all fabric softeners and some laundry detergent’s have sodium lauryl in them, which breaks just about everyone out. My dermatologist recommended skipping fabric softener all together, but I’ve personally found Mrs. Meyer’s brand doesn’t appear to affect my face. This is going to be personal to your skin, but if you find your skin breaking out I would try switching up your detergents for a while!

4. Birth Control

At one point in my life, I would have said it’s common knowledge that birth control can affect the condition of your skin, but I have now learned that is false. So this is my PSA for the day- if you’re on birth control it may be breaking you out. But on the other hand, if you’re breaking out sometimes birth control can actually help clear your skin. Generally, it is best to avoid birth controls that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen. If you think this may be a possibility for you, this is a conversation that should really be had between you and your doctor.

5. Glasses

Think about it, you buy new clothes and you wash them first before you wear them yes? You wash your clothes in between wears yes? Why don’t we do that with glasses? If I don’t wipe down my frames before use I guarantee you I will get tiny pimples all over my nose and cheeks where the frames sit. To avoid this, I just take rubbing alcohol on a cotton round and clean my glasses (while you’re at it do your phone as well cause that’s another bacteria breeding ground) and I have no issues.

6. Makeup and Makeup Brushes

Hey now I’m in no way trying to ban makeup. But if you wear liquid foundation- that may be your culprit. I know it’s an unfortunate cycle of getting a pimple, so you go to cover the pimple, which only causes a pimple cause I’ve been there. But this is going to get you nowhere. So make sure you clean your makeup brushes consistently, only use clean fingers when touching your face, and try acne safe makeup. I religiously use Priia and Alima, but Bareminerals is fairly accessible and approved as well.

7. Not Showering Immediately After the Gym

Now this- this is common sense. But man do I always need to be reminded of this, which I frequently get in the form of zits all over my chest and back. So while we’re doing this list- remember that even if you aren’t one that sweats much, it’s important to wash all that dirt and bacteria off as soon as you can after working out.

8. Shower and Body Products

If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ve likely seen me harp about ingredients in products that could be breaking you out. Typically when talking about this, I’m referring to your skincare routine. But really it should not stop there- if you break out on your body, around your hairline or neck, I would look into your body products. Body wash, soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, the works! It can be quite heartbreaking to find out your favorite lotion is creating little bumps everywhere, but I promise there are other fish in the sea.