How Can Your Glasses Be Causing Your Acne?
You have acne. You eat healthy, do sports, have no genetic predisposition to pimples, and yet you have acne. But one more thing – you also wear eyeglasses.
Although both eyeglasses and acne reside on your face, you may not ever have thought that there is any other relationship between the two. One sign that your glasses may be causing you acne is that you may notice that you only get pimples when you sport your trusty pair of spectacles rather than when you opt for contact lenses.
A more obvious sign is that your zits may be showing up around your nose and under your eyes. Is your acne scattered all over your facial T-zone? You may also be noticing the breakout spreading to your cheeks, as conditions like this tend to reach out to neighboring areas, as well. Moreover, if your pimples happen to be dry and itchy, the likely culprit may be your eyeglasses.
A lot of the time this kind of acne develops into the cystic kind. The growths may become not only bothersome, but even painful.
Acne Caused By An Allergy
The truth is that you may be dealing with a sort of allergy. Perhaps you have an allergy to the material1 of your frames, such as plastic or metal. In fact, plastic glass frames are usually made out of a material called cellulose acetate2 in the form of zylonite. It basically represents a mixture of plasticizers, stabilizers, wood flakes and cottonseed fibers. It can vary in quality, from the cheap drugstore kind to Italian Mazzucchelli. It is the material with the highest degree of popularity, as it allows you to choose the color and texture of your own, personal liking.
Metal frames, on the other hand, may be made of monel, stainless steel, nickel silver or titanium. The first three kinds all incorporate nickel – this material is often the reason for allergies3. Titanium, however, does not have nickel in it and it is not known to cause allergic reactions. So, if you are sporting eyeglasses made of titanium, you are in luck – there is little danger for you to develop any sort of reaction to your spectacles. But if your glasses happen to be nickel-based, then you might want to check with your dermatologist whether the cause of your zits could be your frames. You might find yourself getting away with a mild anti-allergenic medicine, or you might have to undergo a more extreme treatment with drugs like Doxycycline. Of course, you will need to change your frames as soon as possible.
Acne Resulting From Your Dirty Frames
The other possible reason is fairly simple – your hygiene in regards to your eyeglasses may be lacking. You already wash your clothes regularly, including your hats and scarves, you might even clean your jewelry from time to time; but what about your glasses?
Most people who wear eyeglasses tend to forget that these represent just another object that must be cleaned – rather than representing an actual part of their body, as it may feel sometimes. In fact, glasses are nothing more than an accessory that you wear on a daily basis. For that reason, they must be cleaned thoroughly and regularly, just as you would clean your hats or gloves.
A reason why you may be omitting to cleanse your glasses might be because you don’t even notice the frames anymore. Indeed, for those of us that wear glasses, they become a crucial necessity in the form of two spectacles that enable us to see better. We tend to completely forget that these are held together by frames – frames that must be cleaned.
You already clean your lenses whenever they get foggy or dusty, so why not do the same with your frames? After all, they go onto the most precious part of your body, which is your face! Another reason for cleaning your frames is that you are most likely constantly touching them with your hands. Hands that are not necessarily always cleaned into a pristine state. You wouldn’t really drag your dirty hands all over your face when you are, for example, on public transportation, so why do that to your frames which come in direct contact with your face?
How Do Dirty Frames Cause Acne?
What happens in such moments is that you basically move all of the germs and miscellaneous dirt onto your eyeglasses. In turn, they only serve to transfer all of that bacteria onto your face. It is only logical that when your pores become clogged with all of these toxins4, you might break out. The trouble is that while touching your glasses and transferring germs to your face will initially create a few pimples, these will never really get a chance to heal if you keep touching your glasses and getting them dirtier each time. You will not only end up breaking out all over again each time, but you will be additionally exasperating old acne, and never really allowing it to diminish. Thus, by extension, if this happens on a daily basis for a long time (as most of us push our glasses up on various occasions every day), it should come as no surprise that you may be getting severe, on-going acne all over your face.
Look at it this way. If you are removing your makeup5 with a cleanser every evening, you end up with a clean face. But what do you do right after? You got it – you put your glasses back onto your thoroughly cleaned face. Therefore, all that you are really doing is bringing all of that bacteria back onto your face right after taking it off. Still surprised that you have acne?
