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What Causes Acne?

By Mary Smith. Updated: January 20, 2017
What Causes Acne?

Acne is a skin disease that affects a significant number of people of all ages, but especially during puberty. There are various factors that cause this skin condition to appear and knowing what these are can help us to prevent acne and improve it once it has appeared. So at OneHowTo we explain in more detail what causes acne in adults, what causes acne on face, and more generally, what causes acne.

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Hormonal changes

Hormones play a fundamental role in the appearance of acne, as alterations in hormone levels will cause an increase in androgens and consequent excessive production of sebum, which closes the pores.

That's why during periods of hormonal change there may be an increase in the appearance of acne, for example during puberty, menstrual cycles, periods of stress, pregnancy, etc. So, what causes acne in adults could well be periods, pregnancy or post-partum, or simply stress.

Genetic causes

Likewise, hereditary factors are also involved in causing acne, since people whose relatives have suffered from this skin condition have a greater chance of also being affected.

Although we don't know exactly how hereditary factors are determined, it is argued that it has a multifactorial influence. Therefore, the information contained in genes influences the type of acne as well as the duration of the disease and the distribution of lesions. What causes acne on face is often an hereditary factor, which could simply be a skin type.

Risk Factors

Likewise, there are several factors that can cause acne in adults:

  • Age: although acne can appear at any age, it is more common during adolescence, due to the fact that it is a period of many hormonal changes.
  • Sex: it's important to note that acne cases are more severe in men than in women, since testosterone causes the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum than necessary.
  • Race: acne is less common in Asian and Black people.
  • Diet: a diet high in fat and carbohydrates worsens acne lesions.
  • Other factors: smoking, unsuitable makeup, humid climates, jobs with exposure to mineral oils, etc.

Medications for acne

Likewise, certain drugs cause acne in people who take them, as may be the case with lithium, corticosteroids, steroids, hydantoin, etc. Oral contraceptives may also cause the appearance of acne, as they cause a hormonal alteration - although it's also worth noting that it's sometimes used as a treatment for acne in adults.

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