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What Caused Your Acne Breakout?

What Caused Your Acne Breakout?


Acne breakouts are a common skincare problem that can interrupt your plans and damage your otherwise healthy skin! On TV shows and movies, acne is most commonly associated with teenagers, but pimple breakouts can also become a problem for many people later into adulthood.

Ask around in your circle of friends and it’s likely you will find at least a few people suffering from acne in their mid to late 20s or 30s. 

But what exactly causes acne breakouts? Do certain products or skincare regimes actually make your acne worse? By learning what causes acne breakouts, we have a better chance of making good skincare decisions that will improve the condition of acne in the future.

In this article, we look at each acne cause individually and some of the available options to treat acne breakouts. 

Genetic Factors

Research has shown that genetics play a significant role in the development of acne breakouts and studies into genetics and acne have found that acne is at least in part caused by hereditary traits. 

So for example, if your parents had acne, there is a higher chance you will experience acne breakouts yourself. Here are a few of the genetic causes linked to acne breakouts.

Excess Oil Production

Your genetics influence how much oil your skin produces. If you have oily skin you are more likely to suffer acne breakouts because excess oil can clog your pores, causing spots and pimples to occur.

Skin Cell Regeneration 

Skin cells naturally renew themselves, but the rate at which they renew varies from person to person. Age is a main factor, with young people’s skin cells renewing more often. 

The rate of skin renewal slows down as we age, so people in their 20s or 30s will have a slower rate of cell turnover than those in their teens. Genetics also play a part in the rate of skin cell regeneration, and slow shedding can result in dead skin cells building up and clogging pores.

Hormone Regulation 

Genetic factors can influence your hormone levels and how they fluctuate in the body. Hormones, particularly androgens, can increase oil production, and increase the chances of acne breakouts.

Lifestyle Influences

What you eat, your stress levels and the local environment you live in can all impact your skin. Some lifestyle choices can unintentionally make acne breakouts worse. Here is an overview of the main lifestyle influences that can impact the severity of acne breakouts.  


Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) increase blood sugar levels and are linked to increased acne severity. Hgh-GI foods are known to contribute to increased insulin levels. Studies have shown that insulin levels affect metabolic processes in different organs, including sebaceous glands in the skin which can stimulate higher levels of oil production.

Common high-GI foods include white bread, sugary breakfast cereals, white rice, potatoes and sweets. Dairy products have also been linked with increasing acne breakouts. 

A balanced diet with less high-GI foods could help to reduce the severity of acne breakouts. 


While stress doesn’t cause acne on its own, it can definitely make it worse. According to Healthline, studies have shown that if you already have acne, stress does make it worse. 

Researchers have found that wounds, including acne, are much slower in healing when a person is under stress. When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that can increase oil production in your skin. 

Environmental factors

You may not have considered how the world around you can contribute to the severity of outbreaks, but there are more than a few elements that impact our skin. 

Natural environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, sun exposure, and air pollution can clog your pores. Exposure to certain chemicals or oils, especially in industrial or urban areas can also make acne flare up worse.

Routines and Ineffective Treatments

Even with the best intentions, the wrong skincare routine can end up making acne breakouts worse. For example, people with oily skin sometimes, understandably, wash their face too often in an attempt to control their acne. This can have a detrimental effect as the skin can become stripped of natural oils and the body produces more oil to replace the oil that has been lost. 

Exfoliants have a rough texture and using them too often or too vigorously on the skin will not improve the situation. It can aggravate the skin causing redness, sometimes even causing tiny tears in the skin and inflaming acne breakouts. 

It is also important not to use skincare products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid excessively because this can weaken the skin's protective layer, cause your skin to become dry and irritated, and cause additional breakouts.

The best tip is to make sure to read labels and select gentle skincare and makeup products that are less likely to block pores. 

Effective Acne Management

Now that you know what causes acne, here are some tips for managing it. Stick to a gentle skincare routine with cleansing, moisturizing, and targeted treatments, avoiding over-washing and harsh exfoliants. Consider targeted acne products such as the Tarel Mangostin+ Vector Patch which can reach blind acne before it breaks out with over 90 per cent delivery efficiency to the target area. 

This targeted approach ensures you are treating the right areas, and don’t overdo skincare processes that can dry out skin or cause other issues. 

To help manage and control acne breakouts, you should also try to maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and watch out for any foods that seem to trigger your acne so you can avoid them. Where possible, find ways to reduce stress, such as exercising, meditating, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. 

In short, acne is a tricky condition with many causes, including genetics, lifestyle, and skincare routines. By understanding these factors and making smart choices, you can manage your acne more effectively so you enjoy healthier skin. 

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