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Acne Causes – 5 Things You Didn’t Know Are Causing Your Breakouts

You might think you know your acne causes, but if you’re struggling to get your breakouts under control then one of these surprising reasons might be behind it…

Acne Causes


What Is Acne?

Before we delve into what might be making you break out, let’s get a better understanding of what acne is.

For some, acne is something confined to the memories of teen years but for many, acne lasts well into adulthood. Acne is the result of blocked pores – excess sebum, dirt and skin cells get stuck in your hair follicle and form either whiteheads (closed comedones) or blackheads (open comedones).

Keeping your skin – and your diet – clean can help keep your acne under control but there are some other more surprising acne causes too, and we’re here to tell you what they are and how you can manage breakouts.


Studies have shown that acne-prone skin can be hereditary, so if someone in your family line suffered from acne, then it could have been passed down to you.


It’s to do with how your body produces and manages sebum, and although you may have the acne genes there are still ways you can keep breakouts to a minimum.


  • Have a good skincare regime – keep oily skin in check with a routine of washing and cleansing your skin.
  • Good hydration – make sure you drink plenty of water because well-hydrated skin clogs less.
  • Don’t pick spots – picking spots can cause scarring as well as spread bacteria to other areas.

Acne Mother and Daughter


Wearing Face Masks

While face masks have played an important part in our lives this past year, they’ve not been without problems. We’ve seen a sharp rise in calls about acne around the mouth as a result of wearing a mask.

‘Maskne’ happens when you wear a mask for long periods of time – the hot, moist environment is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, the mask traps oil, dirt and skin cells, plus the pressure of the mask on your face all lead to blemishes forming. But as far as acne causes go, this one is fairly simple to manage;

  • Ensure that you wear a clean mask each time.
  • Cleanse your skin morning and evening to remove excess oils and dead skin cells.
  • Go for light makeup to avoid clogging your pores.




There is evidence to suggest that stress can trigger an increase in sebum production, which leads to a breakout. Since stress affects people differently, finding out your trigger for high stress can be tricky.

Try keeping a log of when you feel under pressure so you can identify any particular issues and work on a way to reduce your overall stress factors. In the meantime, these tips should help avoid stress acne;

  • Don’t pick your spots – you’re more likely to pick or squeeze spots when you’re anxious or pressured, and that can leave you with scars.
  • Wound healing time takes longer when your body is stressed, so make time for some relaxation.
  • Walk it off – a brisk 10-minute walk can help to focus your breathing, boost stress-busting endorphins and give you space to organise your thoughts. 


If you thought hitting puberty was the only time when age played a role in acne, you’d be wrong. Ageing generally is one of the main acne causes we see here at Elite Aesthetics. Hormone fluctuations are usually behind adult acne, although there are other acne causes too – you can read in our adult acne blog post here.

During the menopausal stage, your estrogen levels drop and your skin elasticity and plumpness reduces. This means your pores appear larger and your sebaceous glands can go into overdrive, making acne more probable. You can’t stop the clock, but you can take steps to reduce acne;

  • Get a cleanser that contains salicylic acid – this helps to exfoliate the skin, removing the dead skin cells before they clog your pores.
  • Drink water – your skin is naturally drier later in life, so make sure you get enough fluid to keep well hydrated.
  • Consider BHRT treatment if your hormones are unbalanced. 

Dirty Laundry

One of the more unusual acne causes is contamination from dirty laundry. Things like flannels, towels and pillowcases are a breeding ground for bacteria if left too long – although it sounds extreme, making sure you have clean bed and bath linen is one way to reduce the chances of a breakout.

  • Wash towels every 2 – 3 days at a high temperature (40 – 60 degrees).
  • Change your bed linen at least once a fortnight.
  • Watch for any reactions to a change in detergent – especially scented ones.

Acne washing face


What About Effective Acne Treatment?

Sometimes, despite following advice and using over the counter ointments, acne causes feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment. What can you do to reduce acne and acne scarring? Here are some of our most effective treatments with proven results in managing breakouts.


Chemical Peel

Opting for a chemical peel is a great way to rejuvenate your skin. The peel removes the top layers of the epidermis, which is usually dry and damaged, to reveal smoother, more radiant skin. The peels contain different active ingredients that will help to clear out your pores.

We offer a range of chemical peels that suit the severity of your skin condition, skin type and tone. Click here to learn more about them…

Acne Chemical Peel



The HydraFacial is a pampering experience that also leaves you with dewy, soft skin. This stage by stage treatment tackles all aspects of skin maintenance, from expert cleansing and exfoliating to the extraction of impurities using specially developed vortex technology to dislodge and remove build-up in your pores. The experience is finished with the application of serums and antioxidants to leave your skin glowing and refreshed.

If it’s good enough for Beyonce, then it’s definitely one to try. Click here to learn more about HydraFacial.



Microneedling is one of our most powerful treatments for acne scarring. This virtually painless technique uses a tool to lightly puncture the skin’s surface. Although it sounds uncomfortable, these micro-channels into your skin are so minute, they don’t cause pain. As your body begins to repair the skin, it amplifies natural collagen production, resulting in plumper, more even skin.

Click here to learn more about Microneedling…


Acne Microneedling


If you think some of these acne causes have resulted in a breakout and you would like to chat about treatment, please get in touch, we’d love to welcome you to our award-winning clinic. 


We are really easy to find; Elite Aesthetics is located just 10 minutes from Dartford and Gravesend station, 15 minutes from Maidstone and a short 20-minute drive from London.

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