Common Causes of Acne

Acne occurs when hair follicles are plugged with oil and dead skin. Though there are many triggers and influences that cause or worsen acne, there are two main root causes for acne. Genetics and hormones are the two main causes, and both are out of your control.


According to Proactiv, genetics determine how your body’s immune system responds to bacteria, and also how easily your pores become plugged.

Unfortunately, your genetics may give you the ability to overproduce dead skin cells, then shed them away in a way that clogs your pores. Genetics are the underlying reason for your acne, including what type of acne you have.


Besides genetics, hormones are the other main culprits for acne. During puberty, everyone starts to produce masculinizing hormones called androgens.

In women, the hormones include testosterone, DHEA-sulfate and progesterone.

Androgen hormones cause oil-producing glands to enlarge, stimulating oil production. When there’s more oil and less shedding of dead skin cells, pores become clogged, and the acne appears. (Source)

This is the reason that most teenagers get acne. In addition, the balance of hormones is disrupted during a woman’s period or during pregnancy, causing acne.


Stress can trigger or worsen your acne and can make it last longer.

Stress can trigger or worsen your acne because it causes the body to release cortisol and androgens from your adrenal glands, increasing oil production. Because women produce a greater percentage of their androgens in the adrenal gland than men, women are more prone to stress related breakouts.

Stress can also make your breakouts last longer. Having acne adds to your emotional stress, perpetuating the vicious acne cycle. (Source)

Food & Medication

For some people, dairy products & carbohydrate-rich foods trigger acne. Carbohydrates found in sugary, starchy, or processed foods have what is known as a high glycemic index. These types of food spike your blood sugar level and eventually create insulin resistance. When this occurs, your skin responds by releasing thick, sticky oil into the pores, which results in breakouts. (Source)

According to WebMD, certain drugs, including corticosteroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, androgenic steroids, DHEA, and medications that contain bromides or iodides, can cause acne.

Although the true reason why the drugs cause acne breakouts is not yet discovered, the suspicion is on the increase in androgen levels.


Outside factors like pollution, exposure to oil and grease may clog pores and flare acne. Heat and humidity, which increase oil production, are also well-documented acne triggers.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. One of its main functions is to protect us from noxious substances.

Strong environmental pollutants can result in a rare variation of acne called chloracne, which is characterized by acne like eruptions of blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and pustules. Chloracne is different from the more common acne vulgaris because it’s not caused by hormones or genetics. (Source)

DIY Cures for Acne

1. Turmeric Face Mask

Turmeric’s antibacterial and antifungal properties are very effective in killing bacteria. In addition, the antioxidant properties help prevent future breakouts.

Here is a guide to making and applying your own turmeric mask at home, from EverydayHealth!

Step 1: Mix together 1/2 cup of chickpea flour, 2 teaspoons each of turmeric powder, sandalwood powder, and ghee, into a paste
Step 2: Apply on your face, and leave on for 5-10 minutes
Step 3: Rub with pressure with both palms and fingers to remove all the paste, then rinse well with water

2. Grape Cleanser

Besides killing bacteria, grapes repair, heal, and regenerate skin cells. As an added bonus, it’s fairly easy to use grapes to alleviate some of your acne at home!

All you have to do is cut 2-3 grapes in half, then rub the flesh over your face and neck.

Rinse with cool water and feel refreshed!

3. Honey Face Mask

Honey is an antiseptic that prevents the growth of bacteria. In addition, it releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide.

It’s best to use raw, unprocessed honey for both your acne treatment and consumption.

Before you apply your honey mask, make sure to rinse your face with warm water to open up your pores. Then apply honey and leave it on the skin for 30 minutes.

Rinse the honey off with warm water. As a final step, rinse your face again with cold water to close your pores.

4. Cucumber Face Mask

Nutrients in cucumber help replenish the skin. It also cleanses the skin by removing dead skin cells.

Here are the steps for your at-home cucumber mask:

Step 1: Blend together one cucumber, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, and 1 teaspoon of yogurt
Step 2: Apply and leave on your face for 30 minutes
Step 3: Rinse with water

Good & Bad Diets for Acne

Though food isn’t the main cause of acne, what you eat can influence or worsen acne. Follow the 3 diet tips below if you suffer from acne.

1. Sugar

Diet with high sugar triggers a boost in insulin, which leads to the growth of pore-clogging cells.

If possible, try to avoid foods such as candy, chocolate, soda, and sugary beverages. Instead, eat more fruits, raw honey, dark chocolate, and cocoa nibs.

Antioxidant-rich berries such as cherries, blackberries, and blueberries also help decrease acne.

In addition, sugar can cause other health problems besides acne, so limiting intake on sugar will boost your overall health!

2. Dairy

Dairy products such as cheeks and milk also trigger insulin production. The insulin helps your cells absorb sugar.

Studies have shown that people who consume a low glycemic diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins have less instance of skin breakouts.

Instead of drinking cow’s milk, try almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk. Greek yogurt is another excellent alternative.

3. Refined Carbs

Pasta, white rice, and white bread are some of the foods that cause inflammation. In order to get rid of acne, you must lower inflammation in your body.

Ideally, you want to replace these carbs with brown rice, whole grains, green veggies, and garlic.

Green veggies are loaded with skin-clearing nutrients. In addition, they provide countless benefits to your overall health.

Acne Makeup Tips

Is acne making your makeup session a hell? Well, don’t stress out, because that can worsen your acne!

Here are some makeup tips to make your life a bit easier.

1. Prepare your skin

It’s important to have exfoliated and moisturized skin.

To create a smooth, healthy looking complexion, use a pore minimizing cleanser and scrub every morning.

However, be careful not to over exfoliate and further irritate your acne.

2. Use some tape

Admit it, we’ve all overdone it with the acne cream before, in hopes that more will yield in better results.

Don’t worry about the pesky, flaky residue left from the cream. The flaky aftermath can be resolved with some tape!

Pat down your skin with some tape, then apply your moisturizer.

Once the moisturizer dries, you can apply your makeup.

3. Sometimes, less is better

You don’t need more foundation to cover up acne. Using too much will actually emphasize your skin texture, drawing more attention to the acne on your face.

Use sheer foundation, and leave the concealing to the concealers.

It’s much better to show off the good aspects of your skin rather than trying to conceal all the bad parts.

4. Utilize color corrections

You may still see discoloration on your skin from blemishes and scars.

In this case, use a color corrector, then tape with your fingers to blend it in.

Some of the recommended colors include peach, tangerine, and deeper orange.