7 surprising reasons you keep getting pimples
We bet you’ve never heard of #2 before
Whether you’re someone who only has to deal with the odd pimple every now and again, or are suffering from a serious bout of adult acne, we’re sure you’ve noticed that many of your breakouts have a tendency to reappear, with many popping up in exactly the same spot. But have you ever wondered why that’s the case?
We certainly have, which is why we reached out to skin care expert and owner of her own namesake beauty salon, Jocelyn Petroni, to discover the different reasons why pimples keep popping up in the same spot.
Your hormones play a significant role in determining when you breakout. Petroni notes that because hormones are carried through your blood stream and travel right to the hair follicles and oil glands on your skin, any hormonal imbalance can trigger a production of excess sebum in the pores, which in turn causes you to breakout.
This is why pimples – specifically along your neck, chin and lower jawbone – are so common when your hormones are out of whack (i.e. throughout puberty or during that time of the month).
While hormonal breakouts can be hard to manage, you can try treating them with a spot treatments like Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel, which will help clear out your pores, minimise bacteria production and speed up the healing process.
When a pimple forms, the pore that it’s sitting in expands due to the excessive amount of sebum present. As a result, “it can stay enlarged and visible [after the pimple has disappeared] and can even become scar tissue known as acne scarring,” explains Petroni. She also adds, “these enlarged pores are likely to continue to fill up with sebum,” which means you can expect future breakouts to occur in the same spot.
As to how these breakouts can be treated, Petroni stresses prevention is better than a cure. “Try using a fruit acid serum that contains salicylic acid, which helps dissolve excess sebaceous build-up in the pore. I like Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Serum.”
Regularly touching your face
It’s incredibly easy to fall into this trap; regularly touching your face or resting your chin on your hands causes the dirt and bacteria to transfer from your hands onto your face. This will not only aggravate and worsen existing pimples, but it will “add more oil and bacteria to the situation, especially if your hands have not been washed and could lead to pimples appearing in the same spot,” says Petroni. In addition to not touching your face, we recommend carrying a hand sanitiser in your handbag to keep your hands as clean as possible when on-the-go.
Not popping a whitehead correctly
While the best course of action when a pimple forms is to resist the urge to pick at it, we all know the likelihood of that actually happening is slim. However, it’s important to note there is a right and a wrong way to pop a pimple to ensure minimal skin damage is caused. “Unfortunately, if you don’t remove a whitehead correctly, the problem will be reoccurring as the skin remains inflamed and the pore has not been properly drained,” explains Petroni.
“Once a pimple comes up to the surface, it continues to develop and grow to its worst over a day or so. It’s important not to touch and aggravate the pimple during these first two stages, as doing so will only exacerbate the problem. Once the full amount of sebum has developed and the pimple is screaming out to be squeezed, you can do so by wrapping (clean) fingers in tissue and gently squeezing once to extract sebum (which is opaque). You know you need to stop squeezing when lymph (which is clear) starts to come out,” she adds.
While it might be a hairstyle that’s experienced a significant comeback in recent years, your dearly beloved fringe might be the cause of your forehead acne. Petroni notes that the oil from your hair can seep into your skin and cause breakouts. This excess oil causes an increase in the acidity of your skin, which triggers an overproduction of bacteria and leads to the production of pimples.
The best ways to avoid pimples when you have a fringe is to ensure you remove dead skin cells and debris with a chemical exfoliant like Pixi Glow Tonic on a regular basis. Switching up your style on occasion can also help prevent blemishes from occurring. For instance, push your fringe back with a scarf, wear a headband at the gym or opt for a slicked-back updo once or twice a week to allow your skin to breathe.
Not changing your pillowcase regularly
Oils from your skin absorb into your pillowcase while you’re sleeping, which can become a breeding ground for bacteria over time, according to Petroni. “You may notice that one side of your face gets worse breakouts than the other and you’ll find that side is probably the one you sleep on!”
Beyond changing your pillowcase at least once a week, Petroni suggests applying a spot treatment to your pimples each night and using a clay mask as a treatment on areas where you’re prone to getting pimples. We recommend giving Minenssey’s Deep Cleansing Mask a go.
Sleeping in your makeup
Put simply, your skin secretes more during the day and absorbs more during the night. So, if you go to bed with makeup on or simply don’t cleanse your skin before bed, “all the oil and sweat your skin has secreted during the day, as well as your makeup, absorbs back into your skin overnight,” explains Petroni. This then causes a build-up of dirt and oil within your pores, which in turn cause breakouts to occur. To avoid this, we recommend double cleansing every night – first with a cleansing oil like Votary Rose Geranium and Apricot Cleansing Oil, before following up with your normal gel or foam cleanser.
Kate has worked for BEAUTYcrew since early 2016, first as a contributor, before being named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine.