Causes of Acne: An Acne Backstory

If you have read my previous blog post about my acne journey, you would know that I had to consult an expert to ask about my skin condition. I was really hopeless at the time, and nothing that I had tried worked. When I consulted my aesthetician (let’s call her Ms. Mel), I realized that having an acne problem is not a simple thing. It is a result of many factors around and within a person. And in order to win the fight against acne, we must do more than just have topical solutions. The approach should be more holistic, which means there should be lifestyle changes, as well.

On this post, I will share with you some of the causes of acne, and some tips on how you can control them or prevent them all together that I learned from personal research and professional advice as well.

#1 Stress

When Ms. Mel was doing my first ever facial treatment, she asked me this, “Was there a significant change in your life that happened recently?” The first thought that came to mind was, “What a question to strike up a conversation?” But I did not say that out loud. I was about to answer without fully understanding why she asked that question when she started to talk again and said, “Sometimes, when we experience great changes in our lives, it really affects us internally, and it causes us stress. Stress is a big factor when it comes to acne.”
When she said that, I realized a lot has been going on with my life then. I have been asked to take on many responsibilities at work during that time. I also had Korean language classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, on top of my weekday workload. There were so much that I wanted to do at church. I felt like my life was really imbalanced.
Then, Ms. Mel said, “Maybe you need a change of environment. Take a rest sometimes, or go on a vacation.” This means having a healthy skin also springs from having a peaceful mind. We should take time to have a breather every once in a while to keep ourselves and our skin calm.

#2 Body Heat

While pricking some of my pimples, I was taken aback when Ms. Mel told me to show her my tongue. I thought, “That’s weird.” But I complied anyway. She inspected my tongue and my mouth, and after a few seconds, she said, “You have high body heat.” She asked if I drank lots of water and if I exercise, and I said not that much.
To be honest, I’m not really used to drinking a lot of water. And because of my very busy schedule at work, I sometimes drink just around 500 mL. of water in a day. I also do not go to the gym or do exercise because I have no time, and I’m simply too tired from work. Since I had no way of releasing my body heat, I had accumulated it in my body, and my face suffered for it.
After realizing this, I made it a point to drink at least one liter of water per day, to keep myself hydrated, and to lower my body heat. I am also considering getting regular exercise since it will help me boost my overall health as well.

#3 Bad Diet

I think it’s quite obvious that the kind of food we eat will affect the health of our skin. During the time when I had so much acne, I recall that I was always busy at work and I always needed quick food. For lunch, I would resort to fast food, or instant food, since that is what suited my time. All the junk I took started showing on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat those things today, but not as often as I used to, which was every day.
Now, although I am still busy at work, I found myself better options for quick food that are not trashy for me. I pick up fruits, oatmeal, sandwiches or ready to eat greens, instead. I can also eat them on the go, they make me feel fuller, and they give me better nutrition.

#4 Harsh Products

I learned very quickly that I have very sensitive skin, and because of this, I was advised to stop using any product that may contain very harsh chemicals that are drying up and irritating my skin. I am not talking about only my facial cleansers. I had to stop using products from the makeup brand that I’ve been using ever since. I also had to change my shampoo, soap, and toothpaste. I had to find products that are more natural and friendly to sensitive skin.
I was actually surprised at how quickly my skin responded. When I changed my toothpaste, for example, I started noticing that the bumps around my mouth and chin area have healed. When I changed my shampoo, I noticed that the bumps along my hairline and the places touched by my hair slowly disappeared.
Do your research to find the products that will match you, and stick to it. Switching from one product to another is also not good for your skin. Keep a steady routine, it will create miracles for your skin.

#5 Environment

The things that surround you and the environment you are exposed to can contribute to the has a lot to do with your skin health. I am a teacher, so I am constantly exposed to chalk dust. I commute every day, so I was always exposed to pollution.
Since I realized how sensitive my skin was, I had to think of ways to keep the dirt and bacteria away. I started to wear a face mask to keep some of the particles away from my face. I try to keep my hair out of my face, as well, since it can accumulate dust particles throughout the day. I also regularly clean my eyeglasses; lens and frame from any sweat or makeup residue. I also learned that I should regularly change my towel and pillowcase, and wash my makeup brushes and sponges to make sure that they do not house bacteria that make my acne worse.
At first glance, these may seem like you are just over-acting or being overly sensitive, but (1) being clean with your things is not a bad thing, and (2) if these will help speed up the healing of your face, why not?

#6 Hormonal Imbalance

Acne can also be a result of hormonal imbalance. I find that I have more pimples when I have my monthly period. This can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. In worse cases though, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, acne can be hellish and painful, in which case, medical attention should be sought.

These are only some of the many possible causes of acne. The things that have worked for me may or may not work for you since one’s skin can be different from another. If you are currently struggling with acne, keep calm. All things pass. Take a deep breath, and lay down your game plan in the fight against acne. Consistency is key. It also took me some time to get to know my skin and what it needs, that sometimes it gets too tedious and frustrating. But now that I can see the results, slowly but steadily, everything is worth it.

Leave a comment below if you have questions, or if you want to share your acne tips and tricks.

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