collaborative post // There are many beliefs as to why people develop acne. But just what is the real cause of this skin condition? And can it be prevented?

What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition in which clusters of pores become blocked, turning into pimples and cysts. The skin typically becomes red and inflamed. Serious cases of acne can affect people’s self-esteem, and while acne can be treated, it can leave behind unwanted scarring. 

You should avoid picking at pimples to prevent infection. Washing your face with hot water and soap daily may help to reduce acne. However, topical treatments are typically the best way to treat this condition.

There are over-the-counter options that you can try. For more effective treatment for serious cases, it could be worth consulting a dermatologist. Prescription topical creams and skin procedures may be recommended. 

Is poor hygiene to blame?

While it’s true that poor hygiene can cause acne, it is typically not the cause for most people. Some people wash their face more regularly than others and still get acne. 

Good personal hygiene can often prevent acne from getting as bad by helping to prevent as many pores from getting blocked. There are many products that can help to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells that can help block pores – consider integrating these into your personal cleaning routine if you don’t already use them. 

Can stress cause acne?

Stress is the root cause of many health problems. However, evidence suggests that it’s unlikely to be a root cause of acne. 

That said, stress can make pre-existing acne worse. This is because stress triggers inflammation around the body, which could result in acne looking more red and prominent, as well as cousin more pimples. De-stress in order to relieve any existing acne.

Is diet a contributing factor?

Diet is likely to be a contributing factor to acne for many people – particularly adults. Studies show a strong link between those who consume lots of high-fat and sugary foods/drinks and those who develop acne. 

Such foods can cause insulin spikes that can cause inflammation. Increases in testosterone can meanwhile make pores larger and skin more oily, leading to more blockages. On top of this, a lack of vitamins can prevent the body from fighting inflammation and infection. All in all, it’s worth trying to maintain a healthy diet to prevent all of this. 

What about smoking?

There are links between smoking and the risk of developing acne. In fact, studies show that smokers are almost four times more likely to develop acne than non-smokers.

While there is little evidence to suggest exactly why this is the case, it’s another good reason to quit smoking if you still smoke and have acne. 

What is the biggest cause of acne?

The most likely causes of acne are hormonal changes and genetics. In other words, there’s not really much that most people can do to prevent acne – it’s something that some people are more likely to get than others. Of course, lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of acne and there are ways to treat it. 

Hormonal changes explain why many people are more likely to get acne during their teenage years – and why many women develop outbreaks during pregnancy or menopause. As for genetic risk, there is evidence to suggest that acne can run in families. 


  1. Thank you for this post. I often try to get to the bottom of what causes my acne and I have entertained most the areas listed. I have come to the conclusion it must be hormonal I just don’t know why at 36 I am still so hormonal. But I will continue to try and solve my acne puzzle

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