What Causes Acne?

What Causes Acne? | St Louis Dermatology | Belleville DermatologistAcne are undesirable blemishes on the face that may occur at any time for a variety of reasons. Although acne break outs typically occur in the younger age, the problem is now becoming increasingly common even among adults. Stubborn acne issues require a customized treatment approach to achieve sustainable results.

The adroit and splendid Dr. Jamie McGinness is a board certified dermatologist and a fellowship trained Mohs surgeon providing cutting edge treatments for acne and various other skin conditions. Dr. McGinness provides acne solutions to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations.


Acne Factors

Four key factors may contribute to the problem of acne:

  • Excess oil production in the skin
  • Dead skin cells
  • Clogged pores
  • Bacteria build-up

Acne commonly appears on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. These sites have the maximum number of sebaceous glands that produce oil. Acne forms when the hair follicles get plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Oil glands and hair follicles are connected. The hair and skin receive lubrication from the secretion of these glands.

This secretion called sebum often travels along the hair shafts and through the hair follicle openings on the skin surface. When the production of sebum becomes excessive, it can combine with dead skin cells to build up in the hair follicles. This creates a soft plug, allowing an environment for bacterial to thrive. Inflammation will occur if the bacteria infect the clogged pores.

The follicle wall may bulge because of the plugged pore, producing a whitehead or a blackhead. Acne appears as raised red spots with a white center, which will develop when infection or inflammation occurs in the blocked hair follicles. Blockages and inflammation that develop deep inside hair follicles produce cyst-like lumps beneath the surface of your skin.


Factors that Aggravate Acne


During puberty, both boys and girls can have an increased production of androgen hormones. This hormone causes enlargement of the sebaceous glands and increases sebum production.


Certain Types of Drugs

Certain medications containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium can worsen acne.



According to several research studies, some dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods may trigger acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of making acne worse. A research study of 14 men with acne showed that eating chocolate was related to an increase in acne.



Increased levels of stress or emotional ups and downs may also have a role in the worsening of acne.


What does not Cause Acne?

Many people are under the misconception that greasy or oily foods, dirty skin, or cosmetics can cause acne. The fact is that eating oily or greasy food has little or no effect on acne. Acne is also not caused by dirt in the skin.

In fact, patients should avoid scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps because skin irritation may worsen acne. In case of cosmetics, it is a poignant idea to choose oil-free makeup to avoid clogging of pores. Profound, accomplished, and board certified dermatologist Dr. McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and other cities and towns in this region of the nation.

If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis, Shiloh, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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