Acne is a disorder that affects the skin’s oil glands and hair follicles. The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to oil glands under the skin. The pores connect to the glands by a canal called a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin.
As the glands produce sebum inside the pores, new skin cells are constantly growing, and the outer layers of skin are being shed. Sometimes, dead skin cells are not shed. They remain in the pores and get stuck together by the sticky sebum, causing a blockage in the pore.
Here, four common triggers for adult acne—and skin care treatments that help. Hormonal Changes Whenever your body experiences a spike in “male” hormones such as testosterone, oil production increases—and that can cause a clogged pore where P. acnes bacteria grows, leading to inflammation and pimples.
Still, scientists don’t know exactly how stress worsens acne. They do know that cells that produce sebum have receptors for stress hormones, according to Garner. Sebum is the oily substance that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to clog the hair follicles, leading to a pimple or acne cyst.
Avoid washing your breakout too much, because doing this can irritate your skin and actually make it worse. Use a gentle cleanser. Acne prone skin is sensitive, so use a soap or face wash that is gentle to skin. Choose soaps that are “gentle” or “sensitive”, and if possible choose unscented over perfumed.