Why do I have breakouts?

The cause of your acne or pimples doesn’t just happen because of a single factor. There can be many reasons for these sneaky breakouts, and it can be a combination of a few reasons. And while teenage hormones are the most common culprit, there are quite a few external factors.

What you need to know: 


ESK - Why am i breaking out?Evidence Based Skincare Article


This might not sound surprising to you, but yes, stress does seem to trigger acne, even if we don’t really understand why. 


If you’ve recently changed your diet or started indulging a little on sugar-intense foods, this could be why your skin is breaking out. As much as you want this to be false, certain foods are asscoiated with an increased risk of acne or pimples. They are: 

  • Highly processed carbohydrates (high in sugar) 
  • Milk (particularly skimmed milk)


There are groups of medicines including some first and second generation contraceptive pills which can increase the risk of acne.


So often, we see people wanting to reduce acne by scrubbing it off. But doing that can actually make it worse! 


Air and industrial pollution have been shown to increase acne… just another reason to try and get that break to the country 


When you don’t get enough sleep (between seven and nine hours), not only are you putting your health at risk, but it could in part be responsible for your acne. Lack of, or poor sleep has been associated with increased oil production (in the T zone) and an increased risk of acne 


Humidity and intense UV rays are linked to increased acne risks. This is interesting because, too little UV exposure (which results in low level off Vitamin D) also increases acne risk.  


Skincare products are supposed to help you achieve better skin, but if you’re not using the right products, it’s the other way round – causing more harm than good. Some skincare and makeup products might contain ingredients that are not suitable for your skin type – you could be overdosing on certain ingredients or lacking them.

How to stop breakouts?

Well the good news is that changes in lifestyle can have a big impact on acne. But even if you avoid all the triggers we have mentioned, you may still get acne. That’s where a good skincare routine comes in!


There are effective, non-irritating or drying solutions, including ESK’s Acne Kit. The key to a regime that will help is:

  1. Wash and cleanse your face daily.

Opt for a gentle, soap-free cleanser like our Hydroxy Cleanser and our Calming Cleanse.


  1. Leave the physical exfoliator alone – choose the chemical ones

Most physical exfoliators are grainy and rough, which is terrible for your skin.  It makes your skin redder, drier in patches and makes acne worse. But there are some exfoliating ingredients like Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid than have good evidence and contained in our Hydroxy Cleanser and our Smooth Serum.


  1. Use a non-comedogenic moisturiser with Vitamin B3

When you have acne, it can weaken the barrier function of the skin and lead to the skin losing moisture and drying out. Even though you might have oily skin, if your skin is dehydrated skin it will product more oil to compensate.  So a moisturizer that doesn’t clog the pores will help reduce stress on the skin – add in VItamin B3 and that further helps by reducing excessive oil production and improving the skin barrier function. This is the key anti-inflammatory ingredient in our B Quenched and B Calm moisturisers, both are suitable for sensitive skin. 


  1. Use a gentle and effective form of Vitamin A

The frontline treatment for acne is Vitamin A. While most forms (prescription and Retinol) can be drying and irritating, we use Retinal (a.k.a. Retinaldehyde) in our Ultimate A and it has a great deal of evidence for being highly effective for acne and anti-aging and doesn’t drys or irritates the skin. 



  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947266/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507494/ 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947266/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947266/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947266/
  6. http://www.ijdvl.com/article.asp?issn=0378-6323;year=2016;volume=82;issue=3;spage=313;epage=314;aulast=Bilgi%E7
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24952024
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947266/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5947266/

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