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What are the common causes of acne?
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There are many myths about what causes acne and the correct ways to cure acne. While it is commonly believed that a poor diet or bad hygiene can cause acne, medical research has proven that this is not necessarily the case. The most common causes of acne are heredity and hormone levels. Acne can be caused by overactive oil glands, skin pore blockage, normal skin bacteria activity and inflammation. Other factors contributing to acne outbreaks can be vitamin deficiency, stress, food choices and more. Since acne can be caused by any combination of these factors, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of any specific acne case.

Acne is widely considered a hormonal disease because hormones are responsible for the oil glands in the skin. During times when hormone levels are changing, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, oil gland production can become unbalanced and result in acne outbreaks. The excess of oil can clog the pores, trapping in bacteria and resulting in non-inflammatory or inflammatory acne. Hormone changes can occur naturally as a result of age and bodily changes, or as a result of increased or decreased levels of hormones that are taken orally or injected. Examples of this include steroids and birth control pills.

Acne occurs most in areas that have large concentrations of oil glands. The areas on the body with large amounts of oil glands are the face, chest, shoulders and back. During adolescence, oil glands enlarge and produce more oil. By the mid-twenties, oil production begins to decrease and acne normally subsides. However, in some cases, acne can persist well into adulthood.

While the exact causes of acne are unknown, doctors hypothesize about several causes and treatments to cure acne in chronic acne sufferers. In addition to hormonal and hereditary factors, certain drugs like lithium and barbiturates are also down to cause acne. Greasy cosmetics may also clog pores, as well as sweat being trapped against skin in the case of helmet straps, hats, tight collars, backpacks and more. Also, environmental stressors like pollution and humidity can contribute to clogged pores and acne outbreaks.

Myths about the causes of acne abound. The most notable is that greasy foods cause acne, or that chocolate causes acne. Research has shown that these types of food have little to no impact on acne outbreaks. However, some people do notice that they tend to experience acne flare-ups after eating a certain type of food. These types of food can range from milk to chips, and anything in between. If you notice that a particular type of food causes you to break out, you can always try limiting your consumption of that food to see if it makes a different. Another myth is that acne is the result of dirty skin. Many types of acne are not caused by dirt, and in fact, over washing or scrubbing the skin can increase the likelihood of an acne flare-up. Overall, picking, popping and touching acne lesions will only cause the irritations to worsen.

Simple cleansing of the skin to remove dirt and make-up is all that is needed to clean the face. It is also recommended that if you do wear lotion, sunscreen, or make-up on your face that you make sure it is labeled as “oil free” or “noncomedogenic” to ensure that you are not clogging your pores. Also, when using hair sprays or gels, keep them away from the hairline, as these products can also clog pores and cause acne flare-ups. Many over the counter cleansers and topical creams can help treat acne. Is acne is persistent, it may be necessary to contact a dermatologist or physician who can prescribe other topical or ingestible medication to cure acne.


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