The Most Asked Question About Acne this 2024


Acne, a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide, often raises a plethora of questions. From understanding its root cause to finding the most effective treatments, the journey to clear skin can be a confusing maze. This article aims to shed light on the “Most Asked Question About Acne” and provide straightforward, easy-to-understand answers.

Most Asked Question About AcneAcne is not just a teenage problem; it affects people of all ages. It’s a condition that can cause significant distress, impacting one’s self-esteem and quality of life. But fear not, you’re not alone in this journey. Let’s dive into the most asked questions about acne and arm ourselves with the knowledge to fight back.

Here are the most asked question about acne.

1. Why is my acne worse during my period?

One of the most common questions is why acne worsens during the menstrual cycle. This is due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during this period. Testosterone, an androgen present in both males and females, remains fairly constant throughout the menstrual cycle. However, female hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuate. When these hormones reach their lowest levels, the relative proportion of testosterone increases, leading to changes in the skin’s complexion that bring about acne.

  • Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, particularly the relative increase in testosterone when estrogen and progesterone levels drop, contribute to acne.
  • This hormonal imbalance can lead to an increase in sebum production, which can clog pores and result in breakouts.
  • The progesterone level increases in the middle of the cycle, stimulating sebum production and contributing to acne formation.
  • Acne lesions often appear before menstruation starts, mainly in hormone-dependent areas such as the cheeks, the lower third of the face, and the neck.
  • In these areas, enzymes convert free testosterone into a more potent androgen called dihydrotestosterone. This leads to more active sebaceous glands, increased sebum production, and blocked hair follicles, resulting in period acne.
  • Therefore, the fluctuation of hormones, especially the drop in estrogen and progesterone and the relative increase in testosterone leads to changes in the skin’s complexion that bring about acne. This is why acne often worsens during the menstrual cycle.

2. Can I still wear foundation?

Yes, you can still wear foundation even if you have acne. The key is to choose the right products. Look for foundations labeled as non-comedogenic, which means they are less likely to clog your pores. These products are designed to prevent the formation of comedones, which are the skin-colored small bumps frequently found on the forehead and chin of those with acne.

Light, mattifying formulas are also better for acne-prone skin, as opposed to thick and creamy foundations. These lighter formulas provide coverage without adding excess oil or heaviness to your skin, which can exacerbate acne.

Moreover, it’s important to ensure that your foundation matches your skin tone exactly. This helps to create a natural look and prevents the foundation from highlighting acne and other skin imperfections.

In addition to choosing the right foundation, it’s also crucial to maintain a proper skincare routine. Always remove your makeup before going to bed to prevent it from clogging your pores overnight. Regularly clean your makeup brushes and sponges to remove bacteria and prevent them from being transferred back onto your skin.

Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional for personalized advice.

3. Who gets acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all races and ages. However, it is most common in teens and young adults. When acne appears during the teenage years, it is more common in males.

Adult acne affects 25% of men and 50% of women at some point in their adult lives. Acne can continue into adulthood, and when it does, it is more common in women.

Factors contributing to acne breakouts include hormones, medications, stress, diet, and genetics. During puberty, hormones called androgens increase the size of the skin’s oil glands. These glands start making more oil, which can clog pores.

People can get acne at almost any age. Around 20% of newborns develop a type of acne called neonatal acne, which usually appears between the second and fourth weeks of life. Some children develop infantile acne, which begins between 3 and 6 months of age.

Acne is also a growing problem for women over 25 years of age. Most of these women had acne as teens and continued to get breakouts as adults. Some of these women had teenage acne that cleared. Now, years later, they are experiencing acne breakouts again. About 20% to 40% of women who have adult acne develop it for the first time as adults.

4. Does having acne mean I’m not cleaning my face enough?

Having acne does not necessarily mean that you’re not cleaning your face enough. Acne is a complex condition that is not solely related to skin cleanliness. It is driven by a combination of factors, including hormones, excess sebum (oil), bacteria, and the microbiomes of your skin (skin flora).

While maintaining a regular skincare regimen is important, there are times when it may not be enough. Over-cleaning can exacerbate acne. If you wash your face too much, your skin can be stripped of its natural oil, causing your body to produce more oil to compensate for the oil you washed off. So, it’s recommended to wash your face no more than twice a day with a gentle soap and lukewarm water.

Moreover, scrubbing and vigorous cleaning can make your acne worse. It’s better to use gentle face cleansers and light, water-based make-up. It’s also crucial to never squeeze blackheads or whiteheads, as this can lead to further inflammation and potential scarring.

In addition to cleaning, it’s important to supplement your regimen with products that help treat the condition. These might include over-the-counter products containing ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, or prescription treatments depending on the severity of your acne.

