Teenagers are the most common sufferers of acne, purely because of the hormonal shifts that are associated with puberty. Current figures indicate nearly 85% of people will develop acne at some point between the ages of 12 and 25.
It is also important to note that the hormonal changes associated with both the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and even menopause have been shown to be culprits in the creation of acne. Also, when women are either beginning or ending their usage of birth control, the hormonal fluctuations that can occur at this time can cause acne in some women.
Furthermore, fluctuations in the hormones of adults, both men and women, can cause spikes in the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands. This opens wide the range of those susceptible to acne, due to hormonal changes.
Another factor is heredity or genetics. Many researchers now believe that the tendency to develop acne can be inherited from parents. In studies conducted by a number of scientists, links have been found between those presently suffering from acne and the presence of acne in their family history. Strictly speaking though, acne is not an inherited disease, at least not in the medical sense of the word. However, it is also true that acne is much more common in children of parents who have had or still have acne than those who do not. While the research is still ongoing, there is no doubt the research will continue to yield new results and perhaps, deeper genetic causes might be unearthed.
As was stated before, the side effects of certain drugs can cause acne. Examples can include: barbiturates, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, lithium and certain forms of steroids.
Heavy or oily costmetics
In the case of certain cosmetics, their ingredients can affect the structure of hair follicles and lead to over-production of sebum, which in turn clogs the pores.
Astringent facial products can dry the skin out and also causes the body to overproduce sebum to compensate. The use of harsh exfoliators can damage existing spots and spread infection.
Flare Up Factors
There are also a number of other factors which can cause existent acne to flare up and create more problems. A small list of some of these factors is included in the following pages so that our picture of acne becomes clearer and we shall, hopefully, obtain a greater understanding of the causes and elements that make this disorder such an inconvenient and uncomfortable thing to endure.
Pressure from helmets or hats, backpacks, tight clothing
If there is pressure against the skin, as is the case when wearing hats, and helmets, or when a backpack is pressing down against shoulders, then the potential for irritation and acne breakouts are real. Either friction, as is true when someone is wearing tight clothing, or pressure as in the aforementioned hat or helmet, can go a long way towards affecting the pores and causing acne to flare up.
If a person works in a garage or in a factory, certain chemicals present in such environments can actually cause acne flare-ups, if not lead to its appearance. Oils, for instance, when brought in contact with skin over a long period can clog up pores, or at least irritate the skin.
Pollution can have much the same effect upon the skin, clogging pores and creating infections.
Heavy scrubbing of skin
Picking or squeezing blackheads and/or whiteheads can cause the infection to move deeper into the skin and which will lead to scarring.
While no foods actually have been linked to the cause of acne, it is proven that certain foods can be responsible for acne flare-ups.