Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Acne

Acne occurs when pores get clogged and bacteria grow inside the pore, causing inflammation. There may be a number of reasons why some people get acne and others don’t. They include:

  • Medications, including corticosteroids
  • Oil and grease from the scalp and makeup
  • Diet
  • Irritation from squeezing pimples
  • Friction from clothing, helmets or backpacks
  • Pollution
  • Irritation from humidity or exposure to the sun
  • Hormone level changes:
    • At puberty
    • During the menstrual cycle
    • During pregnancy
    • From birth control pills
    • From stress

When you’re stressed out, your body produces more androgens, the hormone that stimulates oil glands and hair follicles in the skin. There is also a genetic component to acne. If someone else in your immediate family has acne, you are more likely to get it as well.

Your physician can diagnose acne during a physical exam.

Diagnostic Tests

Related Resources

Legal Information

By clicking on these websites, you are leaving the Northwestern Medicine website. These websites are independent resources. Northwestern Medicine does not operate or control the content of these websites. By visiting these websites, you agree to this third party’s terms of use for their website.