The Real Reason Your Skin Breaks Out After Sleeping Over At Your Partner's Place

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Whether it's a breakout or a big zit that feels like it's attached to every nerve in your body, facial acne is enough to make anyone stay inside and hide for days. Because our face is the first thing the world sees, going out into that world with pimples isn't only daunting but can be the stuff of nightmares.

Although there are many reasons why someone might have breakouts — from hormones to stress to eating too many processed foods to just simply being acne prone — there's another factor that can play a big role: sleeping at your partner's place.

"A lot of times when people change environments — any change in heat or humidity — that can cause your skin to change and may lead to more acne flares," Jenny Hu, M.D., associate professor of dermatology and clinician educator at Keck School of Medicine of USC, tells Self. "When we're in our own environment, we have more control over how we want to wash things and our usual routine of showering. Sometimes just going to a partner's place may throw that routine off a little bit."

There's also the fact that your partner might be one of those people who very rarely wash their sheets. A survey of 1,000 people by Mattress Advisor found that most people change their sheets, on average, every 24.4 days. That's over three weeks and well on the way to a full month. Just think about all that sweat and bacteria seeping into your pores while you sleep! Suddenly the reason for your breakouts is no longer a mystery. 

Other reasons your partner's bed is giving you breakouts

In addition to the change in environment and the possibility of your partner being lax on washing their sheets once a week, as we all should. There's also sex. Yes, sexual activity can cause breakouts, too (via Dermalogica). In these cases, the two major culprits are sweat and facial hair. "Sweat alone does not cause acne," dermatologist Sejal Shah tells Cosmopolitan. "But sweat can mix with makeup, bacteria, oils, and other impurities on your skin."

As for the facial hair factor? "As your smooth face rubs against a hairy face, it creates friction and irritation which stimulates oil production," Dr. Shah tells Cosmopolitan. "This excess oil can combine with dead skin cells in the pore, creating a plug in the pore and leading to the development of acne."

So, if we do the math, between sex, a different environment, and sheets that might need to just be burned because they haven't been washed in so long, it's no wonder a night at your partner's place can cause a breakout. And, if you're there several times a week, those breakouts can be worse and more often.

How to remedy the problem

When you pack up your things to head over your partner's place, make sure to bring your nighttime facial products (in travel size containers) so you can at least stay on track with that. Also, and in no way does this make you high-maintenance, bring your own pillowcase (via Glizour). And make sure it's satin.

If you've never had a satin pillowcase, it's time to get on that. Satin is great for the skin and the hair because the fabric keeps the face cool and keeps hair breakage caused by friction to be very minimal (via Healthline). Not to mention, satin pillowcases are great for staving off wrinkles a little longer (via Good Housekeeping).

When it comes to the sexy times, it will help if you can take a quick shower afterward before laying your face on your satin pillowcase. If you'd prefer to cuddle instead of taking a shower, then at least give your face a quick wash before you hit the hay for the night.

Although breakouts might be a small price to pay for true love, they're still something that we can all agree we'd like to avoid as much as possible. So, in tweaking some of your habits and what you bring to your partner's place, you can limit those breakouts and not have to hide from the world every time one hits.