What Are the Causes of Acne?

Acne is a very common skin condition that affects teens and adults alike. The cause of acne outbreaks can vary widely from person to person, often making treatment complex. For many teenagers, fluctuating (and uncontrollable) hormones or diet are the root cause.  For adults, acne is often due to hormone imbalance (such as during pregnancy or menstruation), stress, or poor diet.

When acne appears, it’s largely the result of overproduction in the sebaceous gland. This gland’s responsibility is to produce and release sebum (oil) on the surface of the skin to provide protection and moisture. When the gland produces too much sebum, it causes the skin’s pores to close. Clogged pores then create acne because the skin is unable to “breathe.” This process causes imbalance to the skin’s pH level and leads to an acne outbreak.


Everyone experiences hormonal imbalance at some point in their lives. Imbalance can be caused by weight gain, fatigue, age, depression and more.  Androgen, which is a type of hormone present in both men and women, is often a culprit for acne in adults. In women specifically, androgens are converted into estrogens, which spike and change around menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause.

Environment Factors

The two most important controllable factors for alleviating acne are lifestyle and diet.  

Environmental factors such as air pollution, traveling, chemicals (in hair and skin products), and humidity can clog pores and affect the surface level of skin.  Lifestyle changes -- like properly cleansing your face and body, or reducing stress through exercise and meditation -- can have a big effect on controlling acne breakouts. Nightly face washing before going to bed helps to remove makeup build-up and pollution. Look for products containing vegetable glycerin, as it helps to moisturize, smooth, nourish, heal and maintain water balance. We recommend our Organic Peppermint Facial Toner for added cooling, while cleansing and gently exfoliating the top layer of skin cells.  

Food We Consume - Diet

Diet also plays a big role in acne, as it relates to stress and nutrients in the body. Increase your intake of foods rich in omega 3-fatty acids to reduce inflammation, such as salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts. Antioxidant-rich foods, like berries, also help to reduce inflammation and combat acne breakouts. For beverages, consider drinking green tea instead of coffee, as it’s filled with antioxidants and less caffeine (which can lead to stress and exacerbate existing acne).  Lastly, stay away from sugary snacks that can fuel acne by raising blood sugar levels.

Natural Acne Treatments

To minimize the occurrence of acne naturally, try using a clay mask that helps to draw out impurities and remove dead skin cells.  Multani Mitti with Neem Clay Powder Mask, is a great choice for oily and acne-prone skin as it cleanses, repairs, and helps support a smooth, healthy appearance.

Cleansers for Acne Treatment

Also, wash your face with a gentle cleanser that contains vegetable glycerine, for its anti-aging properties and ability to help prevent premature wrinkles.  Organic Neem and Tulsi Face Wash, is packed with antifungal and antibacterial properties. The salicylic acid in Neem balances oil production and prevents clogged pores, while Tulsi has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that remove impurities and reduce acne outbreaks.   

There is no one factor that causes acne, but there are several ways to reduce or prevent it.  Natural skin care, proper cleansing, healthy food and beverage choices, and stress-reduction exercises can all have a major impact on outbreaks. Choose to treat your skin with natural methods of acne control, and your skin will love you back with a clear, smooth, and naturally-healthy appearance.

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