What Causes Acne?

Why am I breaking out?

What causes acne for you may be different that what causes acne for your friends. You see- acne comes in many types and forms and acne symptoms differ from person to person.

You may suddenly have a breakout, or you may have chronic acne. You may have bad acne or cystic acne, or you might just suffer from skin breakouts with stress or only have clogged pores.

Women may have have clear skin most of the month and you get acne suddenly before your period (menstruation) or with pregnancy.

Men may have clear skin until they shave and suddenly get pimples after shaving.

Understanding what causes acne will help you treat and prevent comedones and pimples - regardless of why you have acne and what is causing it.

Getting on the correct skin care for your Baumann Skin Type and using it consistently is the best way to cure acne.

We can help you find the best acne products for your Baumann Skin Type from many brands and we can help you find a doctor near you for acne treatments when necessary.

Not sure if you need a dermatologist?- click here to learn how to know if you need one.

Acne Definition

Acne is an inflammatory condition of the hair follicle that results in clogged pores, pimples, papules, pustules and acne cysts.

What are the 3 Causes Acne?

Acne is a skin disorder in the hair follicle. What causes acne to occur in the hair follicle?

  1. Oil glands produce too much sebum.
  2. Abnormal shedding of skin cells clogs pores
  3. Overgrowth of acne causing bacteria

Sebum can contain components that cause inflammation or that allow acne-causing bacteria to flourish.

Sebum can also interfere with desquamation of dead skin cells. Abnormal desquamation of skin cells clogs pores .

The pores (hair follicles) become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, dirt, comedogenic skin care ingredients, sunscreen and makeup. Clogged pores are called “comedones”.

What skin bacteria causes acne?

The bacteria that causes acne is Cutibacterium acnes.

C. acnes bacteria activates the Toll like receptor - 2 and causes inflammation. (Retinoids block activation of the TLR-2)


What is the hard white stuff in a pimple?

When the pores clog with dead skin cells, bacteria move in.

The bacteria releases inflammatory factors that make pus.

The white stuff in pimples is a mixture of:

  • dead skin cells
  • bacteria
  • sebum
  • inflammatory factors
  • immune cells
  • wound fluid
  • Can acne be caused by something internal?

    Acne is often caused by internal issues such as

  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Male hormones like testosterone
  • Diet (dairy and sugar)
  • Stress (increases cortisol hormone levels)
  • Impaired microbiome on skin
  • Inflammation
  • Skin Care Habits That Worsen Acne

  • Using wrong moisturizer leading to dehydration
  • Over-exfoliation
  • Using Comedogenic ingredients in skin care
  • Touching skin with dirty fingernails
  • Using too many acidic products
  • Dermaplaning
  • Picking skin
  • Using a pore clogging cleanser
  • Digging hair out with tweezers
  • Skin purging from retinoids

  • How do I know if hormones are causing my acne?

    How to Treat Acne?

    Your acne will get better much faster if you use an acne skin care routine personalized for your Baumann Skin Type.

    To treat acne you need to:

  • Hydrate if dry
  • Soothe inflammation
  • Clear pores
  • Inhibit toll like receptor 2 (TLR-2) with retinoids
  • Turn on retinoic acid receptors with retinoids
  • Normalize desquamation

  • The best way to treat acne is make sure you are shopping by your Baumann Skin Type.

    How long do acne treatments take to work?

    Acne treatments take at least 8 weeks to work- assuming you are on the correct skin care routine.

    You can read here why you cannot clear acne fast.

    Acne Skin Care Products and Treatments

    Acne treatment products should be chosen based on which issues are causing your acne.

    These are the 4 main issues that cause acne and the skin care products to target these issues.

    1. Acne products that decrease oil production

    No topical skin care products can decrease oil production. However, oil production can be reduced internally. Read more about that here.

    Oily skin types can use a salicylic acid (SA) cleanser in the morning or a SA toner to can penetrate through the oil to clean out pores. Oily types can use a foaming cleanser at night to remove excess oil from the skin. if you have dry skin, salicylic acid may be too drying for your skin.

    Choose a cleanser based on your Baumann Skin Type, because most people choose the wrong cleanser which can make it hard for you to use acne treatment products such as benzoyl peroxide and retinoids without getting side effects. The cleansers and moisturizers in your acne skin care routine will dramatically affect how well you tolerate any acne treatments.

    2. Acne products that unclog pores

    If you have comedones (clogged pores) make sure you avoid skin care products with comedogenic ingredients.

    Salicylic acid (SA) cleans out clogged pores by removing the dead skin cells and sebum. Retinoids regulate the process of cells flaking off the skin helping to prevent clogging of the pores. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne causing bacteria that cause clogged pores.

    These skin care products to clear clogged pores can lead to dryness and flaking of the skin but are an important part of acne treatment. It may be necessary to skip 1-3 days of these pore unclogging skin care products if the skin becomes dry and irritated. These pore clearing ingredients might not be right for your Baumann Skin Type- especially if you have dry or easily inflamed skin. Make sure you shop for acne products using your Baumann Skin Type.


    3. Acne products to decrease bacteria-

    These treatments decrease acne bacteria:

    • oral antibiotics
    • topical antibiotics
    • benzoyl peroxide (BP)
    • topical (Not oral!) silver
    • blue light

    The bacteria that causes acne reproduces every 18 hours, so an antibacterial acne treatment should be used twice a day.

    Your skin care routine needs an acne treatment product such as these below in your am and your pm skin care routine.

    4. Antioxidants

    Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals that are caused by porphyrins made by C. acnes bacteria.  Some antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory abilities that can calm inflammation in the hair follicle.

    What is the Best Skin Care Routine for Acne?

    The acne skin care routine should be customized for you because it depends upon these issues:

    Knowing your Baumann Skin Type is the best way to get a personalized skin care routine to treat acne properly.

    Follow the instructions exactly every day. Your acne should improve in 8 weeks.

    If you do not see improvement after 8 weeks or have cystic acne, find a STS approved medical provider to help you get your acne under control.

    Your acne may seem to get worse in the first month, which many people refer to as skin purging. The skin purge occurs because the retinoids are speeding up the acne cycle and bringing pimples that you would have gotten anyway to the surface of the skin.

    You can come ask us questions on social media. We will guide you towards healthy skin!

    Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

    Comments 0

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

      1 out of ...