If you think that your breakouts may be caused by dirty glasses rather than by allergies, then let’s go over some tips to help you ditch your dirty-glasses habit and to consequently relieve your acne.
Clean Your Frames On A Regular Basis!
As mentioned, one of the biggest (and most easily solvable!) problems is that you might be scrubbing your lenses clean, yet completely neglecting your frames – whether they are made of nickel or titanium. How should you do that? First of all, ensure to attentively cleanse both earpieces. This is important because they tend to be buried into your hair which is full of natural oils. These oils can very easily spread onto your face via your frames. What happens then is these excessive oils become clogged into your facial pores and potentially cause severe breakouts. Secondly, make sure to diligently scrub the bridge of your glasses, as your nose is usually where breakouts start from. Thirdly, don’t forget your glasses’ nosepads6! These may be small but they specifically touch a part of your nose that is typically oily and they might end up smearing that oil all over your face.
For all parts of your glasses, opt for using lukewarm water and disinfecting soap; dry them out with a soft cloth. If you truly want to combat your acne, clean them twice a day. Unlike many other acne ‘treatments’, this one is actually bound to work with a 100% guarantee – as long as it happens to truly be the actual cause of your breakouts.
If you feel like your dirty frames are definitely the cause of the problem yet your condition has not changed after cleansing them twice a day, opt for a more intense, and more frequent, cleaning method. What you can do is invest in some alcohol pads and scrub your frames with them throughout your day, whenever it feels like they are becoming dirtier than they should be. You can even carry around a small vile of witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or even some vodka, and a couple of cotton pads for the same purpose.
How should you know when to clean them over the course of a day? A good indicator is that as soon as you see that they are starting to slide down your nose, and you actually have to touch them with your germ-covered hands in order to push them up, it is time to scrub them clean.
Keep Your Glasses In Their Designated Case
An obvious, yet often neglected method to keeping your glasses clean is to simply make sure that they are in their case whenever you aren’t using them. On days when you decide to wear contact lenses or to go glass-less, you might find yourself leaving your trusty spectacles all around your home. Can you imagine the amount of germs that stick to them over the course of the 8, 12 or 24 hours that you aren’t wearing them on your face? As soon as you take them off, just stick them into their case – it is there for a reason.
Keep Your Face Clean, Too!
Even if your glasses are the problem, it is still your face that is suffering. For that reason, you need to make sure that it is thoroughly cleansed on a daily basis – whether or not you are getting acne because of your dirty frames or because of an allergy you may have to their material. Wash your face two times per day and pay special attention to the affected areas.
If you wear makeup, never go to bed without taking it off. The more products that you like to wear on your face, the more attentive you should be to removing them in the evening. Not only can the makeup particles clog your pores on their own, but they are even more likely to do so when they are being rubbed into your face by your frames.
One thing you can do is to go for blotting pads, especially if they are infused with some sort of soothing extract such as green tea. Also, try to use makeup that cares for your skin, such as powders that incorporate natural ingredients7 or are based on minerals.
Remember that whether or not your acne is caused by your glasses’ frames because you are allergic to them or simply because they are dirty, you need to start taking extra care of their cleanliness.
- Situm M., Lugović-Mihić L., Bulat V., Peternel R., Vojniković B., Martinis M., Toth I. Dermatological aspects of contact dermatitis from eyeglass frames and optical materials. Collegium Antropologicum (Journal). 2013;37Suppl1:19-24.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. Cellulose acetate. Toxicology Data Network. Accessed 2019.
- Saito M., Arakaki R., Yamada A., Tsunematsu T., Kudo Y., Ishimaru N. Molecular Mechanisms of Nickel Allergy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2016;17(2):202.
- Sparavigna A., Tenconi B., De Ponti I., La Penna L. An innovative approach to the topical treatment of acne. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology. 2015;8:179–185.
- Skin care for acne-prone skin. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). 2013.
- Fritz B., Jenner A., S., Lappe C., Zehender A., Horn C., Blessing F., Kohl M., Ziemssen F., Egert M. A view to a kill?—Ambient bacterial load of frames and lenses of spectacles and evaluation of different cleaning methods. PLoS One. 2018;13(11):e0207238.
- Fowler J.F. Jr., Woolery-Lloyd H., Waldorf H., Saini R. Innovations in natural ingredients and their use in skin care. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2010;9(6 Suppl):S72-81.
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