What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when your pores get clogged with dead skin and oil.  It often starts during puberty because your body is making more oil, and bacteria starts growing in pores.  Acne can show up on your face, but you can get it on your back, chest and other places, too.

  • Whiteheads develop when a pore gets plugged with oil and dead skin cells.
  • Blackheads happen when this plugged-up stuff comes to the surface of the skin.  The black is not dirt.
  • Pustules (often called pimples) develop when a plugged-up pore gets inflamed and filled with pus.
  • Cystic acne happens when a plugged pore breaks deep inside the skin.  Nodules (large, inflamed bumps) or cysts (pus-filled bumps) form and often look like larger pimples.  Sometimes they can cause scars and pain.

Remember, acne is common among teens.  You’re not alone.  Severe acne sometimes can be a sign of hormone problems, so ask your doctor if you’re concerned.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services