8 Common Causes of Acne Flare Ups

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Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. So, what causes acne flare-ups?


Hormones are one of the main causes of acne. Oil glands start producing more oil during puberty, especially when hormones fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. It’s not uncommon for women to break out before their period because of changes in hormone levels during this time. Many women also experience breakouts around menopause because their estrogen levels drop significantly at this time.

Side Effects of Medication

Some medicines, including those for allergies like antihistamines and steroids (prednisolone), can cause acne breakouts.

Oily Skin

People who naturally produce more oil on their faces are likely to experience breakouts. This type of acne is called non-inflammatory acne. Oily skin may also be linked to hormonal changes because they increase sebum oil production in the body.


Stress is a very common cause of acne flare-ups. This seems to be more common amongst teenagers, so if you fall into this category, you will want to make sure that you get enough rest and exercise daily. It would be best to try to avoid anything that may stress you out or upset you as much as possible. Acne can be very stressful in itself, so make sure that you take care of yourself and learn some stress management techniques if need be. Stress has been known to release glucocorticoids, which can lead to skin damage, including acne flare-ups.


Your diet may be a factor in causing acne and should be considered when figuring out what is causing your acne flare-ups. Certain foods have been associated with causing acne. Some common culprits are highly processed foods, sugar, fried foods, fatty foods, junk foods, and dairy products such as milk and cheese. A healthy diet can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of acne, such as pimples and blackheads.

Bacteria Growth

Pimples also form when bacteria grow inside a clogged pore and cause an infection. You can get bacteria inside your pores from touching infected areas or using unclean makeup brushes or combs to style your hair.


Oil-based cosmetics, sunscreen, and hair products can block pores. Water-based cosmetics don’t usually cause acne; however, some people are allergic to the ingredients used in these products and may experience breakouts.


Genetics can also play a role in how your skin reacts to certain substances that come into contact with it. If you have other family members who are prone to acne, there’s a chance that you’ll also get breakouts. Most people assume that their genetic makeup is responsible for the level of hormones they produce, but it turns out that this isn’t necessarily true. In some cases, your environment can affect how much hormone is produced. This means that a person with “acne genes” will only develop acne when exposed to certain environmental factors.

Schedule a Consultation

Acne can be a frustrating thing to experience, whether as a teenager or an adult, so remember that there’s no shame in taking care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to talk with friends and family members about the problem. It can be easy to get discouraged when it comes to stubborn acne. Dr. Bonaparte can help with effective treatment options. Schedule a consultation by calling JB Cosmetics in Ottawa, ON at (613) 909-3147 or contacting us online.