Understanding Acne Causes and What You Can Do

Understanding Acne

It’s a beautiful morning! You wake up, smile, look into the mirror… and see a large red zit! Acne strikes again! Acne is the most common skin disorder plaguing millions worldwide. It bothers both men and women, especially from their teens into adulthood. In any case, a lot of women are prone to acne due to natural fluctuations in hormone levels. But what are the main acne causes?

Acne can be very bothersome. It can lower self-esteem and confidence, which can affect social interaction. Teenagers and adults alike ask about what they can do about acne. To know how to best treat it though, let’s first talk about acne causes.

Acne Causes:

Those pimples don’t just magically appear out of nowhere (though they seem to!). What really happens is that the tiny pores in our skin become clogged. Dead skin cells, along with oils naturally secreted by the skin, can accumulate and clog the pores. When this happens, the pore swells and becomes a bump.

In some cases, bacteria found on the skin can get trapped inside a clogged pore. Here, they grow and multiply very quickly. This causes the pore to become inflamed. This swelling can go deeper into the skin, causing what we see as a pimple or zit.

What are triggers for acne?

There are many factors that can cause those zits to appear. They include:

  • Stress. Too much stress, especially emotional stress, can trigger acne.
  • Increased androgen levels. Androgen is a hormone that encourages oil glands to produce more sebum. As a result, more sebum can accumulate in pores and cause clogging and bacterial growth.
  • Menstruation. The changing hormone levels during your menstrual period can cause those zits to appear like mushrooms in spring.
  • Pregnancy. A surge in the hormone progesterone can cause those pimples to rear their ugly heads. Pregnancy acne is a real issue for many women. (Read more about Acne during Pregnancy)
  • Greasy or heavy cosmetics. The stuff you put on your face can make your pores unable to breathe, promoting clogging and sebum build-up.
  • An unhealthy diet. A diet full of fried, greasy, fatty foods may contribute to acne. In some cases, lack of the right skin-nourishing nutrients can promote acne as well.
  • Certain medical conditions. PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a condition in women that causes hormonal imbalance. It can result in acne as well.

What can you do about those nasty zits?

The main thing to do is prevent any more pimples by taking care of your skin and actively taking steps to reduce their occurrence. Here are some useful tips:

  • Don’t touch your face. Bacteria from your hands can be transferred onto your face. This can be one of the acne causes.
  • Try to keep your hair away from your face. The hair contains natural oils that can cause acne flare-ups when they get onto the skin.
  • Use gentle products. Avoid products with beads or scrubs that can cause irritation that leads to acne. Stay away from those that contain alcohol as well, since they can dry up the skin and make acne appear worse.
  • Don’t scrub! A washcloth, sponge or abrasive cleanser can irritate the skin on your face. Always use your clean fingers or hands when cleaning and washing your face.
  • Wash your face twice a day. Use lukewarm water and a gentle face wash to remove any dirt, sweat and oil that have accumulated on your skin.
  • Eat healthy! Load up on fruits and veggies that contain skin-nourishing vitamins and antioxidants! Lessen your intake of greasy foods as well.

If you think your acne is caused by an underlying medical condition, it may be time to check with your doctor.

Watch out for my next acne post where I talk about over-the-counter medications acne treatments that can help you manage those horrible zits!