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What Causes Acne?

Nobody likes an outbreak of acne, but what really causes acne? Poor hygiene? Poor diet or are we unfortunately born with that bad gene? 


What causes acne


What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition that happens when hair follicles under the skin becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells.  Blocked skin cells cause outbreaks which is often called pimples.   


Causes of Acne 

  • Excess oil (sebum) production 
  • Bacteria 
  • Inflammation  
  • Hair follicles blocked by oil and dead skin cells 

Acne typically appears on your face although it can also be found on chest, back and shoulders as these are the places that have the most oil glands.   

When follicles are clogged with oil and dead skin cells, they may bulge and produce whiteheads, blackheads or red spots with white center (puss).   

A blackhead looks like dirt, but it is actually congested with bacteria and oil which turns brown when it is exposed to air.  A raised red spot with a white top is caused by a blocked follicle that is inflamed or infected with bacteria and oil.    


Acne Myths 

Some of these commonly believed causes of acne have little effect on acne: 

Myth: Chocolate and greasy food 

There is no proven connection between chocolate, pizza, chips etc and acne breakouts.   

Myth: Acne is due to dirty skin 

Acne flare-ups is not due to dirty skin.  In fact, over scrubbing irritates skin and may worsen acne condition.  Washing with an anti-bacterial soap also kills the good bacteria  that protects your skin.  Gently wash your face twice a day with a mild facial wash made for acne prone skin and most importantly, dry your face with a clean towel to prevent reintroduction of bacteria.  

Myth: Stress or depression causes acne 

Stress does not cause acne but the emotions of stress and anxiety may worsen the condition.   



Acne is caused by the interplay of a many factors.  However, the reason why some people are more prone to acne compared to others remains elusive.  The minimum one can do would be to maintain good basic skin care hygiene and to prevent reintroduction of bacteria onto skin by using a clean towel.  An antibacterial self-cleaning Fresh+Dry towel would be a good investment to start with.   


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