Share This Article
Acne is a type of skin disease that occurs when the hair follicles are clogged with dead cells. It can affect anyone but is most common in teens. Acne is not life-threatening, but if it lasts for a long time, it can leave scars on the skin. Genes play a significant role in determining how oily or dry our skin is and how well we respond to specific medications used in treating acne. Acne usually appears on the face, neck, back, and chest. The earlier you start treatment, the better your results will be. Acne is a treatable condition and can be cured.
How can genetics cause acne?
Genetics influence how your body responds to hormones. Genetics also increases or decreases oil production on the skin, which affects acne development. 50% of acne cases are thought to have a genetic component, but no specific genes have been identified yet. You may get prone to acne if your mother or father has it. Heredity is just one of the factors that cause acne to develop. This means that if you have an unaffected parent, genes are not likely to be responsible for your skin condition development.
The relationship between genes and acne has yet to be established because no specific gene could lead to the disease. Acne occurs due to interaction between genetic makeup, hormones circulating in the body, and environmental factors like diet and stress. Genetics can’t be blamed for acne without any evidence, but scientists think they play a role in its development.
The significant factors that cause acne are:
1) Hormones- The most common hormone that stimulates sebaceous glands is called androgen. Although women can produce some level of these hormones, men naturally have more androgens than women, which means they are more likely to experience acne outbreaks during puberty. Women still produce some androgens after menopause, which explains why many older women still get breakouts. Women who take certain birth control pills which contain androgenic progestins may also experience acne breakout as a side effect of the pills.
2) Diet-There is evidence that junk foods and fats can worsen acne breakouts. We all know how greasy fast foods and fried food items are, which explains why they worsen an acne outbreak. Foods with a high glycemic index like white bread, white rice, refined sugars, etc., have been found to increase sebum production, causing pimples to appear on the skin surface. Both oily and sugary foods boost harmful bacteria growth on your skin, making it more susceptible to getting infected, leading to new acne lesions. Remember – overeating chocolate or anything with dairy can cause break out! It– Not suitable for ladies who are looking for clear skin!
3) Stress-When you are stressed out by an important exam or business presentation, the adrenal glands secrete more androgen hormones. These androgens can directly lead to acne lesions. Fortunately, androgens in women and men start to drop off after they go through the midlife crisis. This means that stress-related pimples usually disappear once you hit 30 years of age!
4) Skin type- People with oilier skin are more likely to get acne breakouts because their pores are easily clogged with sebum. Oily skins tend to be genetic, but these genes can also be triggered by the above factors causing oily skin breakout. This is why people who have acne-prone friends usually experience it after spending time around them.
5) Ethnicity- People with darker skin color have a greater tendency to get acne because their higher levels of melanin block more ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin. This makes them less likely to burn during outdoor activities leading to prolonged sun exposure and more oil production on the skin surface.
6) Dehydration- Dehydrated skin has a decreased ability to moisturize itself naturally. This means it is more likely to develop acne breakouts because sebum production on the skin surface is stimulated by dryness.
7) Use of some drugs – Here are the most common culprits:
Anti-seizure medications (Neurontin, Tegretol, Depakote, Lamictal- high doses only)
Anabolic steroids (Dianabol / Deca Durabolin) taken for muscle building
Antibiotics containing tetracyclines like doxycycline and minocycline
8) Changes in the menstrual cycle – Some women may find that their acne outbreaks coincide with changes in their menstrual cycle. This is because the hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate sebaceous glands leading to increased oil production on the skin surface.
9) Use of irritating skin care products – Wash your face using warm water instead of hot water to avoid further irritation on your pimples! Avoid washing or scrubbing pores too hard; otherwise, you’ll increase your chances of getting acne.
10) Stress-related hormonal changes – Usually, teenagers find their acne outbreaks worsen when they are stressed out during exam times, while university students usually get breakouts only immediately after exams. A spike causes these stress-related breakouts in hormone levels due to anxiety can lead to oily skin breakout even though there is no evidence that changes in diet or lifestyle can lead to acne breakouts.
11) Clothing – Tight clothes that rub against the skin can cause micro-injuries on the surface leading to sebum build-up and pore-clogging. Try wearing breathable fabrics like cotton or linen instead of clothes made from synthetic fibers, also known as acne-causing fashion statements!
12) Sleeping positions- Sleeping positions might have something to do with why some people experience acne outbreaks while others don’t. People who sleep on their stomachs are more likely to get them because they are resting their necks on hands which then press oil glands around the chin area even further, causing it to sweat more during sleep.
13) Bad hygiene – Not washing oily hair regularly can increase the risk of getting acne. Shower or wash your face after sweating for at least 10 minutes. Avoid touching your hair or wearing caps because acne-causing germs can move from hair follicles to the skin surface, causing breakout!
