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Every one of us wants a good healthy skin, and having an acne just a nightmare. Knowing what causes acne will certainly help us to prevent it from aggravating and acne scars.

What is acne?

Acne or acne vulgaris is a disease of the pilosebaceous unit which basically consists of hair follicle, sebaceous gland and arrector pili muscle

Acne are caused when the tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked.

Sebaceous glands are tiny glands seen near the surface of your skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles, which are small holes in your skin that an individual hair grows out of.

Causes for acne are:

1. Changes in Hormone levels

The sebum i.e oil production is controlled by the hormones namely androgen and testosterone. And Androgen hormone is considered as an initial trigger.

So when puberty hits, there is drastic increase in androgen levels, which stimulate sebaceous gland. This leads to increase in sebum i.e oil production giving rise to more acne flare ups.

In men, high level of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and a decreased level of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) are responsible for elevating the androgen level. A drastically elevated level of androgen was found in women compared to men with acne.

Also during menstruation, pregnancy, and polycystic ovary syndrome, acne might worsen due to increase in the hormone levels.


2. Starting or stopping birth control pills

When OCPS are started, sometimes there is initial flare up of the androgen hormone, which can temporarily make acne worse before it starts to improve. So this initial flare-ups occur because some pills have high progestin content that can cause a pseudo-testosterone effect, which can initially increase acne.

Birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone helps in lowering the amount of androgens in your body. This decreases the production of sebum and leads to less severe acne.


3. Oily and greasy scalp

When there is excess sebum production, it travels through the hair follicles on the skin surface and scalp. These leads to oily and greasy scalp.

In such situation your doctor may recommend to wash your hair daily.

4. Hard scrubbing of the skin:

Scrubbing is a type of exfoliation process to remove dead skin cells that can clog your pores. But using harsh and abrasive products may irritate and damage your skin and causing acne breakouts.

Instead use chemical exfoliants to help loosen dead skins so that they naturally fall offs. But make sure to apply oil-free moisturizer to prevent peeling and irritation. 

5. Diet:

According to new studies, it is to be believed that food with high glycemic index-such as chips, and bread may worsen acne. But till now we do not have clear guidelines about the best diets to prevent acne.

So enjoy your favourite foods in moderation but if you find that some of them causes breakouts, then you will have to decide if they are worth it.

Most common causes of Acne and How to Prevent

6. Stress as a cause of acne

Few studies have shown a correlation between the stress and acne severity. Stress increases the hormone cortisol, can also cause acne to flare.

7. Genetics

Genetics plays a role in acne. If your parents had acne, then you are very likely to have it too.

8. Constant friction or pressure

Constant friction or pressure on skin due to telephones, tight collars, backpacks, and helmets may cause acne.

9. Use of Cosmetics can be a cause of acne

Due to the use of Cosmetics containing greasy materials or comedogenic products. comedogenic products clogs the pores causing acne breakouts. So if you have oily skin it is advisable to use non-comedogenic products which will not clog your skin pores.

10. Medicines

Certain medicines (such as lithium and steroidal drugs):

These medications causes inflammation of the oil glands making the area of the skin more acne prone. It can form pustules and the breakout can be seen more on the face around the hairline.

11. Exposure to chemicals

Exposure to some chemicals, dust or pollution can affect the skin too by clogging pores.

12. Smoking

Smoking can also cause acne in older people.

Bottom line

It is important to understand the root cause of acne to lessen the damage and scarring of the skin. Consult your dermatologist for better evaluation and personalised treatment of acne.


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