what causes acne

Acne Vulgaris  A.K.A. Acneoccurs when oil glands and dead skin accumulate at the base of a hair follicle. This build up will turn into a blockage in the follicle that creates what we know as a pimple. You have oil glands, known as “sebaceous glands,” that are connected to your pores by your hair follicles. These glads are small yet powerful, because they produce “sebum” to help lubricate the skin and hair. While acne is most present in teenagers going through puberty, anyone can have an acne flare up. Because acne is nothing more than an oil build up under the skin. 


Myth 1: Your Skin Is Dirty

Regardless of how much dirt, grime, mud, or grass is accumulated on your skin, it’s not the cause of your breakouts. While dirty skin can cause skin irritation, it doesn’t cause breakouts. Remember –Acne occurs underneath the skin, inside the pores and hair follicles. The end result, pimples and zits, occur on the outer layer of the skin. So dirt may irritate existing acne on the skin but it does not cause it.

Fact: The bacteria responsible for acne, Propionibacterium acnes (or sometimes called p. acnes) is already present in your body and once sebum interacts with p. acnes, acne spreads. 

Myth 2:  That Big Ole Chocolate Bar 

Just because you ate all the chocolate kisses last night that doesn’t mean it will be transferred from your stomach to your pores. We’re all guilty of enjoying chocolate, candy, potato chips, and other junk food. And while it’s not good for our waistline, that doesn’t mean they will cause an acne breakout. Have the chocolate in moderation!

Myth 3: Bad Hygiene Habits

it’s easy to assume that a person with acne is not washing their face well if at all. That’s not true either. A natural face wash will help wash away excess oil and nourish your skin. Honestly facial cleansers can’t work on your face ALL DAY long. Your cleansers’ main and only job is to pull the junk off of your face while you are washing.  

Fact: washing with an oil based cleanser will help to pull the other oily impurities from your skin.  Oil attracts oil!

Myth 4: Too Much Exercise

Many people believe that exercising can cause acne. But really, regular exercise can actually hep to prevent breakouts. I learned this from my personal experience, as I became consistent with my workout my body started to release all the bad stuff it was holding on to when I was not as active. Physical activity can help generate more oxygen in the blood, carrying waste away. It also reduces stress hormones in your body.

What Really Causes Acne

Cause 1: Crazy Uncontrollable Hormones

We all have them, a combination of male and female hormones, commonly known as Androgen and Estrogen. When you have an increase in Androgens you will have an increase in sebum production.  This will indeed cause an oil build up under the skin. Teenages actually have a spike in their Androgens during puberty this is why they are more prone to acne. Controlling your hormones can be a bit difficult because your hormones really have a mind of their own. But if you feel you’re having an acne breakout due to your hormones, please consult a medical professional for proper guidance.

Cause 2: Your pH Balance Is Off

Your potential hydrogen A.K.A  pH measures the amount of acid in your body. The scale runs from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic level and 14 being the most alkaline.

If you experience very dry skin, it is too alkaline. If your skin is inflamed or oily, you have acidic skin, so your pH levels may be too low.

So, what does this have to do with acne? EVERYTHING. When your skin’s pH levels are off, acne breakouts can occur at a vicious rate. Try to keep your skins pH around 5.5.

Cause 3: “That Time of the Month”

Once a month, women experience changes in their hormones as well as during menstruation. During this monthly process, testosterone levels are very high. Testosterone is strongly believed to have an affect on the increase in sebum production, which causes that ugly oil build up. 

Cause 4: Certain Medications

A medication to fix one issue could cause another. For example, steroidal medications regulate hormones. This medicated hormonal regulation can cause an increase in Testosterone, that will then increase the sebum levels in the skin. If you are on any medication check with your doctor to see if it could be causing your acne breakouts.

Let's Talk Acne Prevention

Let’s be real, there is no guaranteed cure for acne for every person, there are ways to control and easily manage your breakouts. But what I can say for sure is --if you follow these steps below you have a much better chance to prevent and better manage your acne:

  1. Knowledge is Power. Get educated about acne.  Know what’s legit and what’s not before you waste energy on worthless claims.
  2. Use a natural face wash and a lightweight moisturizer on your face. Harsh soaps can irritate or dry the skin out, making your situation even worse. If you want to use something extra-strength and of course chemical free for acne then go with a tea tree soap   
  3.  Get that body moving! Maintain a healthy exercise and hygiene routine. Get a run or nice walk in a couple times a week. 
  4.  Maintain a healthy diet. While food won’t directly impact your skin, your overall health can. A poor diet can lead to imbalances that promote acne breakouts.
  5. Use pH balancing products on your face. If your products are too acidic or alkaline, your skin will be too.
  6. Ask, Ask, Ask! There is no such thing as a dumb question. Ask more questions about medications you’re taking. While medication may be fixing one issue, it could be sparking another. Be sure you know all the side effects to all your medications.
  7.  Ditch the chemicals, try using all-natural chemical-free products on your skin.

A word from PJ:
Just like all good things, improvement takes time, whether you’re looking to clear breakouts or just reduce the amount of oily shine on your skin. A good skin care routine tailored to your oily skin type will help you do just that. 

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