14) Food allergies – Some people experience a milder form of acne called dermatitis or eczema (reddish bumps that itch) around their mouth area after eating food like shellfish, wheat, onions, and tomatoes. Try an elimination test by avoiding these foods one at a time for one week each to see if they are causing food allergic reactions, which lead to acne breakouts!
15) Deodorant – Using deodorant with high Ph levels (5+ ) may irritate the skin surface leading to redness and pus-filled whiteheads. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to switch to a milder antiperspirant/deodorant that does not contain any harsh chemicals.
These are some leading causes of acne that you should know of! Knowing what triggers your acne is the first step towards preventing any future outbreaks of the pimple.
How to prevent acne?
1) Maintain good hygiene – Wash your face twice daily with water and mild soap or cleanser. Avoid scrubbing too hard because it can aggravate acne.
2) Keep your hands away from your face- Do not touch or pop pimples because this will increase the chance of developing scars! Try not to wear dirty clothes with some dirt particles on them, which can be transferred to the skin, causing clogged pores. Go for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen instead. Also, try keeping hair off your face by wearing caps, hats, or headbands, especially for an athlete!
3) Dietary changes – Reduce intake of foods high in refined sugars, dairy products, and milk which may lead to hormonal imbalances causing increased oil production on the skin. Avoid processed foods because preservatives can react with excess oil to produce excess sebum. Try shifting toward a wholly organic diet if you want to reduce acne breakouts and other health benefits like stronger hair and nails and better sleep!
4) Wear sunscreen- Sunlight causes oxidative cell damage, which could lead to premature aging and trigger abnormal oil secretion leading to more acne breakouts. Wearing a basic SPF 15 daily is recommended for everyone; those who don’t get any sun exposure can also apply after moisturizing at night as part of their skincare routine before going to bed!
5) Manage stress – Usually, acne gets worse when we are stressed out, so practice meditation or breathing exercises to reduce stress and stay calm, and try sleeping at least 8 hours a day to let your body rejuvenate!
6) Explore home remedies- Use natural ingredients like lemon juice, aspirin, honey, and mint leaves as topical treatments or drink them as teas to help clear acne naturally without any side effects. Avoid dairy products if lactose intolerant and replace them with healthy alternatives such as almond milk, coconut butter, or yogurt for better skin.
7) Don’t pop pimples – Picking on pimples will only increase the risk of developing more comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and scars later on! If possible, apply ice packs or chilled water compresses before bed; this constricts blood vessels preventing excess blood flow into the skin to reduce swelling.
8) Use mild face washes- Mild cleansers do not strip the skin of its natural oils; this means it will be less likely for you to produce excess sebum because your pores are clean! So make sure your cleanser is non-comedogenic (meaning it does not clog pores) and suited for sensitive skin. You can use face wash which is paraben, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, dye-free, and lathers up very well on my face. It contains low PH levels that do not irritate my skin! For those with oily/acne-prone skin types focusing on products that prevent oil production, like BHA products or AHA products are highly recommended.
9) Use hypoallergenic makeup- Makeup with thick layers, mainly powder-based products, will clog pores, so choose mineral-based foundations or cleansing water instead. Creams are usually better for sensitive skin because they don’t have any harsh chemicals in them, so apply gently after moisturizing the skin! Powder products should only be used if your skin does not react negatively to them. Apply makeup AFTER you have cleansed and moisturized your face.
10) Avoid oily/greasy foods – These are culprits that trigger hormonal imbalance leading to increased oil production on the skin, so take it easy with junk food and deep-fried foods as well as red meat! These should be excluded from your diet for a week or two to see if you notice any changes after that period.
11) Exfoliate allows you to make way for new, healthy cells while simultaneously preventing clogged pores from forming. You can try using a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid or try exfoliating with a soft-bristled brush like the Deep Pore Cleansing Brush before moisturizing your face.
12) Cleaning your makeup brushes- Cleaning your makeup brushes every week will ensure they don’t harbor excess dirt, which can trigger acne breakouts. If you accidentally get oil or foundation stain on the bristles, wait until it dries before cleaning with a gentle shampoo and conditioner or dish soap (I use baby shampoo!). This way, you won’t remove the glue from your bristles which will make them fall off!
13) Avoid chemical-based treatments- Chemical-based treatments usually contain harsh chemicals which work by drying out excess oils on the skin. These products can irritate sensitive skin types, and they also reduce oil production over time because once you produce less sebum, you’re going to have clogged pores all the time!! So choose milder homeopathic remedies instead of natural alternatives that do not cause dryness or irritate the skin.
14) Choose a homeopathic treatment: Homeopathic remedies are mild and gentle to use; they can be taken in conjunction with other medications without any side effects! They also benefit from being suitable for everyone since homeopathy is based on treating people according to their symptoms rather than against diseases. So it is safe to use homeopathic treatment for acne.
You can clear acne even if other family members have had bad experiences with acne in the past! It’s important to stay positive and take things one step at a time! For more information on acne, you can book an appointment with a homeopathy doctor through OHO Homeopathy!