A Breakdown of the Breakout

A Breakdown of the Breakout

“Why am I breaking out?” is one of the top questions women have and many others don’t even ask the question; most are resigned and have accepted their fate, blaming breakouts on genetics or saying “that’s just what my skin does”. But what if you have more control over your breakouts than you think…

Let’s break down the different causes of your breakout:

Your pillowcase needs washing.

Hopefully we’re all washing makeup off our faces before bed (if not – whyyyyyy??) but, even if you are, your pillowcase can still get a buildup of oils and bacteria. This, along with the friction caused by rubbing your face against your pillow can cause breakouts. So, throw those in the wash pronto! (Every few days is the recommended period between washes, and more often for those with oilier skin - just make sure that your using a gentle, natural detergent). Another step you can take is to buy a silk pillowcase and reduce the friction on your face – try local New Zealand branMonday Silks (your hair will thank you for this too).

You’re not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is your body’s time to mend and this time is vital for many other reasons too. But one great effect of a good night’s sleep is a decrease in cortisol levels. Cortisol is your body’s primary stress hormone and when it’s present in too high a quantity it means more pimples. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep; some people feel ready to take on the world with just six hours, others need the full eight. Make sure you’re paying attention to how you feel when you wake up.

Less than ideal diet.

Yeah, I bet you’ve heard this one before. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are still the bad guys that you should try to limit in your diet. However, with food allergies becoming more and more common – you might want to look at this as a possibility too. Little bumpy breakouts could be a dairy or gluten intolerance.

Harsh creams and over-cleansing.

Yes, topical zit creams can create more zits!! Over the counter creams often contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulphur which dry your skin out. This would be all well and good, but this route is short-sighted as it disrupts your skin’s natural balance. Intense drying creates an overproduction of oils to counter-act the dryness and you end up with oilier skin and more pimples than you started with. It’s a downhill slope and you’re much better off trying to keep you skin balanced. Similarly, over-cleansing will do the same. We all know that the more often you wash your hair the more often you need to. Well, it’s the same vicious cycle with your face. Over cleansing or using cleansers that are alcohol based or ‘oil free’ creates an imbalance in your skin. Your body will be working overtime to restore the oils stripped away and your face will end up oiler. Please refrain from the urge of midday cleansing, you should only need to cleanse morning and night and if you can’t then take a look at your routine and the products that you're using.

You don’t have a skincare routine.

Creating a skin routine is crucial for keeping on top of your breakouts. Cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturising regularly will stop an accumulation of oil and bacteria, reduce the size of your pores, remove any build-up of dead skin and keep your skin clean, healthy and balanced all the time. A skin routine that’s kept up with will also stop you having to resort to dire methods like over-cleansing and harsh creams. Make your skin routine a moment you look forward to, one where you can relax and wash away any worries along with your makeup.


Typically appearing on your lower jaw and chin, these breakouts are unfortunately pretty unavoidable, but don’t be too quick to put all the blame on your menstrual cycle. Although hormones are culprit Numero Uno, other factors can be in play as well or could be making these hormonal breakouts much worse. You can reduce your hormonal imbalances by avoiding stress, saturated fats, and refined sugars. Adding fatty acids and fiber to your diet can also help balance your hormones.


So, when you’re faced with a breakout, don’t just throw your hands in the air and curse your skin. Your breakouts are trying to tell you something; listen and make the changes that your skin will thank you for.  

 - by Katrina Smeaton, Marketing Assistant at The Herb Farm

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