Some things in life never seem to last as long as we want them to: Your last paycheck, free cookies, or (perhaps most disappointing of all), clear skin are all relatable examples. Sure, we know that there are tons of prescribed, over-the-counter, and even some go-to natural ingredients that can treat an annoying blemish in a flash, but wouldn’t it be less frustrating to know why our pimples are, well, popping up in the first place?
While genetics and hormones play a huge role, there are certain sneaky, everyday habits that could be irritating your skin too. Like coveting those beloved gadgets of yours.
For instance, think about how your headphones go everywhere with you—school, work, the subway, the gym—and you slide them on without giving it a second thought. Cranking up the music is totally therapeutic (and yes, great for drowning out an annoying sibling), but it turns out if you’re seeing spots on your temples and jaw line, the headphones you use for your daily jam sessions to Taylor Swift might be the culprit for recurring breakouts.
“Wearing over-the-ear headphones is a perfect setup for causing an increase of acne breakouts and skin infections,” says dermatologist and Simple advisory board member Dr. Debra Luftman. “This is especially the case when you wear them during and after a workout, or if you keep them on for long periods of time. Sweat and moisture collect on and around the headphones, compressing the skin and therefore encouraging bacteria and yeast to multiply.” Gross, but true.
Luckily, a blemish-free complexion doesn’t mean retiring your giant pair of Beats or new Frends headphones for good. To keep them gunk-free, Dr. Luftman recommends giving them a daily rubdown with a makeup remover wipe. (Simple’s Cleansing Facial Wipes are so easy to toss in your bag!) Then, remember to use another wipe to clean the areas around your ears, hairline, and jaw before the next time you toss your headphones on again.
If you find that your headphones get discolored or grimy particularly often, you can also keep a stash of anti-bacterial cloths handy in your purse or backpack. Feel free to pick these up during your next drugstore run. Just be sure to let the earphones dry completely before using them again. The same bacteria that develops from sweat and moisture, can build up from any dampness that stems from your cleansing tools. Come on, putting whatever you’re listening to on pause for 10 minutes isn’t too much to ask now, is it?
Dealing with acne is never fun, but preventing it with these simple tips is music to our ears—literally!