Dr. Hina Altaf Dermatologist

Causes of an Acne Breakout: What You Need to Know

Key Takeaways

What causes acne? How to prevent acne? How to treat acne?
Acne is caused by a combination of factors, such as excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria, and inflammation. Acne prevention involves keeping the skin clean, avoiding pore-clogging products, managing stress, and eating a healthy diet. Acne treatment depends on the type and severity of acne. Some common options include topical creams, oral medications, light therapy, and chemical peels.

What Causes Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people of all ages. It occurs when the hair follicles or pores in the skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This can lead to various types of acne lesions, such as:

  • Blackheads: Open comedones that have a black or dark appearance due to oxidation of the pore contents.
  • Whiteheads: Closed comedones that have a white or yellowish appearance due to trapped sebum and bacteria.
  • Papules: Small, red, inflamed bumps that may be tender to the touch.
  • Pustules: Pus-filled bumps that have a white or yellow center and a red base.
  • Nodules: Large, hard, painful lumps that form deep under the skin.
  • Cysts: Deep, pus-filled lesions that can cause scarring and infection.

Acne can be influenced by a number of factors, such as:

  • Hormones: Hormonal changes, such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can increase the production of oil and trigger acne. Androgens, a type of hormone that stimulates the oil glands and hair follicles, are especially linked to acne.
  • Genetics: Acne tends to run in families, so if your parents or siblings have acne, you are more likely to have it too.
  • Stress: Stress can cause the body to release more hormones, such as cortisol, that can worsen acne. Stress can also affect the immune system and the skin’s ability to heal.
  • Diet: Certain foods, such as dairy, refined carbohydrates, and chocolate, may trigger or aggravate acne in some people. However, the evidence for this is not conclusive and more research is needed.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as steroids, lithium, and birth control pills, can cause or worsen acne as a side effect.
  • Cosmetics: Some products, such as makeup, moisturizers, and hair products, can clog the pores and cause acne. These products are usually labeled as “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free” if they are less likely to cause acne.
  • Environment: Factors such as heat, humidity, pollution, and friction can irritate the skin and contribute to acne.

How to Prevent Acne?

Acne prevention is not always possible, but there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of breakouts and keep your skin healthy. Some of these steps include:

  • Wash your face twice a day: Use a gentle cleanser and warm water to remove excess oil, dirt, and bacteria from your skin. Avoid scrubbing or using harsh products that can irritate your skin and worsen acne.
  • Moisturize your skin: Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer after washing your face to keep your skin hydrated and balanced. Look for products that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or aloe vera that can soothe and nourish your skin.
  • Protect your skin from the sun: Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays that can damage your skin and cause premature aging. Choose a sunscreen that is non-comedogenic and suitable for your skin type.
  • Avoid touching your face: Touching your face can transfer bacteria, oil, and dirt from your hands to your skin and cause acne. Also, avoid picking, popping, or squeezing your pimples, as this can cause infection, inflammation, and scarring.
  • Manage your stress: Stress can trigger or worsen acne, so try to find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as exercise, meditation, yoga, or hobbies. Getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water can also help you reduce stress and improve your skin health.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Although there is no clear evidence that diet causes acne, some foods may help or harm your skin. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats that can provide your skin with essential nutrients and antioxidants. Avoid or limit foods that are high in sugar, refined carbs, dairy, and saturated fats that can cause inflammation and affect your hormones.

How to Treat Acne?

Acne treatment depends on the type and severity of your acne, as well as your skin type, age, and personal preferences. Some of the common options for acne treatment are:

  • Topical creams: These are products that you apply directly to your skin to treat acne. They may contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, or retinoids that can kill bacteria, unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and prevent new acne from forming. Topical creams are usually the first line of treatment for mild to moderate acne, and they are available over-the-counter or by prescription.
  • Oral medications: These are pills that you take by mouth to treat acne. They may include antibiotics, such as tetracycline, doxycycline, or minocycline, that can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. They may also include hormonal medications, such as birth control pills, spironolactone, or isotretinoin, that can regulate your hormones and reduce oil production. Oral medications are usually prescribed for moderate to severe acne, or acne that does not respond to topical creams.
  • Light therapy: This is a procedure that uses blue or red light to treat acne. Blue light can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, while red light can promote healing and reduce scarring. Light therapy can be done at home with a device or at a dermatologist’s office with a stronger device. Light therapy is usually used for mild to moderate acne, or as an adjunct to other treatments.
  • Chemical peels: This is a procedure that involves applying a type of acid, such as glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid, to your skin to remove the top layer of dead skin cells and unclog pores. Chemical peels can improve the appearance of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and skin texture. Chemical peels can be done at home with a mild product or at a dermatologist’s office with a stronger product. Chemical peels are usually used for mild to moderate acne, or as an adjunct to other treatments.

Related Questions and Answers

Question Answer
What is the best way to get rid of acne scars? There is no one best way to get rid of acne scars, as different types of scars may require different treatments. Some of the possible treatments for acne scars include: – Topical creams that contain ingredients such as retinoids, vitamin C, or alpha hydroxy acids that can stimulate collagen production and fade discoloration. – Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion that involves sanding or scraping off the top layer of the skin to smooth out scars. – Laser resurfacing that uses a beam of light to remove the top layer of the skin and stimulate new skin growth. – Microneedling that involves creating tiny punctures in the skin with fine needles to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture. – Fillers that involve injecting a substance, such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, or fat, under the skin to plump up depressed scars. – Surgery that involves cutting out or lifting up deep scars and stitching the skin together.
How long does it take for acne to clear up? The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as the type and severity of your acne, the treatment you are using, and your skin’s response to the treatment. In general, it may take several weeks to months for acne to clear up, and you may need to continue using the treatment to prevent new acne from forming. Some of the factors that can affect how long it takes for acne to clear up are: – The type of acne: Noninflammatory acne, such as blackheads and whiteheads, may clear up faster than inflammatory acne, such as papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. – The severity of acne: Mild to moderate acne may clear up faster than severe acne, which may require more aggressive treatment and longer recovery time. – The treatment: Different treatments may have different effects and side effects on your skin. Some treatments may work faster than others, but they may also cause more irritation or dryness. Some treatments may take longer to work, but they may also be more gentle or effective. – The skin’s response: Your skin may react differently to different treatments, depending on your skin type, sensitivity, and tolerance. Some people may see results sooner than others, while some people may experience more breakouts or irritation before their skin improves.

Conclusion

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect anyone at any age. It is caused by a combination of factors, such as excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria, and inflammation. Acne can be prevented by keeping the skin clean, avoiding pore-clogging products, managing stress, and eating a healthy diet. Acne

Causes of an Acne Breakout

Opening Hours

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Book Your Appointment

Dr. Hinah Altaf’s clinic is currently at Gargash Hospital, 145 Umm Suqeim Street – Umm Al Sheif -Dubai.