What Causes Acne?

Knowing what causes acne can help you control the problem. I say "control" because there is no real cure for acne. The best you can hope for is to control it for long periods.

There are many causes of acne. We'll take them one by one and you'll probably know which ones are relevant to you.

Hormones play a major role in what causes acne. Androgens that are produced by ovaries and adrenal glands trigger most attacks. Acne may start whenever hormone levels are changing, like during puberty, pregnancy or menopause.

Many women have monthly breakouts caused by the release of progesterone after ovulation. This is most common at about 5 days before the beginning of the cycle and it may continue for 7 to 10 days.

Some women have more hormone swings and oil glands that are sensitive to hormones. These women may also have higher levels of androgens. For example, those who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may have more severe acne.

Genetics or family history can also cause acne. Acne tends to run in families so you may be able to blame it on your genes. Not much help, I know, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Some prescription medications can cause acne, for example, anti-epileptics. Also, glucocorticoid and anabolic steroids, and progestin-only contraceptives have been linked with acne.

Be sure to read the labels of any medicines you are currently using to see if acne is one of the possible side effects.

Some skin care products and cosmetics can also trigger acne, especially if they are oily or greasy.

Chin straps, hats, shoulder pads and other close-fitting sports equipment are among what causes acne.

Acne flares may also be linked to stress, especially in cases of adult acne. Acne in young people can also be affected by stress. One study found that acne among university students was associated with exam stress. Another reason to do away with exams, if you ask me!

Just out of interest, let's look at how spots and pimples begin.

First, androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands. This increases oil production. Whoah! The oil wells start overflowing!

Oil collects in the hair follicle and travels up to the surface of the skin. Along the way, the oil mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells shed from the lining of the follicle. The more oil is produced, the more likely it is that the follicle will become clogged.

And a clogged up follicle turns into a spot or pimple. The whole process actually starts 2 to 3 weeks before the blemish shows up on your face.

So, as you can see, there are many answers to the question of what causes acne. The more you know about your own case of acne, the easier it will be for you to control the problem.

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