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Acne is one of the commonest skin conditions around the world. Not to worry, it is not a life-threatening situation. However, it is linked to different psychological, emotional, and physical trauma in different people. But what causes acne on the face?
There are different types of acne and acne causes, and each type is ranked based on severity. However, acne is caused by similar conditions, regardless of the type. Acne on the face affects your self-esteem and can be painful. If left unattended, it can develop into a scar.
Acne is primarily caused when the skin pores are blocked. So you know, the tiny holes on your skin are called pores. The human body naturally produces oil to keep it hydrated. Thanks to the sebaceous glands, you don’t have to worry if your skin is ever going to dry off.
However, when the glands produce too much oil, it could predict some harmful effects like acne. Not that the oil is bad in itself. However, the skin contains dead cells and dirt. When these two particles mix with the oil, it tends to develop into a cluster that can effectively block the pores.
Acne causes in adults and teenagers are caused by Propionibacterium acnes, which can be found at the base of the hair follicle. Hence, it is naturally designed to survive in a low-oxygen environment using oil and cellular debris as food. When oil production increases, the bacteria attempt to break down the oil it uses as food.
Unfortunately, this cycle irritates the surrounding tissues. The immune system attempts to counter the effect. The immune system's response causes inflammation in the different parts of the body that effectively blocks the pores.
The hair follicle is like the freeway to the skin surface. However, when the freeway is blocked, what you will have is a traffic jam. You then start to see and feel large or small and reddened bumps on your skin.
Hence, it usually takes the combined presence of bacteria, dead skin cells, debris, and excess oil for acne and resulting inflammation.
However, if this were the only cause of acne, you wouldn’t have to deal with many problems. Acne vulgaris causes vary in severity and appearance. Nonetheless, let us look at some of the several ways that you can trigger or contribute to acne breakout on your face.
You may have noticed that specific ailments and skin conditions seem to run in the family. Although there is no acne gene, your genetics and heredity can play a significant role in your breakout.
Heredity can influence the effectiveness of your immune system. Unfortunately, a weak immune system won’t have much success keeping acne-causing bacteria at bay. It can also be as a result of certain hormonal conditions that run in the family. For example, polycystic ovary syndrome runs in some families, and acne is a common symptom of the condition.
Your risk of acne is higher if your parents had severe acne growing up. If it was one parent, the risk is lower.
Foods that can raise your blood sugar levels exposes you to acne. When the sugar level rises, the body releases insulin. However, excess insulin can prompt the oil glands to produce more oil. By producing more oil, it is easier for dirt and dead cells to block the pores.
Not just sugar, dairy, and saturated fats also cause acne since milk also increases insulin levels. To be sure, foods that are high in sugar like chocolate, certain drinks, and trans or saturated fat can cause an acne breakout.
Refined carbohydrates, fast foods, and highly-glycemic diets can contribute to acne breakout. For example, fast food is mostly characterized by snacks and fries that contain saturated fats and other ingredients. Unknown to many, the foods can disrupt your hormonal balance.
Highly glycemic foods can also affect the hormones to stimulate the production of more oil. The rule is this: any diet that can influence your hormones to produce more oil is a potential cause for acne.
Here is a detailed guide on the right diet plan for acne.
Hormonal acne is linked with an increase in any hormone level that can cause an increase in oil production. It usually occurs during puberty, menstruation, and menopause. For example, when the testosterone levels and androgens shoot up in teenagers, it can cause the oil glands to expand and produce more oil.
The oil glands are especially sensitive to hormonal changes. Hence, any change like pregnancy or puberty can cause an imbalance in the hormonal structure.
Certain cosmetics and skincare products can clog the pores and cause them to swell. Products with high oil content, although soothing to the skin, can clog the pores. Not just this, cosmetics and beauty products that can irritate the skin can further worsen the situation. An example is any product labeled as Comedogenic.
Related Read: What Is A Comedogenic Scale?
Some lip balm, especially the ones that require scrubbing after use, can irritate the skin. The ones that don’t fade from the face can also seal the pores and cause breakout on your skin.
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Pressure from chin straps, helmets, backpack, and strap can also cause acne. This type also referred to as Acne Mechanica, is common in athletes and students. When you wear tight-fitting gears, it traps it and rubs against your skin. It then causes you to sweat, and sweat can block the pores. It can also result from keeping your cell phones close to your face or a musical instrument like a violin.
Not just this, putting too much pressure on an existing breakout can cause more to emerge. The hands come in contact with bacteria. Now, imagine rubbing an already infected area with the same hands. Hence, scratching or pressuring the site can lead to more acne breakout.
Medications that contain lithium, testosterone, and corticosteroids can cause acne. The drugs do not directly cause acne, but instead, affects the hormonal levels. Men who take steroids are also prone to breakout. Apart from this, some drugs stimulate insulin production, which may directly affect the hair follicle and cause acne.
Occupational acne is associated with industrial exposure to chemical and physical agents that can cause acne. Certain coal-tar products, petroleum, and its derivative, and other halogenated aromatic compounds can cause acne if you are exposed to them.
What Causes Acne On The Back?
Sweat, genetics, and hormones are a few reasons that account for acne on the back. It can also be from carrying a backpack or sweating inside tight clothes.
What Causes Acne On The Chin?
Acne can result from irritation from shaving. If you use a razor that you have used before, you can transfer dead skin cells back to your chin and effectively block your pores. Plus, shaving cream and related products are few acne causes on the chin.
Does Stress Cause Acne?
Can stress cause acne? Stress does not affect the hormones as with other causes of acne. However, stress can cause you to poke or pick at your spot. Unfortunately, you risk spreading bacteria to other healthier parts of the skin or further irritating the inflammation.
What Causes Acne On The Cheeks?
The use of oily or comedogenic cosmetics and beauty products are a few acne causes on cheeks. It can also be from rubbing your cell phones or musical instrument on your cheeks.
What Causes Acne On The Forehead?
Since your hair is close to your forehead, not washing it as you should cause acne. It can also be from oily deposits from creams or irritation from hats.
What Causes Acne On The Neck?
Clothes with tight collars and other sports equipment that put pressure on the neck can cause acne. Your necklace and jewelry can also cause a breakout on your neck, especially if made of false metal or plastic.
What Causes Acne On The Jawline?
Like the neck, tight gears like chin strap or helmet strap can also cause acne on the jawline. Acne jawline causes are also linked to shaving or oil-based cleanser.
Can Sugar Cause Acne?
The body quickly absorbs sugar and other high-glycemic foods. However, when your sugar level rises, the body needs more insulin to bring the levels down. Unfortunately, an increase in insulin production can trigger increased oil production.
What Causes Acne On Shoulders?
Tight bra strap, tight clothes, and oily creams and lotion can cause acne.
Can Smoking Cause Acne?
Smoking prevents the cells from adequately protecting your skin and constricts the blood vessels. It also causes the cells to reproduce at a faster rate than the body can shed. As a result, the old cells pile up and can clog the pores.
What Causes Acne Around the Mouth?
Oil-based beauty products like lip balm and lipsticks can cause acne. Not rinsing out toothpaste, especially if it contains ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, can cause acne. All of these also apply and contribute to acne causes on the face.
What Causes Acne On the Scalp?
Dandruff, dead skin cell, and not washing the hair regularly are acne scalp causes.