13 Surprising Reasons of Acne That You Need to Know

Acne is definitely every girl’s nightmare. And as we all know, prevention is better that cure. Thus in this case, being aware of what could be the possible reasons for its very existence is a great and helpful way to be able to avoid it. We may not know it, but the cause could just be anything at all. So, here are the 13 surprising reasons of acne that you need to know so we can have that smooth and fair skin.

1) Stress

One of the primary culprits of acne, and even on other diseases and health conditions is stress. What causes stress? Stress can happen anytime, whether in school, work or at home and in anything, as it appears. Fatigue, not getting enough sleep, missing the last train, getting late for work, and taking exams are just some of the reasons why we get so anxious, worried and can’t seem to move pass it.

We know for a fact that stress manifests in a lot of ways. You can ask your doctor, but the reason why your hair dramatically falls causing hair loss, losing or excessive appetite, and losing sleep is the evident proof of being stressed out.

How does it trigger the development of acne in our skin then? Though you will not see a direct connection between stress and acne, it is however shown on how it triggers the factors that contribute to the development of this acne. When you are faced with these stressful situations, your adrenaline stimulates the oil glands in your body and secrete more oil that causes the acne. Hence, you combat stress to have a positive and healthy lifestyle, and you will not see even the shadows of this acne in your skin.

2) Hair Treatments

Thanks to your favorite shampoo and conditioner, your hair becomes shiny, smooth and silky. But could it be possible that it is the one causing you acne? As what skin experts say, one cause of pimples and breakouts are the chemicals we apply to our skin. Most hair products are loaded with oil and conditioning agents that when rinsed and touches your face will irritate your skin. Other ingredients found in our shampoo and conditioners that could contribute to the growth of zits are silicones, jojoba oil, and shea butter.

Since not washing and cleaning our hair is not an option, you can use organic products as it has more natural ingredients. You can use salicylic-based shampoo at least once a week to balance the oils in both face and scalp.

3) Cellphones

We carry it wherever we go, literally that many of us would immediately freak out when we lose sight of it. And perhaps that becomes the reason why it is now one of the causes of having acne and pimples. As we conveniently place it anywhere and unmindfully hold it with our filthy hands, the bacteria are having a field day in your cellphones. And we know that bacteria are one prime cause of acne. Every time we answer our phone, we allow them to get in contact with our skin.

While that can’t be helped, we can, however, do our best to avoid our cellphones from causing this acne by:

  • We can start by wiping our cellphones every day with a microfiber cloth to wipe off the dirt and bacteria.
  • Instead of answering by putting it directly to your ear, you can use earphones to take calls to avoid contact with skin.
  • If answering using earphones is not possible, don’t press it too much on your skin when holding it to your ear.
  • And lastly but not the list, clean it with a product that has anti-acne ingredients like salicylic acid.

4) Pillow Sheets and Blankets

Not that this means not using pillow sheets and blankets when you sleep to avoid acne, but not changing it regularly can do so. The dust, oil, and dirt that dwell on it are a huge contributor of acne and pimples. And since pillows are directly in contact with your face, it is important to keep it immaculately clean all the time to avoid this from happening.

It is called acne mechanics, which is a type of acne formed from transferring of these oil, dirt, and dust from any object or materials in contact with your face directly to your skin. And this dirt clogs the pores which result to blemishes and pimples. It is therefore not because of the fabric or material of your pillows and blankets that may irritate your skin, as some people suggest, though it could be true to those with highly sensitive skin.

5) Use of Makeups

Makeup without a doubt is one of every girls’ best friend to keep them confidently beautiful and presentable wherever they go and whoever they’re meeting with. It has become an everyday staple used when going to work, parties or merely just hanging out with friends. There are even different kinds of makeup used to match various occasions. And it is also used as an effective cover-up for tired, baggy eyes, scars, dark spots and even breakouts and zits.

But while it does a marvelous job in making our face blushed, vibrant and pretty, ironically it causes acne too. In fact, it even has a name called acne cosmetics, which usually develops on the chin and cheeks. This happens because of the harmful chemicals that are added in the manufacturing of these cosmetics that irritates your skin and clogs the pores. Excessive use also results to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

Because I know it is hard to stop using it, you can give your skin a favor and avoid the growth of acne by wearing only minimal makeup, and read the labels to make sure you choose makeup that are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. Don’t forget to clean your brushes regularly as well and most importantly, don’t sleep on it.

6) Poor Diet

We are what we eat. True enough, whatever we take into our body has the massive effect on our health and skin. Several studies suggest that with our skin being the reflection of our total body health, there is certain food that when eaten especially in excess will lead to rashes, blemishes, and breakouts.

Examples of these foods are:

a) High in sugar

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When you are eating chocolates, pastries, candies and other sweets, your insulin level is increased. Research shows that insulin plays a role in the growth of acne. This is measured by the glycemic index that with a rise of glucose in your blood stream, it leads to inflammation and elevates the hormones that boost the activity of the oil glands that cause acne.

b) Dairy

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There are yet to be proved about the cause and effect relationship between dairy and acne. However possibilities and several theories backed by testimonials have emerged that shows there could be a connection. Milk contains components that are related to testosterone hormones that may stimulate oil glands in the skin, thus causes acne. That being said, the cause and effect are still unclear. But for the time being, as some people who tried swear by it, you can cut out your intake and see it for yourself.

c) Fats

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The fatty acids in the food support inflammation and cause acne and worsen it as well. Thus to get that beautiful smooth skin, you may need to say bye-bye to those greasy and fatty foods for a while.

