What causes acne breakouts? If you suffer from acne, you have likely asked yourself this question time and again. While there are many causes of acne, there is also a lot of misinformation concerning how breakouts happen and what you can do to treat them. Luckily, this article will provide the most accurate and up-to-date information available to help you banish your acne once and for all.
What is Acne?
As one of the most common skin problems affecting teenagers and young adults, you are not alone in your suffering. While scientists are not clear on the exact causes of acne, it is thought to be a combination of several different factors.
Essentially, acne begins when a pore in your skin becomes plugged. When this happens, whiteheads and blackheads can form. Whiteheads are the beginning of a pimple, and squeezing or picking them can make things worse. Additionally, using harsh and abrasive scrubs can also lead to more pimples as time goes by.
There are also several different types of acne. Some of these types range from mild to severe, and acne sufferers may have more than one type at a given time. However, what causes acne breakouts remains the same no matter what type of acne you have. The types of acne include:
These are the beginning of a pimple, but remain under the skin are not always visible. Picking and scratching at these small spots, however, can cause further irritation.
Blackheads result when oil becomes trapped in a pore, causing the pore to become plugged.
These small, pink bumps are a mild form of acne. While they are not normally painful, popping or picking it can further inflame the area and spread bacteria to other areas of your face.
These red and inflamed bumps are very visible on the skin, and typically have pus at the top of the bump. They can also be quite painful.
These large, solid pimples are inflamed and very painful and are embedded deep within the skin. This is a more severe form of acne.
Cysts are the most painful type of acne breakouts and are what typically leads to pock marks and acne scarring.
While the occasional pimple happens to nearly everyone, acne is a persistent and reoccurring condition where several pimples appear on the face, back, neck and/or chest regularly. It is an unsightly and embarrassing skin condition, but there are a number of things that may contribute to acne production. Knowing what can cause acne can also help you find the best treatment to fight acne breakouts.
Direct Causes of Acne
While scientists do not know for sure what causes acne breakouts, there are several direct causes of acne that have been identified. One of the direct causes of acne is the overproduction of oil.
Everyone’s skin is covered in an oily substance called sebum, which functions normally in those with clear skin. However, when too much sebum is released and becomes blocked in the pores, those clogged pores become the perfect site for pimples.
While clogged pores can become inflamed and irritated quite easily, they can also form whiteheads or blackheads. A more severe form of acne, known as acne vulgaris, can result if the clogged pore becomes inflamed.
Over-productive oil glands are one of the direct causes of acne, but there are also indirect causes of acne that should also be addressed.
Indirect Causes of Acne
In addition to the direct causes of acne, indirect causes can also lead to acne breakouts. These can include:
1. Hormonal Imbalances
It is widely known that fluctuating hormones and hormonal imbalances can contribute to acne. One of the best ways to treat these hormonal fluctuations is to eat a diet rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids while reducing your sugar intake. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also cause acne, even if you have never had acne in the past. Fortunately, your acne tends to disappear after giving birth.
2. Food Allergies
While it’s not entirely known why certain food allergies can trigger acne symptoms, it’s argued that gluten, dairy, yeast and eggs can trigger flare ups in people who are sensitive to these types of food. If you suspect your acne is triggered by one of these foods, remove that food from your diet and see if symptoms improve.
3. Nutrient Deficiencies
If you are deficient in any nutrients your body needs to thrive, you are going to experience a variety of issues – including acne. If you suffer from moderate or severe acne and are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals your body needs, taking a supplement or increasing your intake of these vitamins through food can help alleviate symptoms.
4. Poor Diet
While the long-held belief that greasy food and chocolate are a direct cause of acne has been dispelled, it is true that a poor diet can indirectly contribute to skin problems. If you eat a diet high in processed foods and saturated fats, you are not doing any favors for your skin. By cutting out these highly processed foods and incorporating plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats, the condition of your skin is likely to improve dramatically.
While it’s unclear how much of a role genetics play in causing acne, many doctors are convinced genetics can be what causes acne breakouts. If you have a family history of acne sufferers, doctors believe you are much more likely to suffer from acne yourself.
Simple Solution to Treat Acne
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all treatment for acne. Even though we know what causes acne breakouts, the treatments available work differently for everyone.
Even though you will likely have to try several different remedies before your skin is cured, there are several ingredients that have proven to be effective at treating and reducing acne. One such ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, is effective at targeting the bacteria below the skin follicle. By killing the bacteria at its source, benzoyl peroxide reduces inflammation and leads to better skin overall.
Another common ingredient found in over-the-counter acne products, salicylic acid, works in a similar way. This ingredient targets the layers of dirt and debris that have become trapped over the plugged skin follicle and removes them to get at the acne-causing bacteria to eradicate it.
These are two of the most effective over-the-counter ingredients proven to help reduce and treat acne, but you will likely need to try a number of products before you are able to find one that works for you.
There are a number of direct and indirect causes of acne breakouts, but knowing what causes acne breakouts and how to effectively treat them is the key to getting beautiful skin back. With all of the misinformation out there, however, it can be difficult to find the right treatment options for your acne. Fortunately, these tips and tricks should help you obtain the clear skin you’ve always wanted.