Why You Keep Getting the Same Pimple Over and Over Again
Have you ever wondered why every two weeks you always seem to get a breakout on your cheeks or forehead — like, in the exact same spot? Well, the truth is that dirt isn't the only thing causing pimples. There are other factors that have nothing to do with your skin care regimen: Things like your hairstyling products, waxing schedule and hormones can initiate a breakout. And you can often pinpoint the problem by the location of the pimples.
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The ancient art of Chinese face-mapping connected areas of the complexion with internal issues (for example, a pimple between the brows could have been a sign of an ailing liver) but we're not taking things that far. But those same blackheads between your arches could mean you need to rethink your brow waxing appointments.
We spoke with Kerry Wall, the brand manager and esthetician for The Organic Pharmacy in NYC, to get a better look at acne culprits (and solutions) based on where it's happening. That way, when hormone-induced pimples pop up on your chin every month, you'll have a plan of attack prepared.
Stress: Wall revealed that stress-related pimples appear first on the forehead and cheeks. When your life gets busy, your body starts to release more cortisol, which can lead to breakouts. While you can't control external stress factors, don't let the packed schedule keep you from your regular skin care routine, and always remember to remove your makeup before bed.
Hair products: Are you rocking this season's latest fringe trend (perhaps blunt and short à la Beyoncé)? Well, that cute cut could be causing pomade acne. "People don't want to get their bangs wet. So they just move them to the side and won't really wipe or cleanse their forehead properly," Wall said. "Or it could be something that you're using on your hair that's too greasy — deep moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are an overkill of oils on your skin where it doesn't need it." Make sure to pin back your bangs with a headband or shower cap so that you thoroughly wash your hairline and forehead.
Digestive system: The forehead area is the place that coincides with the digestive system in Chinese medicine, so pimples in this area can be caused by an intestinal imbalance (read: you eat too much junk food). Plan for a week-long detox if the problem persists.
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Makeup: "A lot of people avoid exfoliating their brows because there's hair there, but your arches still accumulate the same dirt," Wall explains. Make sure that your brow area gets the same treatment your entire face receives, meaning that you should extend masks and peels over the hair. If you fill in your brows with product, scrub the residue out of the hair each night.
Glasses: It's not necessarily your frames causing the breakouts between the brows (even though dirty glasses do carry bacteria to the area); it's more about the constant contact. "They're rubbing and putting pressure on that area, and that stimulation is causing oil production," Wall said. Keep a spot treatment like Organic Pharmacy Blemish Gel ($39) on hand to combat excess sebum.
Wax: "When you wax an area, you're pulling out the hair follicles and that leaves [them] open to infection," Wall said. "You can very easily get spots and pimples in that area because it gets blocked a lot quicker." She suggests planning your next brow touch-up appointment in the evening, so you can go straight home and avoid applying concealer, which will only clog sensitive pores.