Dealing with acne is a common and often challenging aspect of skincare, impacting individuals of various ages and skin types. Both prevention and treatment play pivotal roles in achieving clear and healthy skin. A comprehensive approach involves establishing good skincare habits, making lifestyle adjustments, and, when necessary, incorporating targeted interventions.

From daily routines that promote skin health to specific measures aimed at mitigating acne's impact, understanding the multifaceted strategies for preventing and treating acne is key to fostering a confident and blemish-free complexion.

This blog explores a range of practical and evidence-based approaches to effectively manage acne, offering insights into both proactive measures for prevention and targeted solutions for those seeking to address existing skin concerns.

Possible causes of acne

Acne is a complex skin condition influenced by various factors, and its development often involves a combination of these elements. Understanding the interplay of these factors is crucial for developing effective prevention and treatment strategies tailored to individual needs. It's advisable for individuals experiencing persistent or severe acne to consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice and a targeted treatment plan.

Here are some possible causes for acne:

Excess oil production

Overproduction of sebum (skin oil) by the sebaceous glands can contribute to clogged pores and acne. This can be influenced by hormonal changes, especially during adolescence.

Hormonal changes

Fluctuations in hormone levels or hormonal imbalance, such as those occurring during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), can stimulate oil production and contribute to acne.


Propionibacterium acnes, a type of bacteria, plays a role in the development of acne. When hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells, it creates an environment where bacteria can thrive, leading to inflammation and acne lesions.

Clogged hair follicles

Excessive production of skin cells and inadequate shedding can lead to the clogging of hair follicles, creating an environment conducive to acne development.


A family history of acne can increase the likelihood of experiencing the condition. Genetic factors may influence skin type, oil production, and how the skin responds to inflammation.

Certain medications

Some medications, such as corticosteroids, and drugs containing lithium or androgens, can contribute to acne as a side effect.

Dietary factors

While the link between diet and acne is not fully understood, certain foods, particularly those with a high glycemic index or dairy products, may influence acne development in some individuals.


Chronic stress can trigger hormonal changes that may contribute to acne development. Additionally, stress can exacerbate existing acne by promoting inflammation.

Environmental factors

Exposure to pollutants, high humidity, and certain cosmetic products can contribute to acne development or worsen existing acne.

Pressure and friction

Constant pressure or friction on the skin, such as from tight clothing, hats, or leaning on the face, can contribute to the development of acne lesions.

Preventing acne

Preventing and treating acne are two distinct approaches in managing this common skin condition, each serving a unique purpose in achieving clear and healthy skin. Prevention focuses on proactive measures to minimize the occurrence of acne, while treatment involves addressing existing lesions and managing their impact. 

Maintain a consistent skincare routine

Cleanse the face twice daily with a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser. Use lukewarm water when washing the face to avoid irritation.

Avoid harsh products

Choose skincare and makeup products labeled as non-comedogenic. Avoid products with excessive alcohol content, as they can strip the skin of natural oils.

Keep hair clean

Regularly wash hair, especially if it's oily, and keep it away from the face.

Hands off

Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands to prevent the spread of bacteria. Refrain from picking, squeezing, or popping pimples, as it can worsen inflammation and scarring.

Healthy diet

Maintain a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit the intake of sugary and processed foods.


Drink an adequate amount of water to keep the skin hydrated.

Sun protection

Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect the skin from UV rays. 

Treating acne

Over-the-counter (OTC) products

Use OTC topical treatments with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Follow product instructions and be consistent in application.

Prescription medications

Consult a dermatologist for prescription-strength topical or oral medications. Antibiotics, retinoids, and hormonal treatments may be prescribed based on the type and severity of acne.

Professional treatments

Consider professional treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy under the guidance of a dermatologist.

Birth control pills

For women with hormonal acne, oral contraceptives may help regulate hormones and improve skin condition.


Reserved for severe cases, isotretinoin is a powerful oral medication that can provide long-term improvement, but it has potential side effects and requires careful monitoring.

Lifestyle modifications

Manage stress through relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. Ensure regular exercise and adequate sleep.

Remember, individual responses to treatments can vary, and it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist for personalized advice based on the specific characteristics of your acne.

If you need more tailored advice, book Dermatology Consults with our team of experts on!

Last medically reviewed on February 6, 2024.