What Causes Acne

What Causes Acne, Pimples and Blackheads?

  When acne strikes, it can feel like the end of the world. Finding a quick fix might be your sole focus, but it’s important to understand what might be causing your breakout. Getting to the root of your acne is the best and safest way to clear your skin.


Acne is usually the result of excessively blocked pores.

There are four main factors that can block your pores and cause an acne breakout. Let’s take a look at them:

What Causes Acne


Puberty is one of the biggest acne causes.
Acne forms, and becomes worse, when your body produces higher volumes of sebum than before and you aren’t able to regularly clear your pores.




When too many dead skin cells travel to your pores on the surface of your skin, they can clump together to clog your pores and appear as a pimple.




More severe acne occurs when bacteria also becomes trapped with sebum in your pores.

Bacteria can cause inflammation and redness and can lead to the formation of painful cysts under the skin.

Cysts are lumps which, like pimples, contain pus, however, they don’t form a head on the outside of the skin. Try to avoid touching your face, remember to regularly change your pillowcase and clean your phone screen to avoid contamination.




If you have oily skin, the excess oil on the surface of your skin can also block pores and cause acne.

If you have combination skin, you may have acne prone skin in the oilier areas of your face – typically on the forehead and nose.


Blackheads are one of the milder symptoms of the skin condition acne. Knowing what might be causing your blackheads could help you find a way to manage breakouts and avoid your acne from becoming worse. If you notice blackheads popping up, consider whether one of these four causes is to blame:
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Among other things, your genes influence how you regulate and are affected by hormones.

Your body might produce a similar level of the main puberty hormone, androgen as a friend’s or colleague’s body.

But, depending on your genetic make-up the way your hormones affect your predisposition to developing blackheads will be different.

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Remove Pimples Properly


When your hormones fluctuate during puberty, blackheads and other blemishes are a common side effect. Hormones surging during puberty trigger increased sebum (natural oil) production and a higher turnover of skin cells.

Sebum keeps your skin hydrated but in excessive amounts it can block your pores and cause blackheads.

In some adult women, blackheads can form due to hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy or certain methods of birth control.


Check the labels on your skin care products and if you can’t see ‘non-comedogenic’ written anywhere, consider experimenting with different options.

The ingredients in non-comedogenic products help to dissolve excess oil and remove any dead skin cells from your pores to avoid blackheads.

NIVEA’s Daily Wash Face Scrub contains magnolia extract to help clear out clogged pores and prevent blackheads.


Knowing what causes pimples and skin blemishes is the most important and effective way of achieving clear, glowing skin that lasts.

Pimples are caused a few key physiological processes. Some lifestyle activities can also cause an outbreak to flare up.


The three fundamental causes of pimples include:

1. Blocked pores

When your sebaceous glands produce too much oil (known as sebum) it can accumulate in your pores and block them.

Depending on whether your blocked pore remains open or closed, a blackhead or whitehead pimple will develop:

  • Blackheads occur when a blocked pore is open and air exposure oxidises the sebum build-up, turning it black

  • Whiteheads occur when a clogged pore is closed and protected from the air, so the sebum build-up remains white

Extra sebum can also attract and draw impurities such as dirt and bacteria into your pores which can cause further problems.



2. Bacteria

Bacteria can cause your glands to become infected and leave them inflamed, irritated, and pus-filled.

When this happens you can be left with a big, red, angry and painful outbreak.



3. Shaving

The shaving process involves a number of factors which can lead to irritation and unwanted impurities getting into your pores to cause pimples, including:

  • Shaving creams and gels

  • Unclean razors

  • Dryness

  • The natural opening of pores


There are some skin types that are naturally more prone to pimples than others, including:

  • Oily skin: naturally produces more sebum
  • Combination skin: can have oil imbalances due to differences in skin types

Sensitive skin: can be more susceptible to irritants and have more adverse reactions

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use.