You invest in fancy products, stick to a diligent skin care regimen, (almost) never fall asleep with your makeup on and yet you still wake up to bumps and blemishes every single morning. What gives? Here are five unexpected factors that might be triggering your breakouts and how to fix them.

You’re Constantly on Your Cell Phone

Those pesky bumps that show up on the side of your face and chin? Sadly, your precious smart phone could be the culprit. Between touching it all day and tossing it in your handbag, chances are your cell phone is pretty grimy. Give your screen a daily rubdown with a sanitizing wipe to prevent bacteria from spreading to your complexion.

You’re Over-Scrubbing Your Face

While exfoliating is the key to a healthier glow, too much of it can further irritate your skin. To avoid making matters worse, stick to a non-abrasive formula like Peter Thomas Roth’s Strawberry Scrub Fruit Enzyme Polisher ($38; no more than twice a week.

You Use the Same Towel for Everything

The towels you use to dry your hair and body should be kept separate from the one you use on your face—especially if you’re acne prone. Otherwise, you're practically inviting the oils from your scalp and body into your pores.

You’re Eating Too Much Dairy

We hate to break it to you, but your beloved Ben & Jerry’s could be triggering unsightly blemishes. "Consuming milk products has been shown to disrupt bowel function," nutritionist Barbara Mendez tells us. "This creates toxicity, which eventually shows up on your skin.” Consider cutting back (or ditching it altogether) to see if your skin improves.


You’re Using Dirty Makeup Brushes

As gross as it sounds, the makeup brushes that touch your face every day are a breeding ground for dirt, oil, and bacteria—aka a recipe for a breakout. Using a spray-on cleanser, such as Make Up For Ever’s Instant Brush Cleanser ($22;, at least once a week is one of the easiest ways to keep your tools fresh. Or follow makeup artist Sonia Kashuk's sage advice and use just good old soap and water, which will also do the trick.

Scroll to Top