Life’s great mystery: why 40-year-olds still get zits.

Life’s great solution: knowing the exact things that are gunking up your face and learning how to clean ’em out.

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1. Your Cell Phone
It goes straight from the bottom of your crumb-filled purse to your cheek. Ew. Make sure to clean your phone with an antibacterial wipe daily. (Ones like Wireless Wipes will kill germs but not your screen.)

2. Your Pillowcase
Launder it once a week. No exceptions.

3. Your Hands
Old habits die hard. But however tough it is, squash the one where you rest your chin in your palm.

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4. Greasy Foods
French fries causing acne is an old wives’ tale, except when it comes to those little blackheads along your lip lines. (Those came about topically.) Use another food--parsley, a natural astringent--to rinse them out. Here’s how: Boil some water, take it off the heat and soak a bundle of fresh parsley until the water cools. Dip a washcloth into the water and place it on your face for 10 to 15 minutes. Voilà.

5. Smog
Ladies in urban areas, you don’t need us to tell you that cities are disgusting. But you can actually use similar gray stuff to combat air pollution. Incorporate charcoal into your beauty routine. Turns out, it’s great for extracting toxins. (This hydrogel mask is mild sorcery.)

6. Dead Skin
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Invest in a hand tool (say, a Clarisonic) or employ good old dry brushing (just maybe with something gentle like a washcloth). Either way, you have to regularly slough off those flakes or else they’ll pile up.

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7. Makeup
Duh, right? But we can’t stress this enough: You really need to remove before bed. While you’re at it, cleanse twice: The first wash (with a gentle cleanser) will remove the obvious gunk, while the second (with a toner or micellar water) will deep clean.

8. Waterproof Makeup
We’re gonna take this one step further and blow your mind. That last-all-day foundation you love so much? It’s loaded with even more oils, creating a film atop your face. Scrub-a-dub-dub.

9. Night Cream
During the summer, go easy on the thick salves. Your skin produces heavier natural oils during the warmer months, and the overnight-pimple struggle is real. You can still use night cream around the eye area to keep crow’s feet at bay, but maybe skip the forehead, cheeks and chin until October.

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10. Sweat
When working out, be sure to first take everything off your face, even moisturizer. (These babies from Burt’s Bees are our personal go-to.) That way your sweat can release freely and is easier to clean afterward.

11. Your Hormones
Sorry, gals. Once a month, we have zero control. For those sporadic-breakout days, ease up on the full face of makeup and just let Mount Vesuvius breathe. We know, we know. But you'll get over it--you're a grown-ass woman

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