1. “That sunscreen broke me out!”

2. “The minute I changed to that cleanser, I broke out. It must be the cleanser.”

3. “Every time I try a product with that ingredient in it, I break out. I hate that ingredient.”

Any of these sound familiar, like something you may have said before? Now, consider these equally plausible reasons for what the person above is claiming:

1. The person applied the sunscreen four times a day for three days because they were in the sun for so long. They applied it without staying as gentle as they could. The real reason they broke out: Irritation from repeated, rough application.

2. Two weeks before the person changed the cleanser, he/she skipped two nights of BP application. The real reason they broke out: The missed treatment at night caused the initiation of a breakout which took two weeks to surface.

3. The problem is a combination of stabilizing ingredients which formulators very often use in conjunction with the ingredient in question. When used alone, that ingredient in question is perfectly safe. The real reason they broke out: Stabilizing ingredients.

I see this kind of premature jumping to conclusions frequently in people I coach through the Regimen. I also sometimes do it myself. I have to remind others and myself to take a step back and consider all variables first. If we jump prematurely to errant conclusions, we are doing ourselves a disservice because we won’t ever know the real reason for our problem.

So, my question to you guys: I want to help people learn that all variables must be taken into consideration and conclusions must be left tentative until it is definitively proven what is at fault. I’d like to get this lesson across in a fun way. Ideas on how to do this? Is there a game out there? Some other kind of fun group activity perhaps?


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  • Sophie

    Maybe just a little thing, kind of like the no picking challenge, that has you go over everything you did the fast few weeks (even two months!) to see if any of THOSE things could have caused a break out instead of the thing you are trying now.

    Thank you for this, by the way. I don’t think people realize how LONG it takes acne to form. Sure, you can have non-noticeable spots on your skin you can aggravate that will turn into full-fledged pimples. But in terms of new acne… it takes weeks, if not months to form. I often don’t know something is breaking me out until weeks have gone by (unless it is a food or medication I have a sensitivity to). I think more people need to realize this.

  • Rob

    about a 2 weeks ago, I started breaking out worse then I ever had before. I blamed the summer weather until I figured out that, due to a movie store I work at closing, there was alot more handling of dirty cases, discs, and just more stuff in general that caused it. I also had next to no downtime to wash my hands as much as I needed to. I tend to touch my face every now and then without realizing it (I’m back on the regimen, so I’m paying attention) and I think my OVERLY dirty hands touching my face like normal caused the massive, odd breakout.

  • Marvin

    Go studying stochastics. Not that funny, though.

  • Sharpy

    Thank you for writing this! I’m not sure if it’s because of my suggestion but it’s appreciated.

    I don’t have any suggestions on how to get this accross in a fun way…but I’ll think about it.