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What is the Cause of Acne on Face?

A chronic inflammatory disease which results in the formation of blackheads, pimples, cyst and nodules is known as acne. Acne usually occurs on the face. Even though acne is not very harmful, it leads bad scars on the face. The pores on the human skin contain oil glands. These glands are connected to the pores with the help of sac like material known as follicles. The follicles are known to release liquid. The oil glands also produce oily liquid known as sebum and the sebum carries the dead cells to the skin’s surface. From the follicle then a small hair grows out on the skin. When these dead skin cells, hair and the sebum get clumped together forming plug. This gives rise to the pimples which after getting infected results in acne.

What is the Cause of Acne on Face?

What is the Cause of Acne on Face?

With the rise in the androgen levels, the acne develops on the skin of the face. Androgen is the hormone whose levels rise up when a child hits his or her adolescence. For women, androgen then changes to estrogen. The estrogen leads to the rise of more oil glands under the surface layer of the skin. These oil glands secrete more sebum which sometimes clots under the skin and gives rise to the growth of the bacteria causing acne on face and elsewhere. The commonly guessed causes for acne on the face are:

  • Sudden hormonal changes
  • Menstruation
  • Greasy and oily cosmetics applied on the oily skin.
  • Increased stress factor.

Acne develops in the areas of the body where there are more amounts of sebaceous glands, like on the face, neck, back, shoulders and chest. If you have pores that are clogged, your face has turned oily since you hit puberty, this is, if the oil production is more, acne can likely develop. The pores get blocked due to a build-up of an oily layer under the skin. While a regular pimple dries off eventually after the plug breaks, acne does not dry off, rather keeps growing and covers more area on the skin than a pimple. Even when the acne dries off with medication, the scars remain on your skin.

The dead cells and the excess sebum rest on the hair follicle and allow the bacteria, propionibacterium acnes to thrive. The plug formed may bulge in and give rise to whiteheads, or bulge out on the surface giving rise to blackheads which turns brown when exposed to the environment. The pimples are the red spots that grow in the middle of the infected area which gets further swollen up. The infection within the skin pushes out on the surface forming lumps on the face.

What Can Worsen the Acne?

Oral contraceptives and things related to pregnancy which results in the hormonal imbalance like less of androgen running through the body may worsen the acne situation. Any kind of corticosteroids or androgen and lithium consumption may worsen the acne growing on your face.

Consuming too much carbohydrates and fatty foods rich in oil and grease like chips may result in the increase of face acne.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2021). Acne. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Acne. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/
  3. WebMD. (2021). Understanding Acne — the Basics. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/understanding-acne-basics
  4. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2020). Acne. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2023

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