No matter the age, acne can be devastating to self-esteem. In one of our previous guest posts, Face Reality Acne Clinic president Patrick Romani points out how acne comes with emotional chains that can significantly hamper a person’s social acumen.

If you’re suffering from it now, the first step to getting rid of it is educating yourself. The more you know about what causes acne, the easier it will be for you and your esthetician to figure out the best acne treatment for you.

If you want to check out some amazing Acne treatments and results, feel free to check out our most recent winners in the acne category of The Skin Games here.

Starting, Changing or Stopping Birth Control Medication

The synthetic hormones found in birth control drugs can and will affect the production of acne. During the chemical changes necessary to prevent fertilization, either through halting egg production or altering the uterine lining, birth control pills also significantly lower the body’s circulation of androgens and sebum production — both key factors in acne development. The U.S. Food and Drug administration even has a list of approved birth control brands that have been tested to be safe and effective in improving cases of acne.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

While conversations around PCOS often revolve around how it enlarges the ovaries and affects reproductive health, hormonal imbalance is at the core of this condition. “Women with PCOS have higher than normal levels of androgens in their system,” details Parsley Health’s Dr. Robin Berzin in a discussion on hormonal acne. ”

This is why acne, when paired with a number of other symptoms, such as an irregular menstrual cycle, serves as a strong indicator of the syndrome.” This way, acne may actually serve as an early way to detect and begin early intervention for more serious conditions.

Hidden Causes of Acne Your Esthetician Can Help With

Smoking

There are many conflicting studies on whether or not smoking directly affects acne. However, what doctors and researchers can agree on is that smoking contributes to skin aging and constricts the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin. This is why although there have been no conclusive results confirming that smoking leads to or exacerbates acne, the general consensus is that it’s a possibility.

Untreated Stress

The more stress cultivates in your mind, the more it causes the release of cortisol, the “fight” hormone that also prompts the production of testosterone as well as oil on the skin. This can make the skin ripe for bacterial infections and breakouts, which in turn cause emotional stress —an unhealthy cycle that exacerbates both stress and the acne itself. Medical Daily advises mitigating your stress levels through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or good old exercise. Physical activity also lets you sweat out impurities and helps to unclog your pores.

Using the Wrong Skincare Products

Ignore how skincare products are being marketed. Instead, focus on the ingredients on the label. Before you try salicylic acid peels to get rid of blackheads, or topical glycolic acid solutions to break down the oil in clogged pores, consult a professional.

A licensed esthetician considers every square inch of skin on your body before recommending any products to get rid of acne and other imperfections. If the do-it-yourself approach to finding skincare products is causing breakouts on your face, it’s time to take a closer look at the label and give your esthetician a call. This applies not just for peels, cleaners, and toners, but for sunscreens, moisturizers, and other skincare products as well.

Acne Causes - Dairy

Foods that Cause Acne? – Sugar, Dairy, or Gluten

Much like smoking, the connections shared between acne and a diet that consists of sugar, dairy, or gluten are unclear. However, Women’s Health Magazine argues that these foods can cause breakouts in people who already have acne. Although scientists still can’t tell us exactly why, this “high-glycemic index diet” has been linked to acne or other inflammatory responses in the skin.

Invisible Dirt and Grime

Anything that touches your face could be depositing dirt and prompting inflammation in your pores. Smartphones are notoriously lively cesspools of various bacteria. Deceptively clean-smelling but actually dirty bed sheets may also be a culprit.

Another culprit are yoga mats, which tend to not smell at all but also catch nearly every bit of sweat that drips off you in class. If you’ve crossed off every item above and are still suffering from breakouts, re-examine what objects in your life regularly make contact with the parts of your skin that have acne. When it comes to skincare, a little basic hygiene can go a long way.