What Causes Acne and How to Clear It Fast

Although many people think of acne as a problem only teenagers face, others know that the stress of blemishes is a problem that can follow you throughout your life. There are a wide variety of, over-the-counter topical treatments, prescription medications, and potential natural solutions that all seek to solve the acne dilemma. To understand how these products that treat and prevent acne work, it’s helps to understand what acne is and what causes it.

This article will discuss:

What is acne?

Although they look different, whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples are all different forms of acne and all result from clogged pores. Pores are composed of a sweat gland, a hair follicle, and an oil gland. The oil gland is designed to help lubricate skin and assist in desquamation, or the natural removal of skin cells from the top layer of the epidermis. However, stress, hormones, and genetics can all trigger the oil gland to become overactive. When it does so, this extra oil can mix with debris like dirt, dead skin, bacteria, to create a clog in the pore.

If the clog is closed at the surface, it’s called a whitehead. If the top of the pore remains open and exposed to air, the clog darkens and it becomes a blackhead. In the case of pimples, the pore becomes infected and the site inflames. Blood flow increases to the infected area as a part of your immune response. So although it can be uncomfortable and unattractive, the red area surrounding a pimple is actually your body’s natural defense against acne.

What causes acne?

Acne has a strong genetic component and tends to run in families, but hormonal fluctuations and stress also play a role in increasing the oil production that often leads to acne. These kinds of hormonal changes are especially common during during the teenage years, but they also occur during pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycles. Similarly, intense emotional stress can also make oil production and thus acne ramp up. Such stress is a well-known facet of being a teenager, but this factor can affect people through their lives. That’s why sometimes when it feels like your life is going crazy, your skin will start to go crazy, too.

What you put on your skin and your environment can also cause acne. Some, but not all oils, lotions, and makeups can clog pores and prevent skin desquamation. Dry environments dehydrate skin and increase the number of dead skin cells available to clog pores. Hot or humid environments can cause sweating and increased oil production which also make clogs more likely.

Similar responses occur during pregnancy and menopause. All the hormone secretion glands are affected by these stages of development, including the oil glands in skin.

Changes in external environment contribute to acne as well. For example, make-ups with a heavy oil base easily clog pores and prevent skin desquamation. Dry environments dehydrate skin, and dead skin builds up, increasing the rate at which pores become clogged. Also, skin that isn’t being washed or properly cared for is more likely to clog.

In addition to genetics, hormones, stress, and your environment, the food you eat can have a powerful effect on your skin. Perricone‘s Anti-Inflammatory Diet is designed to treat the systemic inflammation at the root of a number of conditions. It focuses on healthy fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, high-quality protein, and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. These foods are especially well suited to reducing the inflammation that contributes to acne and  keeps skin from looking clear and radiant.

There are specific foods proven to improve the condition of your skin. For example, olive oil can improve the flexibility of cells. Powerful antioxidants from sources like acai berry appear to protect skin cells from damage caused by sunlight and free radicals. Skin health is an indicator of internal health, so a healthy, balanced diet is an important step toward healthy skin.

Treatment of Acne, Natural and Cosmeceutical

Salicylic acid is a popular and effective acne treatment Perricone uses in its Skin Clear products. Salicylic acid exfoliates both the top layer of the skin and inside the pore, thus reducing the amount of debris available to form clogs. Since salicylic acid works to peel skin, redness, flakiness, and irritation can result. The best way to avoid these side effects it to complement the treatment with an appropriate moisturizer.

Dr. Perricone’s Skin Clear line also uses alpha lipoic acid. This antioxidant helps combat free radicals that would damage the DNA in skin cells and prevent skin from healing itself. Healthier skin is more incline to take care of itself and clogged pores become less frequent. Along with DMAE, it also helps smooth skin and reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. The Skin Clear Hydrator, complimented by a great Perricone deal, uses allantoin to balance the drying effects of salicylic acid, keeping skin soft, hydrated, and smooth.

This video has more about alpha lipoic acid:

The Skin Clear Hydrator, like the creams mentioned above, removes oil while keeping skin hydrated. Skin Clear Hydrator contains extra amounts of Allantoin, to renew skin and even texture, and DMAE, which tightens skin by providing extra support to skin cells, allowing them to withstand extra stress.

Since good internal health can improve skin health, Dr Perricone also offers the Skin Clear Supplements. These supplements provide nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids, and alpha lipoic acid that work to boost the immune system and improve skin clarity.


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9 Comments • Please comment below


  1. [...] for skin care since it promotes new cell turnover. Although it is most commonly a treatment for acne, you can use retinol to see improvements in many other conditions that involve damaged [...]

  2. I have just started using Dr Perricone’s product and thus far am very satisfied with the results. I would very much like to become a tester for Perricone products especially for the adult acne products.

  3. My son struggles which teen boy acne. I have him on perscription medication both internally and externally. I do not like my child on medications, but do not want him to have to deal with acne either. I would love for him to become a tester for your acne products. thanks for your consideration.

  4. This article was great and very informative. When the pimples, black heads, or white heads show up on your face, you always want to blame something besides yourself. But thanks to this article I realize all the different things that I could be eating that have caused the breakouts and things I could be eating to help take care of my skin. There is a lot more to know about acne than I thought.

  5. Very good article it was exactly what i was looking for. I also read great information about acne here all for free at http://acnesolution4u.blogspot.com/ thanks for the info

  6. I just received my order of the Skin Clear Cleanser and will be trying it to see if it’ll help with my acne. I’m still looking around to see what works for my acne and will decrease the appearance of my pores.

  7. I’m seriously considering trying these products…my skin has driven me mad these past few months. My skin was clear and acne free for years, then out of the blue I’ve started experiencing enlarged pores, inflammation, and acne. The alpha lipoic acid in these products sound intriguing.

  8. I just ordered the Skin Clear Cleanser and I cannot wait to use this! I have battled acne ever since it started, I even was prescribed Accutane, and I am 25 right now, and I STILL break out ocasionally, so am am very excited since I learned of Dr. Perricone’s products.

  9. I am 36, live in the Minnesota with harsh winters and balmy summers,and have a stressful job of taking care of 12 childrens needs each day. Over the past 2 years i have had a run in with adult acne.I have tried many over the counter lines with little luck. I am also noticing breakouts on my chest and back. I am placing an order for the acne cleanser, toner and moisturizer even though it is more than i have ever spent on products. If it works, the price will not be an issue, i would pay 3x the price and refer alot of people to Perricone MD!