Acne breakouts are common for all, and at some point, everyone goes through it. Irrespective of age, acne is inevitable but is seen mainly in people aged 11 to 30. While everyone has their own reason to blame for acne causes on face, it is essential to figure out the right cause and say goodbye to your acne.
Essentially, acne starts during puberty when the production of male hormones increases in males and females. However, that is not the only reason for acne. Causes of acne and pimples can vary depending on the individual’s lifestyle, eating habits, genetics, climate, etc. Therefore, it is vital to figure out the exact cause before they get severe and get rid of acne by following the suitable treatment.
In this blog, let us understand eleven internal and external causes of acne and a few tips to banish them.
What Are The Causes Of Acne?
1. Excessive Oily Skin
Oily skin is one of the most common causes of acne. Originally, oily skin is a result of excessive sebum production by the sebaceous glands. Sebum is a substance that helps in protecting, hydrating, and keeping the skin healthy. But on the contrary, this sebum makes the skin excessively oily, which, in turn, result in clogged pores, acne, and breakouts.
Besides, the acne bacteria resides on our skin, and when they thrive around the oil glands, it causes inflammation and pus formation. Yes, that’s exactly why your pimples sometimes hurt so much. Moreover, sebum production during puberty is on the higher side. This is another reason why your skin becomes oily, thus, inviting acne.
2. Clogged Hair follicles
The clogging of hair follicles is a significant trigger for acne. When your hair follicles get blocked in areas near oil and sweat glands, you are highly likely to notice pimples there. In addition, the shaft from where your hair grows out of the skin gets clogged or blocked, resulting in clogged hair follicles.
The pimple-like bumps can further hurt if the hair follicles remain clogged for a longer time and eventually turn into scars. This condition of clogged or blocked hair follicles is also called acne inversa.
3. acterial Infection
Infected pimples are caused by bacterial infection. These pimples differ from regular pimples, and their treatment also varies. As mentioned above, acne is caused by the clogging of hair follicles and the trapping of oil, bacteria, and dead skin. But when this acne is popped out, there are high chances of being infected due to bacteria. This especially ends in cystic acne. Acne cyst causes pus-filled pimples that are painful to touch.
When the pimples are popped out, the ‘Propionibacterium’ bacteria can trigger the acne and can cause it to enlarge. Moreover, a bacteria called ‘staph’ is responsible for skin conditions like boils and impetigo. Therefore, uncontrolled acne causes bacteria on the skin to multiply and make situations worse.
Body inflammation or systemic inflammation (inflammation at a cellular level) can directly impact the growth of acne. How? This is because inflammation causes the oxidation of normal sebum levels in the hair follicles. The oxidation further brings the oxygen level of the sebum to lower, thus damaging the sebum.
Furthermore, the acne bacteria (Propionibacteria) thrive in low oxygen levels and growth triggers. Once the bacteria reign the hair follicle, the acne starts to swell, resulting in red bumps. On the flip side, acne vulgaris causes inflammation too.
A straightforward solution to prevent inflammation-led acne is to reduce body/systemic inflammation by controlling sugar-intake levels, managing stress, exercising, and consuming anti-inflammatory foods.
5. Hormonal Imbalance During Menstruation
Hormonal imbalance during menstruation and acne are heavily integrated factors. During menstruation, the hormones fluctuate, and the estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This abrupt change in hormonal levels leads to increased sebum production, and again, too much sebum results in clogged pores.
In addition, hormonal imbalance during menstruation is also the reason for skin inflammation, and the production of acne-causing bacteria is on the higher side.
6. Air Pollution
The pollutants in polluted air are have shown to trigger and cause inflammatory acne. Essentially, contaminated air or polluted air has contaminants like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, etc. Exposure to these pollutants has shown changes in the skin.
Additionally, air pollution causes an oxidation stress response and reduction of antioxidants like Vitamin E. Thus, all these air pollution factors trigger inflammatory acne.
7. Highly Humid Weather
Changing weather conditions can be a battle for your skin. Humid weather and acne do not go well. In humid weather, the skin is vulnerable to acne. It is because the skin perspires less in such type of weather. The sweat on the skin doesn’t evaporate as the hair is filled with moisture, leading to clogged pores.
Although sebum is a natural skin moisturizer, it can be a nightmare if it attracts sweat and impurities. In addition, the humid weather needs us to be careful of our skincare regime and frequently clean our skin to prevent acne.
8. Using greasy or oily skincare products
Taking proper care of your skin can be a daunting task if you don’t know which products to use. Skincare for every skin type is different; thus, products for skincare also vary. However, knowing your skin type can help you pick up the right products for skincare.
Certain skincare products are oily and greasy, clearly not a great friend of acne. These oily and greasy products add more to the existing sebum of the skin - an invitation to clogged pores and acne. It is awful for individuals having oily skin, for whom controlling oil is a herculean task. Therefore, it is advised to avoid oily or greasy products to prevent acne.
Cortisol - a stress hormone is present in our body, and it is produced in a significant amount when you undergo mental or emotional stress. The rise of cortisol levels causes an imbalance of the hormones that regulate the skin's sebum levels. The irregularity and increased sebum eventually result in clogged pores and acne growth increases.
A rise in emotional stress thus can be a contributing factor for acne breakouts. Stress-led pimples generally are seen on the T-zone of your face and occur in the oiliest areas of the face.
Although acne causes in adults are varied, a strong genetic history of acne in the family means there are high chances of you having acne. The relationship between genes and acne is closely related. The reason is that your genes decide how your immunity responds to acne-producing bacteria. The genetics determine whether the p-bacteria (acne bacteria) would react to it with just a blackhead or severe cystic acne.
Hereditary acne in men and women is unpredictable, and it also depends on the pace at which your skin produces dead skin cells and clogs your pores. Unfortunately, you can’t control your genetics, but you can surely try having a healthy lifestyle, skincare habits, etc.
11. Medications (for Chronic Diseases)
While acne can result from various external, internal, and psychological factors, it can be caused by certain medications. Acne can be caused by medicines that consist of corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, androgenic steroids, DHEA and bromides, iodides, lithium.
Such acne that is occurred due to drug reactions is called acneiform. This condition often gives acne uniform in nature and size and can be easily distinguished from regular acne. Thus, when the medications are stopped, the acne goes away but sometimes might take a little longer.
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