What Causes Acne?

hormones graphic


The Causes of Acne

Acne is the most common skin complaint in the world. It is what happens when your pores get clogged and infected with bacteria. But what causes acne in the first place?

Despite its prevalence, what causes acne is actually not that well understood, and a lot of research is currently being done in order to get to the root of the problem. Currently, however, there are a number of recognized causes of acne, and we will look at them in the words that follow.


Fluctuations in hormone levels are largely to blame for the outbreaks of acne associated with the onset of puberty, as well as those that often accompany a woman’s monthly period. In particular, the class of hormones known as androgens is said to be at fault.

Androgens are responsible for the development of quite a few primary and secondary sexual characteristics in both men and women during puberty. A side effect of these hormones is the increased production of skin oils, and this makes your pores more prone to becoming blocked with excess sebum and dead skin cells. Typically, men have higher levels of androgens on a regular basis, which is why their acne infections often last longer than those in women.

External Factors

External factors can also contribute to the development of acne. Studies have shown that some medications containing lithium, androgens and corticosteroids can increase the likelihood of a bad case of zits. The regular use of greasy makeup products, especially those that cover or coat the entire face for long periods of time, can be expected to be accompanied by bad breakouts, and a diet of rich foods, such as dairy products and oily edibles, has been found to exacerbate existing acne problems. It is also thought that high levels of emotional, mental, or physical stress can make you break out in spots.


Like eye color and height, a person’s vulnerability to what causes acne is ultimately a genetic trait. This may be due to a number of reasons, as your genetic makeup is responsible for every physical trait you possess. It could be that your skin glands are extremely active even under normal conditions, or that your body produces higher levels of androgens. The bottom line is that if the members of your family are prone to outbreaks of acne, it is more likely the same thing will happen to you.