Understanding the Causes of Acne and Empowering Your Skin's Health

woman looking in mirror touching her face inspecting for acne breakouts


Acne breakouts can be a frustrating and distressing experience for many individuals, affecting people of all ages. While commonly associated with adolescence, acne can persist into adulthood and have a significant impact on self-esteem and quality of life. 

Understanding the underlying causes of acne breakouts is essential for effective management and achieving clearer, healthier skin. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the multifaceted causes of acne and explore a range of treatments and lifestyle modifications that can support your overall health and help limit acne breakouts. 

By adopting a holistic approach to skincare and addressing the root causes, you can take proactive steps towards achieving the radiant, blemish-free skin you desire.

Understanding the Causes of Acne

Hormonal Imbalances and Fluctuations

Hormonal imbalances play a significant role in the development of acne. 

During puberty, hormonal changes stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to clogged pores and the formation of acne lesions. 

Specifically androgens, a group of hormones including testosterone, are primarily responsible for this oil production increase. 

Similarly, hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause can trigger acne breakouts. In such cases, the increase in androgen hormones can prompt the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil, paving the way for acne-causing bacteria to thrive. 

Hormonal acne typically presents as deep, cystic lesions along the jawline, chin, and sometimes the cheeks.

Genetic Predisposition

Research suggests that acne can have a hereditary component. If your parents or close relatives have a history of acne, you may be more susceptible to experiencing breakouts. 

Certain genetic variations can affect the way your skin responds to hormones, sebum production, and the inflammatory response. 

However, genetics alone do not guarantee the development of acne. Environmental and lifestyle factors can also influence acne severity. If you have a family history of severe acne, it may be beneficial to take extra precautions to maintain a healthy skincare routine and address potential triggers.

Lifestyle Factors

Your lifestyle choices can significantly impact the health of your skin and the occurrence of acne breakouts. 

Factors such as diet, stress levels, and hygiene practices can influence the frequency and severity of acne. Consuming a diet high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and dairy products has been linked to an increased risk of acne. These foods have a high glycemic index, leading to elevated insulin levels that can contribute to inflammation and sebum production. 

Additionally, stress can trigger hormonal imbalances and exacerbate inflammation, leading to acne flare-ups. 

Perhaps counterintuitive, poor skincare habits, such as over-exfoliation and using harsh astringent skincare products, can disrupt the skin's natural balance and trigger an increase in sebum production, contributing to an increase in acne breakouts.

External Influences

External factors, including environmental pollutants and comedogenic substances, can worsen acne. 

Exposure to air pollution, cigarette smoke, and certain chemicals can irritate the skin, increase oil production, and promote bacterial growth. 

Moreover, the use of heavy, pore-clogging (comedogenic) cosmetics and skincare products can contribute to the formation of acne. 

It is essential to choose non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested products that are suitable for your skin type to minimize the risk of acne breakouts. Regularly cleanse your skin to remove dirt, excess oil, and pollutants that can clog pores.

Supporting Your Overall Health to Limit Acne Breakouts

Adopting a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can positively impact your skin's health and help reduce acne breakouts. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support skin health and reduce inflammation. 

Avoid high-glycemic index foods, such as sugary snacks, processed carbohydrates, and greasy fast food, as they can increase insulin levels and promote inflammation. Excessive caffeine and alcohol also increase inflammation in the body – and the skin – and may lead to hormone imbalances that contribute to acne breakouts. 

Additionally, studies have shown a possible link between dairy consumption and acne, so consider reducing your intake or opting for non-dairy alternatives. 

It's important to note that individual responses to specific foods may vary, so pay attention to how your skin reacts to different dietary choices. You may consider keeping a food journal to see how your skin responds to certain foods in order to identify your personal triggers. 

Prioritizing Stress Management

Chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance and exacerbate acne breakouts. 

Engage in stress-reducing activities like regular exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or any hobbies you enjoy that decrease your stress levels. 

Exercise not only helps reduce stress but also improves blood circulation, which can promote healthier skin. 

Prioritizing quality sleep is also crucial for maintaining healthy skin, as it allows the body to repair and regenerate. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine and aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. 

Additionally, consider incorporating stress-reducing techniques like yoga or mindfulness meditation into your daily routine.

Establishing a Consistent Skincare Routine

Adopting a gentle and consistent skincare routine can help manage acne breakouts. Frownies Skincare Basics set contains five skincare products suitable for every skintype, including oily or acne-prone skin.

Cleanse your face twice a day with a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser, such as Frownies pH Balanced Face Wash, to remove excess oil, dirt, and bacteria. 

Protect your skin’s natural protective barrier with Frownies Rose Water Hydrator

Frownies Apple Stem Cell Serum promotes cell turnover, healing, and collagen production for a bright and clear complexion.

Moisturize your skin with a non-comedogenic moisturizers including Frownies Aloe and Oat Gel Moisturizer and Frownies Skin Serum to maintain hydration without clogging pores. 

As a bonus, regular, gentle exfoliation with Frownies Blue-Green Algae Face Mask can also help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, but be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive exfoliation can irritate the skin.

Protecting Your Skin from External Aggressors

Shielding your skin from environmental pollutants and harmful UV radiation is crucial for preventing acne breakouts and maintaining overall skin health. 

Use a SPF of 30 or higher every day on your face, even during cloudy weather. 

To minimize exposure to pollutants, cleanse your skin thoroughly in the evening and consider using antioxidant-rich products that neutralize free radicals. 

It's also important to keep your bedding, towels, and phone screens clean, as they can harbor bacteria and contribute to acne breakouts.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If over-the-counter treatments and lifestyle modifications do not effectively manage your acne, consider consulting a dermatologist. 

Dermatologists can provide personalized advice and prescribe medications, such as topical or oral antibiotics, for severe cases of acne breakouts.

A dermatologist will evaluate your skin condition, identify any underlying causes or triggers, and recommend suitable treatment options based on your specific needs.

In addition to a dermatologist, other medical professionals are able to assess specific hormonal imbalances and underlying sensitivities and triggers that may be contributing to acne breakouts. 


Acne breakouts can have a significant impact on your confidence and overall well-being. 

By understanding the multifaceted causes of acne and implementing effective strategies to support your overall health, you can empower your skin to limit acne breakouts and achieve a clearer, healthier complexion. 

Remember that consistency and patience are key when it comes to skincare. 

By adopting a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, stress management, a consistent skincare routine, protection from external aggressors, and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can take control of your acne journey and pave the way to radiant, blemish-free skin.

If you want support in establishing healthy skincare habits, join Frownies' Confident in Your Skin Challenge!

Shop Frownies' simple, natural, and effective Skincare Basics Set here.


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1 comment

Very informative article, a must read for everyone experiencing acne breakouts. Great point about using non-comedogenic products as they clog pores and exacerbate acne breakouts. Good Job!

Dr.Tina Skin Solutionz

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