Why you're getting pimples even when at home

Even if you're wearing make-up less frequently, your skin can still break out if you're not cleansing regularly, or from stress

It may seem like you are doing all the right things, like not wearing make-up, not leaving the house and eating home food. So why are you still getting pimples?

Here, aesthetics doctors break down some of the reasons you could be breaking out even though you're staying home.

You're not cleansing regularly

It is easy to forgo your regular cleansing routine when you're at home. After all, you're not wearing any make-up, and you haven't left the house at all.

But according to Dr Michelle Wong from IDS Clinic, one should not be lazy when it comes to cleansing.

She said: "(Missing this step) leads to the build-up of sebum and dead skin cells in our skin follicles and encourages the growth of propionibacterium acne. This leads to inflammation of our sebaceous glands and acne."

But Dr Karen Soh, medical director of Prive Clinic, added that it is important to remember that acne is not caused by a dirty face. And that if you are prone to breakouts, it does not mean you are not taking proper care of your skin.

She also cautioned that washing your face several times a day can irritate skin, leading to more breakouts.

She said: "I recommend washing your face at least once a day with a gentle cleanser, preferably at night (when your face is coated with a day's worth of dirt)."

You're not exfoliating

Exfoliating your skin helps get rid of dead skin cells and impurities that can eventually lead to pimples and breakouts.

When pores get clogged, they appear larger as they expand to fill with impurities. Exfoliation helps unclog enlarged pores, and helps to smooth the skin by dissolving dead skin cells.

Dr Soh said: "However, it can aggravate chronic or cystic acne if not done gently and correctly."

She suggests using a chemical exfoliant on acne-prone skin.

"You'll help minimise bacteria, clear the surface of the skin, and still preserve the benefits of the natural oils of the skin," she said.

"This method offers more effective results than mechanical exfoliation, which focuses on the type of exfoliator tool used to slough away dead skin."

You are stressed

These are definitely unusual times and it's normal to be worried, anxious and stressed about everything.

"Stress is a common trigger of acne," said Dr Wong.

"Our brain stimulates our adrenal glands to release cortisol, a steroid hormone. Cortisol stimulates our sebaceous glands to produce sebum, which causes our skin to become oily and clog more easily."

Your diet

Cupcakes, cookies, banana bread, pizza, pasta - it's natural to crave comfort food when you're stressed.

Dr Soh said: "Dairy can be an exacerbating factor when it comes to acne because of elevated hormones in milk.

"Also, try to reduce your sugar and trans fat intake. A poor diet can definitely aggravate the blemishes you already have so it is important to make smart decisions when it comes to diet in order to both improve your overall health and combat acne blemishes."

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You are picking at your pimples

Being at home, with no one but your family to see you, can seem like a free pass to pick and pop your pimples.

But Dr Wong's advice is not to do so because "picking or popping acne with improper equipment or technique may lead to more inflammation, scarring and more breakouts".

It is best to keep your hands off your face altogether as touching it often leads to transfer of bacteria from your hands to your face, making you more susceptible to breakouts.

This article was first published in Cleo Singapore (