Today’s blog is a guest post by Cassie Brewer, a freelance writer and beauty enthusiast based in California. In this article she looks at the underlying causes of acne. 


Does this scenario sound familiar? Before bed, you remove your makeup, cleanse your face, apply your skincare regimen of serums, toners, and creams, and snuggle up between the sheets to get your 8 hours (if you’re lucky) of precious beauty sleep. The next morning, you hop out of bed to discover the beginnings of a monster zit. What gives? How did that sucker pop up? It wasn’t there the night before!

Dealing with unsightly blemishes is frustrating. Irritations are hard to cover, and you end up going through your day feeling self conscious, wondering if everyone is staring at the angry pore on your face. Truly, acne can wreak havoc on even the most confident individual’s self esteem. But the first step to dealing with a problem is understanding its underlying causes.

I’m here to debunk common myths about what causes blemishes, discover where whiteheads come from, and provide tips on acne solutions.

A Hairy Situation

Acne is actually a common disease of the hair follicles of the face (or chest, back, other affected body part). There is no single cause; hence, there is no universal solution. Acne can present itself as red, irritated zits, occluded pores (also referred to as “comedones,” hence many beauty products listing the claim “noncomedogenic” on their labels), cysts, or even boils.

Common Causes

Acne’s causes–like the individual it affects–differ depending on the case. I’ve outlined some of the most common culprits:

Hormones–This is the biggest offender! During puberty (and sometimes later in your twenties) your body is producing hormones known as androgens. These hormones activate your oil glands and cause them to swell to a larger size. This is true of both sexes, but especially true for ladies dealing with their monthly cycles. (That’s often why women get large zits during menstruation. Talk about a raw deal!)

How do you determine if your acne is hormonal? Most dermatologists advise you to look toward the location of your blemishes. If the breakouts mainly appear around the lower half of your face, the chin, jawline, and mouth, it’s probably a hormonal issue. Women are more likely than men to suffer from adult, hormonal acne. And the solutions can include salicylic acid treatments, retinol, and/or birth control.

Genetics — Many experts agree that their is a hereditary component to acne. Take a good look at one (or both) of your parents, and chances are, you have similar skin issues. Knowing this can alleviate feelings of embarrassment or guilt. Breakouts aren’t your fault; they happen to the best of us.

Bacteria— Although bacteria doesn’t necessarily cause breakouts by itself (everyone has it, and some of the bacteria is good), a clogged pore with an overproduction of sebum can cause buildup and blemishes. Therefore, it’s more important to deal with the clogged pores. Then, the bacteria will sort itself out.

All the harsh disinfectants in the world won’t work if your pores are backed up. Ask your dermatologist about the aforementioned treatments, try exfoliation, and consider natural solutions like tea tree oil.

Irritating makeup — This one is true for most women, whether they’ll admit it or not. Therefore, try to purchase hypoallergenic brands.

So what do you say readers? What’s your acne story… and what treatments help you keep your blemishes at bay? Sound off in the comments.

Cassie Brewer is a freelance writer and beauty enthusiast in California. Having struggled with acne for much of her teenage years, this is a subject she is passionate about and enjoys helping others feel confident. Visit her website here:


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