Cleanliness is part of managing acne; it’s not the only factor. A balanced approach that includes gentle cleaning, proper skincare products, and understanding the unique factors contributing to your acne is the most effective way to manage this condition.

5. Can what I eat cause breakouts?

Your diet can indeed impact your skin. Certain foods, particularly those high in sugars and unhealthy fats, can increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to skin problems like acne.

A nutritious diet, on the other hand, can help keep you healthy inside and out. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, can help reduce inflammation and protect your skin from damage.

Omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, can help reduce inflammation inside your body that can also show up on your skin. Omega-3s are found in foods like fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds. They are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with various skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Moreover, foods with a high glycemic index, such as white bread, chips, and other processed carbohydrates, can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin levels and inflammation, which can worsen acne.

In conclusion, while diet alone is unlikely to clear up acne, a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3s can support overall skin health and help manage acne.

6. What causes acne?

Acne is primarily caused by the overproduction of oil, blocked hair follicles that don’t allow the oil to leave the pore, and the growth of bacteria inside the hair follicles.

The overproduction of oil, or sebum, is often triggered by hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty. This oil, along with dead skin cells, can clog the hair follicles, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive.

The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes is normally present on the skin, but in people with acne, it proliferates in the clogged hair follicles. This can lead to inflammation and the formation of red or pus-filled bumps.

In addition to these primary factors, other elements can contribute to the development of acne. These include certain medications, diet, stress, and genetics. For example, foods with a high glycemic index can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin levels and inflammation, which can worsen acne.

Acne is a complex condition that is primarily caused by the overproduction of oil, blocked hair follicles, and the growth of bacteria. However, other factors, such as diet, stress, and genetics, can also play a role.

7. What are the different types of acne?

Acne can be categorized into two main types: non-inflammatory and inflammatory.

Non-inflammatory acne includes:

  • Blackheads (open comedones): These occur when a pore is clogged by a combination of sebum and dead skin cells. The top of the pore stays open, despite the rest of it being clogged. This results in the characteristic black color seen on the surface.
  • Whiteheads (closed comedones): These can also form when a pore gets clogged by sebum and dead skin cells. But unlike with blackheads, the top of the pore closes up. It looks like a small bump protruding from the skin.

Inflammatory acne includes:

  • Papules: These are small, red, tender bumps that form when the walls surrounding your pores break down from severe inflammation. This results in hard, clogged pores that are tender to the touch.
  • Pustules (pimples): These are another kind of inflamed pimple. They resemble a whitehead with a red ring around the bump. The bump is typically filled with white or yellow pus.
  • Nodules: These are large, inflamed bumps that feel firm to the touch. They develop deep within the skin and are often painful.
  • Cysts: These are large, pus-filled lesions that look similar to boils. Like nodules, cysts can be painful and should be treated by a dermatologist since they can also cause scarring.

Each type of acne lesion requires a different treatment. Receiving prompt, correct treatment can reduce the risk of long-term skin complications, such as pitting and scarring.

8. How can I get rid of acne?

There are several ways to treat acne, including over-the-counter (OTC) creams and cleansers, prescription medications, and medical procedures such as laser therapy.

Over-the-counter creams and cleansers: These products often contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur, which can help to reduce oil production, speed up skin cell turnover, fight bacterial infection, or reduce inflammation.

Prescription medications: If OTC treatments aren’t effective, a dermatologist may prescribe stronger medications. These can include topical retinoids, antibiotics, or even oral medications for more severe cases.

Medical procedures: For severe or persistent acne, medical procedures such as laser therapy, chemical peels, or even the extraction of pimples can be an option.

In addition to these treatments, maintaining a regular skincare regimen is crucial. This includes washing your face no more than twice a day with gentle soap and lukewarm water, avoiding scrubbing or vigorous cleaning, which can make acne worse, and always removing makeup before bed.

Diet and lifestyle changes can also play a role in managing acne. A balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3s can support overall skin health. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques can also help to reduce acne breakouts.

Remember, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional for personalized advice.

9. What is adult acne?

Adult acne, or post-adolescent acne, is acne that occurs after the age of 25. It can be persistent, with people having it continuously since their teen years, or it can appear for the first time in adults—a phenomenon known as ‘late-onset acne’.

The same factors that cause acne in adolescents are at play in adult acne. The four factors that directly contribute to acne are excess oil production, pores becoming clogged by “sticky” skin cells, bacteria, and inflammation.

Some people have a genetic predisposition for acne. Usually, when someone presents with acne, someone in the family has also experienced breakouts, either as a teen or adult. This person doesn’t have to be your parent or sibling, either. It might be a more distant relative, such as an uncle, aunt, or cousin.

