Your a.m. shower.
Sure. showering first thing may help wake you up. but it also means your head is hitting the pillow at night with less-than-clean strands. “Some hair gels and sprays contain pore-clogging ingredients,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian of the Schweiger Dermatology Group. “If you don’t wash these products out of your hair before you go to sleep. they can transfer onto your pillowcase and exacerbate acne”. So not part of the plan.
Your spring break plans.
Whether you’re jetting off to a beach (lucky!) or simply taking the bus to an away game, time in transit is harsh on your face. “Traveling can cause a melt-down for your skin.” says Dr. Michael Shapiro. medical director of Vanguard Dermatology. He suggests moisturizing before boarding and drinking plenty of water the entire day you’re on the road. And when you arrive? Gently wash your face and reapply a lotion with SPF.
Your zany school sched.
A crammed calendar can make hormones go haywire, which can lead to breakouts. “Most girls don’t realize this. but stress causes a chemical response in the body that makes skin more sensitive and prone to problems.” says Dr. Marnie Nussbaum. a New York City-based dermatologist. “This can lead to a vicious cycle of clogged pores and unwelcome breakouts.” So. make sure you‘re getting plenty of sleep and schedule some downtime and exercise every day. But remember: Always wash your face right after your sweat sesh.
Your sporty headband.
Underneath that flyaway-busting cloth headband is a secret breeding ground for breakouts. “Sweat, friction [from the band] and heat can cause clogging of pores,” says Dr. Nazarian. She says to stick with loose, cotton bands and keep hair back in a pony during sports. Also try those skinny, stretchy headbands that are perfect for athletes (we’re fans of Sparkly Soul, which stay put).
Your Starbucks addiction.
The pick-me-up effect of a Frapp is tempting, but the combo of sugar and milk can be trouble for your skin. Not every derm agrees that dairy can mess with your complexion, but Dr. Shapiro says it can. “Foods like ice cream and cottage cheese can cause blemishes or acne,” he tells us. “Milk contains components similar to the hormone testosterone—this can send oil glands into overdrive.” Sweets can elevate blood sugar, causing spots to surface. And, as Dr. Nussbaum reminds us, “Stick to a balanced diet of fruit, protein and vegetables.” Pass the green smoothies.
Your obsessive cleansing.
Instead of blasting your breakouts, keep your cleaning routine super simple. “At night, cleanse with a gentle wash, then apply a hydrating toner, plus moisturizer and/or a dermatologist-prescribed medication,” says Dr. Nazarian. Then, in the a.m., wash again before smoothing on toner and an oil-free moisturizer with sunscreen. So easy.
Your constant texting.
It’s no secret that our phones are gross (one study found that they have 18 percent more bacteria than a toilet handle…gag). Meaning you’re in contact with that ick all the time. “When texting, some of the oils from your fingers rub off onto your phone, and some of the bacteria from the phone rubs onto your fingers,” Dr. Shapiro says. “When you go touch your face, the bacteria and oils are now seeping into your pores.” Keep your phone clean by wiping it down and stashing it in your purse when using the ladies room.
Editors Note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2015 print issue of Girls’ Life.