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What Causes Acne Breakouts?

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Even with the tons of studies that are being done, the exact cause of acne breakouts still remains unknown.

However, research has narrowed them down to a group of several factors and watching out for these would definitely reduce the frequency of your acne breakouts

Why Do You Breakout?

Hormonal Activity

At the onset of puberty, androgens (male hormones) increase in both boys and girls causing the body’s sebaceous (oil) glands to enlarge and produce more oil.

Oil production can also increase during pregnancy, or with starting or stopping of oral contraceptives. In women, it decreases during menopause.


Researchers believe that your genetics could also have a hand in whether you get acne or not. If you parents suffered from acne breakouts, you are at a greater risk of suffering from them too.

Sensitizing Reactions

Sensitizing reactions to makeup, irritating skincare ingredients, specific foods (rarely), allergies, or medicines can also lead to more severe breakouts. Sometimes such reactions aren’t true acne, but rather what’s known as “irritant contact dermatitis.”

The red bumps seen with this type of reaction can resemble acne and tend to happen quickly, while true acne develops over a longer period of time.


Medicines that contain or stimulate androgens, corticosteroids, and/or lithium can play a role in the development of acne.



Additional Factors

In addition to the actual causes of acne, there other factors that can actually make your acne worse!


Inflammation can be caused by conditions inside the pore or by outside influences, such as using products that contain irritating ingredients, trying to “dry” up a pimple, or over-scrubbing.

Squeezing pimples doesn’t increase the incidence of acne, but when done incorrectly, it can further inflame the breakout, potentially push the contents deeper into the pore lining, and generally keep it around longer.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to foods such as milk and milk products, gluten, nuts, or fish can cause acne for some people, but there is also research showing that this may not be true. Nonetheless, if you want to see if certain foods are acne triggers for you, it’s easy enough to experiment to see how your skin reacts if you eliminate one or more of these from your diet for several weeks.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes typically occur in girls or women about two to seven days before the beginning of their menstrual cycle. This is the reason why breakouts typically happen during this period.


Breakouts and oily skin can also plague women going through perimenopause (the beginning phase of menopause that normally begins after a woman turns 40) and during menopause. What happens is that estrogen levels (estrogen is the “female” hormone) drop, but the androgen levels (the male hormone that women also have) remain constant.

Accumulation of sun damage can also lead to clogged pores
Androgens are a primary trigger of acne and when you have more of them in your body without the estrogen to balance it, your skin can start acting like you have a teenager’s skin, and not in a good way. The extra androgens cause the oil glands to produce more oil, and a stickier oil to boot, that can clog pores.

There’s also the issue of older women having excess skin cells due to accumulated sun damage which can also lead to clogged pores.

Myths About Acne

How To Treat Acne Breakouts

Although there isn’t really a cure for acne, there is a lot you can do to greatly reduce the problem and get it under control. No matter what you do, the most important thing to remember is that acne is an inflammatory disorder and anything you do to reduce inflammation will help keep breakouts away.

Basic Skin Care Routine

Best Face Wash For Acne-prone Skin – Skin Balancing Oil Reducing Cleanser

Irritating and drying products will hurt the skin’s ability to heal, stimulate oil production, and increase acne-causing bacteria in the skin. This gentle cleanser is suitable for oily and sensitive skin and will help to remove impurities and makeup leaving the skin feeling smoother, softer, and more comfortable.

Best Toner For Acne-prone Skin – Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner

The Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner is great toner for acne-prone skin. It is rich in skin-replenishing ingredients that restores essential nutrients while defending against environmental damage and also helps to replenish and revitalise skin.

Best Exfoliate for Acne-prone Skin – Skin Perfecting 2% BHA (Salicylic Acid) Liquid 

This leave-on exfoliant helps to remove old facial skin and unclog pores by keeping dead skin cells from blocking the pore opening so sebum (oil) can flow more normally, which helps reduce blemishes and blackheads. Exfoliation also allows anti-bacterial agents to penetrate to where the bacteria causing acne are hiding.


With a proper skincare routine and the right knowledge, we hope that you will be able to keep your acne worries at bay and keep your skin radiant and glowing.

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