Acne is a typical skin condition that affects many people, especially during their teenage years. It occurs when hair follicles come clogged with oil and dead skin cells, creating pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. While acne may not be a severe health concern, it can lead to emotional distress and low self-esteem.

Knowing some key terms and common causes is vital to better understanding acne. This blog post will present an overview of these terms and causes to help you understand acne better.

The Key Terms Associated with Acne

  1. Pimple: A pimple is a small, raised, red bump on the skin filled with pus. Pimples are caused by clogged pores that become infected with bacteria.
  2. Blackhead: A blackhead is a type of acne that appears as a dark spot on the skin. Blackheads are made due to oil buildup and dead skin cells in the pores.
  3. Whitehead: A whitehead is an acne that appears as a small, white bump on the skin. Whiteheads are caused by clogged pores that are not inflamed.
  4. Sebum: Sebum is the oil produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands. Too much sebum can cause acne.
  5. Comedone: A comedone is an acne lesion that forms when a hair follicle clogs with oil and dead skin cells.

The Common Causes of Acne

1. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can trigger acne. Hormones such as androgen stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, leading to clogged follicles.

2. Genetics

Acne can also be hereditary. If one or both parents have acne, there is a higher chance that their children will also develop it.

3. Poor Skin Care

Poor skincare habits like not washing the face regularly or using harsh products can worsen acne. Scrubbing the skin too harshly or picking at pimples can also lead to scarring and further inflammation.

4. Diet

While limited evidence links diet to acne, some studies suggest that a diet high in sugar and dairy products may worsen acne.

5. Stress

Stress can trigger hormonal changes, leading to acne. It can also worsen existing acne by increasing inflammation.

6. Medications

Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can cause acne as a side effect.

7. Environmental Factors

Exposure to pollutants and humidity can worsen acne by clogging the follicles and increasing inflammation.

Preventing and Treating Acne

Preventing acne is often easier than treating it. Here are some tips for preventing acne:

  • Wash your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands.
  • Use non-comedogenic skincare products or consider anti-aging hormone therapy.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing that can trap sweat and bacteria against your skin.
  • Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  • Manage stress through exercise, meditation, or other relaxation techniques.

If you do develop acne, there are several treatment options available. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Topical Treatments: Topical treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, can facilitate unclogging pores and reducing inflammation.
  2. Oral Medications: Oral medications, such as antibiotics and isotretinoin, can be used to treat more severe cases of acne.
  3. Chemical Peels: Chemical peels can help to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores.
  4. Laser Therapy: Laser therapy, like anti-aging hormone therapy, can reduce inflammation and kill bacteria contributing to acne.


Acne is a common skin condition that various factors can cause. Understanding the key terms associated with acne and the most common causes of this condition can help you to prevent and treat acne effectively. By following a healthy skincare routine and making lifestyle changes as necessary, you can keep your skin clear and healthy. If you do develop acne, many treatment options are available, so don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist for guidance.

Melinda Silva, MD, is a renowned anti-aging and wellness medical spa in Chula Vista, San Diego, providing top-notch services in anti-aging hormone therapy, weight loss, and CoolSculpting. With a team of qualified professionals, our medical spa has been dedicated to helping patients achieve their health and wellness goals through personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and take the initial step towards a healthier, happier you.