What causes acne?
There are so many different things that can affect your acne. While some of them still remain a mystery, we do know many of the reasons your body feels the need to produce inconvenient pimples.
Dr. Nely Aldrich confirms, “Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States with approximately 80-90% of the population with the condition at some point in their lives.”
As common as it is, many people still don’t know what their acne is caused by and knowing why it exists is the first step toward treating it. You can’t give your skin what it needs without actually knowing what it’s lacking in the first place.
As frustrating as acne can be, once you understand the underlying cause and speak to a dermatologist about your options, getting rid of it is made much easier.
Here are 5 things you may not have known could cause your acne. Keep them in mind when determining your skin issues.
1. Genetics and acne
Sometimes you just can’t help the hand you’re dealt. If one or both of your parents struggled with acne, the chances of you having acne are pretty high.
Your skin is constructed based on your genetic code. You can’t help the amount of oil that’s secreted or the composition of that oil. Meaning, you could develop acne even though you’re doing what you think is right for your skin.
In order to treat this type of acne, you’ll need a dermatologist to determine the specific cause of the acne and formulate a plan of action to get rid of it. This could include topical treatments along with chemical peels, blue light, laser procedures, and more.
2. Hormonal acne
Another cause of acne that’s not really in your control is your hormones, specifically testosterone. Increased levels of testosterone offsets your hormonal balance and this can pump your sebaceous glands into overdrive, resulting in more oil and in turn, clogged pores.
A great treatment option for women in particular is birth control. According to Dr. Nely Aldrich, you want to make sure you take a birth control pill that’s right for treating your acne.
“When finding a pill that will be helpful for acne, it is important to look at the androgenicity of the progesterone in that particular pill. Androgenicity means the potential of that medication to increase testosterone in the body, which is implicated in making acne worse. This means that certain “low” androgenic pills are better for treating acne than others. Your dermatologist, PCP, or OB/GYN can guide you through the process of which pill would best suit your body.”
3. Shaving and acne
That’s right. Your regular hair removal routine could be causing the stubborn acne in your stubble.
Much of the reason shaving causes acne has to do with the products you use while shaving and the age and quality of the razor you use. Improper shaving can also lead to more issue with acne.
Certain shaving creams and balms can have pore-clogging ingredients so make sure to read the label and opt for types that don’t contain comedogenic elements. You also want to make sure you clean or swap out your razor regularly.
Every time you shave, you’re sloughing off dead skin cells along with hair. Not cleaning the blades can result in not only a build-up of dead skin cells, but also bacteria that can contribute to your acne.
4. Diet and acne
Many people forget that what you put into your body can have a major impact on your skin. Your skin may be suffering because your insides are as well.
“Many studies have looked into the question of how our diet affects the development or severity of acne. Overall, it was found that acne worsens as diets become more Westernized. This means that high glycemic foods (high sugar or carbohydrate content) tend to make acne worse. One study showed that a diet high in dairy products made acne worse. Moreover, diets low in sugar and carbohydrate content improved acne.”
It may seem like you have to cut out all the yummy food, but don’t worry.
Dr. Aldrich added, “Chocolate and salt intake were not found to significantly change the severity of acne, so feel free to indulge with some chocolate bunnies this spring (in moderation).”
5. Alcohol and acne
Once again, what you put into your body can be seen on your skin. The more you struggle with acne and can’t seem to heal it with topical remedies, the more you should take a look at what you’re consuming, alcohol in particular.
While consuming alcohol in moderation may not have immediate and drastic impacts on your acne, it may worsen and add to an already existing condition.
“It is unclear what the relationship between acne and alcohol really is. Some have suggested that excessive alcohol consumption changes the female and male hormone levels in the body, which can contribute to the development of acne. Others suggest that alcohol may increase the stress chemicals in the body, causing inflammation in the skin and making acne worse.”
As embarrassing and as frustrating as acne can be, there’s always a solution. Visiting a quality dermatologist and discussing your options is the first step toward healthier, clearer skin.