What Causes Acne? Is It The Hormones, Or Something Else?


The Cause of Acne: Hormones or More?

Acne definition:

Acne is a very common skin condition that causes pimples mostly on the face, forehead, chest, shoulders, and upper back. There are a variety of causes including genetics, fluctuating hormone levels, stress, high humidity, and using oily or greasy personal care products. Acne commonly affects teenagers but can occur at any age.

acne, acne scars

Who does acne affect?

Though it mainly affects teenagers and young adults undergoing hormonal changes, many people continue struggling with acne into their 20s, 30s, and beyond. Some even develop acne for the first time as adults.

Where does acne most commonly occur?

The most common spots where you might have acne are your face, forehead, chest, shoulders, and upper back. Oil glands are all over your body, but those are the places where there are the most. The best way to treat acne depends on how severe it is. Acne can be mild (a few occasional pimples) moderate (inflammatory papules) or severe (nodules and cysts).

acne treatmentDoes acne itch?

Some evidence suggests that many people with acne experience itching. Acne can begin to itch for a few different reasons. The most common reason is due to the friction and dryness of skin cells that are the result of clogged and cramped pores. When skin becomes dry, its nature is to itch.

What Causes Acne? Is It The Hormones, Or Something Else?

Acne is a common skin condition that can be influenced by multiple factors. While hormonal fluctuations play a significant role, other factors also contribute to its development. Here's an overview of the causes of acne:

Hormonal Influence

  • Androgens: Hormones like androgens can stimulate sebum production, leading to clogged pores.
  • Menstrual Cycle: Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can trigger acne breakouts.

Other Contributing Factors

  • Genetics: A family history of acne can increase the likelihood of experiencing it.
  • Diet: Certain foods, particularly high-glycemic-index foods, may exacerbate acne.
  • Skincare Products: Using comedogenic or pore-clogging products can contribute to acne formation.
  • Stress: Elevated stress levels can worsen acne symptoms.
  • Bacterial Infection: Propionibacterium acnes bacteria can contribute to acne inflammation.

Cystic Acne: How to Identify and Treat

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that causes deep, painful, and inflamed breakouts. It is important to identify cystic acne properly to ensure appropriate treatment. Cystic acne is an uncommon and severe form of acne.

The skin condition results from blocked pores in the skin that cause infection and inflammation. Cystic acne is the most serious type of acne. It develops when cysts form deep underneath your skin. This can result from a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells that get trapped in your pores.

Here are some characteristics and signs to help identify cystic acne:

Characteristics of Cystic Acne

  • Large, red, and tender bumps beneath the skin's surface.
  • Deep, painful nodules or cysts that can be filled with pus.
  • Prolonged healing time and a higher risk of scarring.
  • Commonly found on the face, back, chest, and shoulders.

Identifying Cystic Acne

Aside from being the most serious form of acne, cystic acne also tends to be the largest in size. It’s also deeper within the skin. All other types appear to rest on top of the skin’s surface.

  • Presence of painful, inflamed bumps that do not come to a head.
  • Deep-rooted acne lesions can last for weeks or months.
  • Formation of large, hard bumps beneath the skin.
  • Risk factors such as hormonal imbalances, genetics, and stress.
  • Large pus-filled cyst
  • Large white bump
  • Redness
  • Tender or painful to the touch

If you suspect you have cystic acne, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Early intervention can help prevent scarring and manage the condition effectively.

Cystic Acne: Not Just on the Face, but All Over the Body

While acne cysts are often associated with the face, they can actually appear on various parts of the body.

Here are the common areas where cystic acne may develop:

  • Face
    • The most noticeable location for cystic acne often affects the cheeks, chin, and forehead.
  • Chest
    • Cystic acne can form on the chest, leading to painful, deep-seated nodules beneath the skin.
  • Neck
    • The neck is also prone to cystic acne, with inflamed bumps and nodules commonly appearing in this area.
  • Back and Shoulders
    • Cystic acne can extend to the back and shoulders, causing large, tender bumps and potential scarring.
  • Arms and Behind the Ears
    • Less commonly, cystic acne may develop on the arms and behind the ears, adding to the discomfort.

The Relationship Between Acne and Botox

Botox is being used by dermatologists to both help prevent acne breakouts and scarring and to help relax the puckered skin around an already existing acne scar. Some dermatologists are treating acne with Botox by injecting the areas on the face where more oil is produced.

Acne and Botox are two distinct skin concerns, but they can intersect in certain situations. Here's what you need to know about their relationship:

Acne and Botox: Unrelated Issues

  • Acne is a common skin condition caused by factors such as excess oil production, clogged pores, and bacteria. It leads to pimples, blackheads, and inflammation.
  • On the other hand, Botox is a cosmetic treatment that involves injecting botulinum toxin to temporarily reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Potential Impact of Botox on Acne

  • Botox injections are not known to directly cause or exacerbate acne. The injection sites are typically in the upper face, while acne usually affects the T-zone and other areas.
  • However, in rare cases, individuals may experience breakouts or skin reactions around the injection site due to factors like improper aftercare, sensitivity to the product, or pre-existing skin conditions.


Understanding the various causes of acne can help individuals develop effective prevention and treatment strategies. It's recommended to consult with a dermatologist for personalized guidance and treatment options.

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