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Is Your Face Wash or Skin Care Routine Causing Your Acne?

man popping pimple in bathroom

The moment a pimple appears on your face, you kick your skin care routine into overdrive. Washing, exfoliating, acne treatment—you’re doing anything you can to keep your face pimple-free.

Unfortunately, your efforts may be making your acne problem worse. This is a common mistake we see many men make. Before you ditch your skin care regimen altogether, here are three things you should know:

  1. Over-washing and exfoliating dries out the skin and can cause additional breakouts.
  2. Popping your pimples is one of the worst things you can do if you have acne.
  3. Sticking to a regular skin care routine that doesn’t use fragrance or dyes is key to preventing acne flare-ups.

    Check to see if you’re making one of these acne-causing mistakes in your daily routine:

    Washing/Exfoliating Too Much

    When we see a pimple beginning to form, our first instinct is to scrub it clean. Washing the pimple free of dirt and oil is good, right?

    The truth is that over-washing can make your acne worse. Scrubbing your face too much can dry out your skin and cause more breakouts.

    Unfair, right? To combat this problem, use your exfoliation scrub a maximum of two times per week and use an acne cream that won’t dry out your face.

    GOT ACNE?

    man squeezing pimple with fingers

    Popping Your Pimples

    We know it’s tempting to pop your pimples but try to resist the urge. Squeezing your pimples will only make your blemishes worse and can cause acne scars or even a skin infection.

    Although you can reduce the appearance of scars, even the best men’s skin care products can’t get rid of scar tissue. The best thing to do is to prevent excess oil build-up in the first place, but the second best thing is to leave your pimples alone.

    If you can’t resist the urge to pop it, at least do it safely. Hold a warm wash cloth to the pimple to bring the white head to the surface and allow it to drain naturally. If it doesn’t drain, then it’s not ready and should be left alone.

    Using Products with Fragrance/Dyes

    Artificial fragrances, dyes and colors are common in skin care products. If you have sensitive skin, using these products can irritate your skin and cause breakouts.

    Dyes in particular are often found in acne treatments and they are notorious for causing acne. Tinted acne creams may cover the red appearance of a pimple, but you could be doing more harm than good by using it.

    Similarly, fragrances are common in face washes and scrubs. If you have dry skin, fragrances can make your acne worse.

    Choosing a skin care product that is free of dyes and fragrance can potentially help reduce your breakouts. Be sure to read the ingredients carefully and avoid products with ingredients which can dry out skin, such as isopropyls and lanolin.

    Skipping the Moisturizer

    Moisturizing is essential to any good skin care regimen. But what if you suddenly break out? Should you stop using it?

    The answer depends on the moisturizer. If you’re using a men’s moisturizer that is light and free of dyes, then it likely isn’t the cause of your acne.

    In fact, not using a moisturizer can make your acne worse. When you skip the moisturizer, your skin can dry out and try to overcompensate by producing more oil.

    Take the skin care quiz

    couple checking skin in mirror

    Using the Wrong Moisturizer

    Along the same lines, using the wrong moisturizer can also cause you to break out. Moisturizers that are oil-heavy can clog pores, especially in the summertime when a lighter moisturizer is necessary to combat the humidity.

    Choosing a men’s moisturizer doesn’t need to be complicated. By using a moisturizer that is light and hydrating, you can combat acne while keeping skin smooth and supple.

    Washing Your Face in the Shower

    We know—it’s quick and easy. Unfortunately, washing your face in the shower may be causing your skin to break out.

    The products you use in the shower may be to blame. Shampoos, conditioners and soaps can clog your pores and trap dirt inside. 

    Another reason for your acne could be your shower temperature. Hot water will dry out your skin, making your acne worse and causing it to spread.

    It takes an additional two or three minutes to wash your face in the sink using the proper skin care products. It might not be as convenient as the shower, but your clear face will thank you for it. 


    Have you ever wondered how your skin care routine (or lack thereof) compares to other guys’ regimens? We surveyed 1,000 men just like you and asked them about how they take care of their skin. Click here to see the eye-opening skin care survey results. If you're looking to take your skin care routine to the next level, try a men's skin care kit with products for guys of any lifestyle.

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