7) Picking Your Pimples

Pimples are a pore that has been inflamed and like whiteheads and blackheads is caused by acne bacteria. Picking your pimples, thus causes these acne bacteria to go deeper into the skin. One thing we have to understand however is that a pimple is not inflamed by bacteria but by the immune system.

When the immune system senses acne bacteria in the skin, it will fight it off by secreting chemicals called cytokines, which would destroy it and the skin cells surrounding it at the same time, thus causing the itch, or pain in a pimple. We can, therefore, conclude that without the defense of the immune system, there will be no acne.

By squeezing it, however, does not take off all the bacteria from it, and will be covered once new skin grows. When this happens, it will not be reached by the antibacterial medications you put, but immune system will continue to fight it off and secretes the same chemical, and the same process takes place. These bacteria may retaliate by secreting chemicals that will cause the skin cells around it more prone to the inflammation.

Picking pimples destroy the pore’s first line of defense from bacteria that may be in contact with your skin. It can also kill the cells responsible for making triglycerides, which breaks down into fatty acid that can dissolve acne bacteria.

8) Smoking

Adding to the long list of the harmful effects of smoking is the development of acne in your skin. Most smokers are more prone to non-inflammatory acne, which is also called comedones that block pores and trapped the sebum (oil) and bacteria in the skin that causes infection. This also refers to the blackheads and whiteheads we often found in our body. Researchers also found out that smoking reduces Vitamin E, a source of antioxidants, which causes the growth of bacterial infection that also triggers acne.

Numbers don’t lie, as studies show 42 percent or about majority of smokers developed acne as compared to non-users. Other than that, the fact that smoking is bad for your health is more than enough reason to quit.

9) Harsh Detergents

Some detergents used when we wash our clothes contain active chemicals that can harm your skin. And by not rinsing them thoroughly enough, some of its residues are left on your clothes that can get in contact with your skin and cause irritations leading to pimples and acne.

It is mostly the fragrant detergents and fabric conditioners that have high amount of the synthetic ingredients that cause these. Thus it is better to choose those that are fragrant free soaps to avoid damaging your skin and may create a much bigger problem. You can also go natural and opt for those without chemical contents.

10) Face scrubs

With all the intention of making your skin smooth and soft, it might be that you are reversing the effect and instead of damaging and irritating it. The use of facial scrubs is one prime example. Most of it is made to be strong that it causes redness, skin irritations and sensitivity, and inflammation.

The facial scrub is supposed to exfoliate our skin and remove the dryness and dead skin cells to make it smooth. But what we don’t know that some of these actually contain ingredients such as apricot and walnut seed that instead of cleaning our skin, creates tiny cuts that allow the bacteria to get in, hence the appearance of blemishes, pimples, and acne.

Exfoliating our skin is important and necessary. But make sure that the next time you scrub your face, choose those that have no harmful ingredients such as apricot, shells or mica and emulsifiers that may damage your skin instead of making it brand new.

11) Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil is no stranger to many of us as it is widely used as an ingredient in some skin and hair products and often called also as liquid petroleum or paraffin oil. We have grown to use it as a moisturizer to the skin. However, new studies show that contrary to our belief, the use of this mineral oil actually causes pimples and acne. But how is it possible? My sentiments, exactly.

Experts explained that use of mineral oil clogs pores, as it is considered as a comedogenic, thus making your skin prone to acne and blackheads. As stated, even the highest grade of this, which is the pharmaceutical grade can still trap those impurities in your skin, and cause breakouts

Another reason is, it may be contaminated with toxins. As it is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum, even the cosmetic grade, which is purified for use in cosmetics, may still be contaminated that could affect our health. This however, still require a more thorough and in-depth research to back up such claim.

But the fact is, mineral oil, regardless of how the labels claim to be of help in improving our skin, actually has no real benefits as it practically just sits on the surface when applied and only works on keeping our skin from losing moisture. But with the on-going debate about it, there are many other options that are safer and guaranteed to provide plenty of benefits.

12) Use of Tanning Beds

This one may be a surprising addition to the list considering some people actually go to tanning beds with the goal of decreasing their acne and pimples because it is believed that the UV rays dry up pimples. But research contradicts that as opposed to prior reports, the use of tanning bed may do more harm than good.

For one, tanning beds is a place where bacteria grow because it is used by many different people. Once these bacteria come in contact with your skin, it causes acne or worst even infection. Expects even warns users that regular use of these tanning beds may lead to skin cancer.

The thick and oily sunscreens that are used during tanning may clog your pores, which as we all know is one major cause of breakouts and acne. By using noncomedogenic sunscreens may, however, reduce the risk of this.

It is also advised that those who have acne and into medication should not use tanning booths as some ingredients on these medications such as antibiotics make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays, which will have some side effects such as peeling an redness of the skin.

13) Excessive Use of Benzoyl Peroxide

We are all familiar with the fact the benzoyl peroxide is one of the treatments for acne because it destroys the bacteria that causes it. Aside from that, it helps reduce oiliness and as it appears, also can unblock your skin pores. However, like most things, excessive use can lead to counter effects or worse.

These side effects may vary though. Some may notice their skin to dry out and becomes very flaky. Other times, it causes the skin to get irritated and can lead to premature aging. And for long term use, it will result to wrinkles, which are all the opposite of what you would expect it to do to your skin. It may also worsen your acne problem if you are allergic to this. Thus, it is important to take precaution and take dermatologist’s advice regarding the right amount of use of this ingredient.


So did you find this list helpful? Did you enjoy reading it? Acne can be a really pesky and irritating, to say the least. And sometimes, it will just come out of nowhere, without you knowing what could be the underlying reasons. Hence this list comes in handy.

But what do you think about it? Do you have any more possible causes we could add on the list? Tell us about it in the comment section below. And if you find this article interesting, please feel free to share.