What Causes Acne? The Top Five Culprits

Are you suffering from acne? Do not worry, you are not alone. At least 85 percent of the population is suffering from it, too.

If you want to get rid of your acne, the first step is to determine its root cause. This article will help you identify what it is. Here are the top five reasons that cause acne:

The P. acnes Bacteria

The primary cause of acne is the Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes. These bacteria thrive in clogged pores due to the overproduction of sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells.

As soon as they irritate your clogged pores, your immune system will respond immediately by concentrating on the infected area.

This would then cause that part of your skin to swell and redden to prevent the bacteria from spreading. A pimple forms as a result.

Unless treated, the P. acnes would spread across the other clogged pores, leading to the spread of acne on your skin.

The most severe cases of acne caused by this bacteria can be treated using prescription antibiotics taken orally and applied topically.

Increase in the Hormones Androgens and Testosterone

When you hit puberty, it is normal for your body to boost its production of the sex hormones androgens, testosterone, and estrogen.

These hormones, however, are also responsible for triggering the sebaceous glands in your pores to produce even more sebum.

For some teenagers, too much sebum can cause the pores to become blocked, which in turn will attract the P. acnes bacteria.

Of course, hormonal surges do not occur in teens alone for some adults also experience acne because of the hormonal changes they experience.

Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

Aside from the sex hormones androgens, testosterone, and estrogen, there is another hormone that can cause acne. It is called cortisol.

This hormone is also known as the stress hormone, because your adrenal glands produce it whenever the brain senses that it is under threat.

Cortisol not only causes inflammation, but also stimulates the sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum. Therefore, it can cause you to develop pimples.

We all experience different levels of stress every day, but when you are stressed most of the time, then your skin will become more susceptible to developing acne.


If at least one of your parents or family members had or still has acne, then you are also more likely to develop it.

Your genes direct how your immune system reacts to certain types of bacteria, including P. acnes. This is why some people never experienced getting acne, while other tend to develop pimples easily.

Aside from that, your genes are also naturally in control of the hormonal levels in your body, particularly the sex hormones.

If coupled with an unhealthy diet and overall lifestyle, then severely fluctuating hormonal levels may be aggravated. The acne may even be a symptom of an underlying hormonal problem.

As a matter of fact, your genes are even responsible for dictating the types of pimples that would develop on your skin.

For instance, if your father had experienced cystic acne in particular when he was younger, then it is likely that you would as well.

High Vitamin B Intake

Perhaps the most interesting reason why you have acne is due to the high level of vitamin B in your body.

Vitamin B is an essential nutrient naturally found in eggs, dairy products, meat, and fish. The body needs this vitamin to maintain a healthy brain and nervous system.

However, too much of it can trigger the formation of acne. According to a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, excess Vitamin B triggers the P. acnes to emit porphyrin, an inflammatory compound that triggers and aggravates acne.


Now that you know the five main causes of acne, can you tell which one is most likely causing yours? By identifying the cause, you can then take the steps necessary to eliminating it.

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