Acne: Causes and Treatment

Acne: Causes and Treatment

If you are frustrated or feeling self-conscious about acne or acne blemishes on your skin, you’re not alone. Whether it's one pimple or a cluster of blemishes, acne is a common problem that affects people of all ages — boys, girls, men, and women.

Acne occurs when oil-secreting glands in the skin and along hair shafts become clogged, inflamed and infected, which may lead to the formation of pimples. In severe cases, large pimples form firm swellings deep under the skin. They become inflamed and may develop into painful lumps, causing scarring.

Causes of Acne:

A. Hormonal Changes

Androgens are a type of hormone that causes our sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more oil. Hormonal changes impact the amount of androgens in the body and hence sudden breakouts often occur during time of hormonal changes due to weight change, stress, and certain medications, and the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause in women, or taking birth control pills.

B. Stress

When we are stressed, our bodies produce more androgens and cortisol (stress hormone), hence resulting in a hormonal imbalance. This affects the acne – either cause breakouts or flare up an existing acne. Stress also impairs the immune system of the body so that it becomes vulnerable to acne.

C. Diet

Inflammation and diet are intricately connected. Eating certain foods that contain a high sugar load can cause skin inflammation, contributing to breakouts. Some experts recommend avoiding spicy foods, chocolate, cola, and highly processed foods to help curtail acne. 

D. Genes

Your genes are a key factor in determining your skin-type. If most of your family members have oily skin, it is likely you have it too. Oily skin can lead to clogged pores. This can result in acne. Genetic predisposition of acne is proven and plays a vital role in the severity and type of acne you can get.

E. Heat and humidity

Heat and humidity can cause an increase in the bacteria that causes acne. That’s the reason why people are more likely to develop acne—or maskne—when they wear a face mask.

F. Medications

Some prescription drugs can cause acne as a side effect, particularly drugs that impact hormone levels, including drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone, androgens, and lithium.

G. Underlying health condition

A sudden onset of acne in older adults may be a symptom of an underlying disease or other medical condition. If you haven’t suffered from adult acne and you suddenly experience acne blemishes appearing on the skin, speak with a doctor.


Medical Procedures

A. Laser Therapy

This therapy targets increased sebaceous gland activity and reduces inflammation. It resurfaces the skin by removing its top layer.

B. Chemical Peel

A chemical peel acts as an exfoliator. It resurfaces the skin by removing the top layer to regenerate normal skin.

C. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is used to remove dead skin cells and renew the texture and tone of the skin. Research indicates that microdermabrasion has a positive effect on improving acne.

D. Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics have been used to treat acne for over 40 years. Their anti-inflammatory properties are effective in improving acne. Your dermatologist may recommend oral antibiotics along with a topical medication.

E. Steroid Injections

Cortisone shots provide relief to inflamed areas of the body. They are sometimes used to treat acne.

Over The Counter Medications

These solutions include medicated cleansers, lotions, creams, gels, and face pads which typically contain acne-fighting ingredients such as: 

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Glycolic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Topical retinoids

These ingredients work by either preventing the plugging of hair follicles, fighting bacteria on the skin, reducing oil production, or exfoliating the top layer of skin.

Home Remedies To Treat Acne

Acne ideally should be treated by a professional. However, an economical approach is to use home remedies. These remedies have traditionally been used by people.

  • Turmeric and honey - Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, which will help shrink the size of the pimple. It also helps remove excess oil from the skin. Honey helps ward off bacteria in a pimple and also has anti-microbial properties. Add 1⁄2 teaspoon of turmeric to 1 tablespoon of honey and mix well. Apply on wet skin and leave on for five minutes. Rinse off with water.
  • Cucumber ice cubes – Add 1 tsp of honey and 1tbsp of lemon juice in a puree of 1 medium size cucumber. Mix well and pour in an ice tray. Refrigerate to make ice cubes. Apply these ice cubes on the affected area every day. 
  • Multani mitti (Fuller's earth) - Multani mitti is a rich source of magnesium chloride, which helps get rid of pimples and prevents breakouts. It is known for being a deep cleanser for the skin and also for removing impurities and dirt particles that can clog our skin pores. Mix 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of multani mitti with water or rose water and leave on your face for 20 minutes. Rinse off.
  • Tea tree oil – This miracle oil is a great home remedy for pimples of every kind: whiteheads, blackhead or cystic acne. Zap the zit by dabbing the oil onto the affected area, morning and at night.
  • Aloe vera gel – Applying aloe gel taken out freshly from an aloe plant or Organic aloe gel (pure, no chemicals added) works well to fight off acne and have good skin.
  • Raw potato juice – Take a fresh potato and wash it well. Crush the potato in a mixer or grate it with a grater to make pulp. Squeeze out the pulp to extract juice. Apply this juice on the affected area, let it dry and then rinse off with cold water. (Please do a patch test on a small skin area before applying on the affected area)
Back to blog