You expect teenagers to have acne issues, but guess what? Age doesn’t protect you from pimples! We found four surprising causes of breakouts that can strike anyone from middle school to well beyond middle age:

  • Hair products. The oil in gels and hairsprays can trap bacteria on the skin around your hairline. It’s even got a name: “Pomade acne.” So, use hair products sparingly, and wash your face after you apply them.

  • Anti-aging creams. Dermatologist Dr. Jessica Krant says that a lot of products contain retinol, which is a chemical that encourages the growth of new skin cells. But overuse can lead to a build-up of old cells that haven’t fallen away yet, which can clog your pores and cause outbreaks. A lot of anti-aging creams are also oily, and can irritate sensitive skin. So, use them sparingly – and only under a doctor’s care.

  • Your cell phone. When microbiologist Dr. Michael Schmidt tested cell phones, he found 18 times more bacteria than on public toilet handles! And he points out that pressing a germy, dirty phone against your cheek and mouth is a recipe for a breakout. The fix? Give your gadget a daily once-over with an acne pad.

  • In fact, anything that comes into contact with your skin for prolonged periods can cause contact acne. Everything from a tight headband, to the chinstrap on your bicycle helmet, to resting your cheek on your hand while you work. According to the book Heal Your Skin, anything that applies pressure can force dirt into your pores, which leads straight to breakouts.