Can wearing sunglasses clog your pores?


Having It Made in the Shade(s)

Why do sunglasses make some people break out? Your skin is covered in millions of skin pores. These pores are simply the openings to hair follicles. Inside each follicle is gland that produces oil called sebum. This oil travels up the follicle and exits the pore, taking dead skin cells with it. Once this oily mix of debris reaches your skin, it provides a useful coating that protects you from the elements.

If you don't wash the dried oils off your face, they block your pores and cause acne. What else blocks pores? Suntan lotion, tight-fitting clothing, dried sweat and sunglasses, meaning your next trip to the beach may be as bad for your skin as it is good for your spirit.

When you wear sunglasses (or reading glasses), they come in direct contact with pores across your nose, around your eyes, and along your temples. Not only do they block your pores, they also spread around the dirt and oil that's already on your skin. Add sunscreen to this mix (and you should), and you've got a possible pore-clogging calamity.

Another potential trap: When we have sunglasses on, our hands spend that much more time up around our eyes and face, meaning those pores clog that much quicker. And when your nose and the sides of your face are broken out with zits, you're not going anywhere without those blemish-covering sunglasses. It's a vicious cycle.

So is there any hope for those of us with a pimple problem? The solution is actually very simple -- most people just don't think of it. You can prevent acne breakouts by taking the sunglasses off your face and then washing your hands and face with warm water and mild soap. Then, take a moment to gently wash the grease and grime off your sunglasses. Easy and effective -- and it only takes a minute.

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Sources

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  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. "Choosing sunglasses: Is UV protection important?" July 31, 2008. (May 10, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/uv-protection/an00832
  • WebMD. "Understanding Acne -- Treatment." (May 10, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/understanding-acne-treatment
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