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What causes acne?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Acne is a common skin issue that many people face, especially during their teenage years. It shows up as different types of bumps on the skin, mostly on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders.

The different types of spot caused by acne include: 

  • Blackheads: small, dark bumps caused by clogged pores
  • Whiteheads: similar to blackheads but may feel firmer, and don’t empty when squeezed
  • Pimples: raised bumps that can be red, swollen, and filled with pus
  • Cysts and nodules: larger, painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface that can cause scarring

What causes spots?

Acne is primarily caused by a combination of factors, including hormonal changes, excess oil production, bacteria, and genetics. Understanding these common causes can help in managing and preventing acne breakouts effectively.

  1. Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause, can trigger acne breakouts. Increased levels of hormones like testosterone, stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to clogged pores and acne development.

  2. Excess oil: The sebaceous glands located beneath the skin’s surface produce sebum, an oily substance that helps lubricate the skin. However, excessive sebum production can lead to clogged pores, trapping bacteria and dead skin cells, which contribute to acne formation.

  3. Genetics: If your parents had acne, you’re more likely to have it too. This is because genetic factors influence skin type, oil production, and immune response.

Frequently asked questions about acne

What causes back acne in females?

Back acne in females is often caused by hormonal fluctuations, excess oil production, tight clothing, and sweat buildup.

What causes forehead acne?

Forehead acne can be triggered by excess oil production, hair products, sweat, and poor skincare habits.

What causes baby acne?

Baby acne is typically caused by maternal hormones passed to the baby before birth. It usually resolves on its own without treatment.

A young woman's face with acne spots and scars.

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