causes of acne

Acne begins in the skin’s oil glands. The oils travel up a canal called a follicle, which also contains a hair. The oils empty onto the skin surface through the follicle’s opening, or pore.

The hair, oil and cells that line the narrow follicle can form a plug and block the pore, preventing oil from reaching the skin’s surface. This mix of oil and cells allows bacteria that normally live on the skin to grow in plugged follicles. Your body’s defense system then moves to attack the bacteria and the area gets inflamed.3

One important factor in acne is an increase in certain hormones during puberty. These hormones cause the oil glands to enlarge and make more oil. Hormone changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills can also cause acne.
Studies suggest that you can inherit a tendency to develop acne from your parents, so genes likely play some role.

Stress doesn’t cause acne, but research has found that for people who have acne, stress can make it worse.

Certain drugs are also known to cause acne.

Greasy cosmetics, for example, can alter the cells of the follicles and make them stick together, producing a plug. If you have acne, try oil-free cosmetics. Choose products labeled noncomedogenic (meaning they don’t promote the formation of closed pores).