Fluctuating or excessive sex hormones can lead to changes throughout your body and skin, including pH imbalance, inflammation, differences in circulation, and excessive production of oil (sebum). These changes often play a part in the development of adult acne.

Anything that irritates your skin, from harsh cleansers to razors on dry skin, can lower your skin’s defenses and cause a protective reaction that leads to inflammation.

Adult acne can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild adult acne may consist of blackheads, whiteheads, or small pustules. Moderate adult acne might also include papules, which cover between one-quarter and three-quarters of the face or body. Severe adult acne often involves extreme redness or other discoloration, swelling, irritation, and deep cysts.

Adult acne is a common condition that can persist in adolescence or appear for the first time in adulthood. It is influenced by various factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and skin irritation.

10. What are the best ingredients for acne?

Ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur are some of the best for treating acne. They help reduce oil production, speed up skin cell turnover, fight bacterial infection, or reduce inflammation, which helps prevent scarring.

Let’s delve deeper into the best ingredients for treating acne.

Salicylic Acid (BHA): Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, and arguably one of the most effective ingredients for treating acne. It helps by unclogging pores and controlling oil, making it ideal for people with oily skin and non-inflammatory acne. It’s found in many over-the-counter and prescription skincare products.

Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic and is considered one of the most effective ingredients for treating mild to severe acne. It works by killing and preventing the growth of bacteria that cause acne. It also helps to reduce inflammation.

Sulfur: Sulfur is often combined with other ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. It removes dead skin cells that clog your pores and helps remove excess oil (sebum) that may cause breakouts. Sulfur has traditionally been used for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to these, there are other effective ingredients for treating acne:

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, treat acne by removing dead skin cells and reducing inflammation. They also improve the appearance of acne scars by stimulating the growth of new skin.

Adapalene: Adapalene is a topical retinoid used to treat acne. Retinoids are vitamin A-based products that are best known for treating aging skin. Adapalene can help prevent new breakouts and unclog pores.

Azelaic Acid: A naturally occurring compound, azelaic acid has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps prevent the buildup of keratin, a protein that can clog pores.

Vitamin C: Officially known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It can help decrease redness and swelling in acne-prone skin.

Tea Tree Oil: This is an essential oil made from the leaves of the tea tree. A gel with 5% tea tree oil may be as effective on acne as one containing 5% benzoyl peroxide.

These ingredients can be found in various over-the-counter and prescription products. It’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional for personalized advice.

Other related, most asked question about acne:

11. What is body acne?

Body acne refers to acne that occurs on areas of the body other than the face, such as the back, chest, and shoulders.

12. How does stress affect acne?

Stress can indeed exacerbate acne. When you’re stressed, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol, which in turn stimulates your oil glands to produce more oil. This excess oil can get trapped inside hair follicles, along with dirt and dead skin cells, leading to acne.

13. Can acne be cured?

While there’s no definitive cure for acne, it can be managed effectively with the right treatment plan. This often involves a combination of over-the-counter products, prescription medications, and lifestyle changes.

14. Does the sun help acne?

While some people report that their acne improves after sun exposure, this is not a reliable treatment method. Too much sun can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. It’s always important to protect your skin from the sun.

15. Can acne scars be removed?

Yes, acne scars can be treated. There are several treatment options available, including laser therapy, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion. However, the best treatment option will depend on the type and severity of the scars.

16. What is the best skincare routine for acne?

A good skincare routine for acne-prone skin should include a gentle cleanser, a non-comedogenic moisturizer, and a sunscreen. Additionally, products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can be beneficial.

17. How does diet affect acne?

Diet can play a role in acne development. Certain foods, such as dairy and high-glycemic-index foods like white bread and chips, may worsen acne for some people. However, it’s important to note that diet is just one piece of the acne puzzle.

18. Can exercise cause acne?

While exercise itself doesn’t cause acne, not washing your face after a workout can. Sweat can mix with oils on your skin, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. It’s always a good idea to cleanse your skin after a workout.

19. Does makeup cause acne?

Makeup doesn’t necessarily cause acne, but certain products can clog pores, leading to breakouts. Look for non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores. Also, always remove your makeup before bed.

20. Can stress cause acne?

Yes, stress can trigger acne breakouts. When you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol, a hormone that can lead to increased oil production and acne.


In conclusion, understanding acne and its triggers is the first step towards managing this common skin condition. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. With the right knowledge and tools, you can navigate the path to clearer skin with confidence.

This article is based on the most current information available and aims to answer the “Most Asked Question About Acne.”. However, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Always consult with a dermatologist or a skincare professional for personalized advice.


This article is intended to provide general information about acne and answer some of the most commonly asked questions. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dermatologist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The information contained in this article was accurate at the time of publication but may change over time.

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