What Causes Acne

What causes acne?

The simple answer is clogged pores. Acne develops when pores or follicles get blocked and infected. Acne is a disease that involves the oil or sebaceous glands of the skin. Your skin has pores (tiny holes) that connect to oil glands located under the skin. These glands are connected to the pores via follicles or small canals. These glands also produce sebum, an oily liquid, which moisturizes the skin and carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of your skin. A small hair grows through the follicle out of the skin.

Pimples and other forms of acne grow when these follicles get blocked. Skin cells, sebum and hair can clump together into a plug. This plug gets infected with bacteria, resulting in a swelling and causing red bumps or acne to appear.

Beware of these hidden causes that can trigger or make your acne worse.

  • Menstrual cycle – Girls and women who have acne often tend to get it worse one or two weeks before their menstrual period arrives. This is likely due to the hormonal changes that take place.
  • Food Allergies – studies show certain types of foods can trigger acne in some people. These foods include starchy, greasy or processed foods; red meat; eggs; foods that contain gluten; red meat; and dairy products.
  • Dehydration – not drinking enough water – at least eight 8-ounce glasses or two liters per day – can contribute to acne breakouts.
  • Not enough rest – getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is critical to balancing your hormones, keeping your immune system strong and combatting stress to help keep your acne breakouts at bay.
  • Anxiety and stress – mental stress can affect your levels of some hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which in turn can make your acne worse. Stress can also cause some people to go on eating and/or drinking binges which can aggravate acne.
  • Hot and humid climates – we sweat more when it is hot and humid. This can make acne worse.
  • Oil based makeups – avoid moisturizing creams, lubricating lotions, and all makeups that contain oil as these products can quickly block your pores.
  • Greasy hair – remember that some hair products are also very greasy, which can have the same pore-blocking results as oil based makeups. For example hair products with cocoa butter or coconut butter should be avoided.
  • Squeezing the pimples – resist the temptation to squeeze or pop your pimples. This often causes your acne to get worse, plus it leads to scarring.


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