Your Cart

Double Sale: $15 off any 3 items + Free US Shipping +$50, CODE: "15on3"

Need help choosing the right kit?

Our Skin Profile Quiz can help recommend a kit that best addresses your skin’s unique concerns


Want to order by phone or have questions about our products?

Our skincare experts are here to help 7am-3pm PT Monday - Friday



Sign into your account to track & manage orders or update your account info below.


Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


The Acne Conundrum: Unraveling the Mystery of What Causes Acne

Acne is a common skin condition affecting millions of people worldwide, making it a concern for many. But what causes acne? The answer is more complex than one might think.

While most people believe that acne is caused by excess oil and clogged pores, many factors contribute to the development of this frustrating skin issue.

In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of acne, including its primary causes, how to identify them, and tips for managing and preventing breakouts. Let's unravel the mystery of what causes acne together!

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Acne is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, hormonal fluctuations, stress, diet, and poor skincare habits, making it crucial to address the root causes for effective management.

  • Prevention strategies, such as maintaining a consistent skincare routine, managing stress, and eating a balanced diet, can help control acne and reduce future breakouts.

  • Alternative and prescription acne treatments, like topical retinoids and laser resurfacing, may be necessary for those with moderate to severe acne who do not find relief with over-the-counter solutions.

  • Exposed Skin Care is a popular, gentle, and effective solution for managing various types of acne, using a combination of natural ingredients and science-backed formulas to target multiple factors that contribute to breakouts.

Woman worrying about acne

The Science Behind Acne

Understanding the Skin's Anatomy

To comprehend what causes acne, it's essential first to understand the skin's anatomy. Our skin consists of three primary layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat layer.

The outermost layer, the epidermis, is composed of dead skin cells that are continually shed to make room for new ones.

The dermis, on the other hand, contains hair follicles, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, an oily substance that keeps the surface of the skin moisturized and protected.

The Acne Formation Process

Acne occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with excess sebum and dead skin cells. Bacteria, specifically Propionibacterium acnes, can then multiply within the clogged follicle, leading to inflammation and the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

However, not all acne is the same, and the severity and type of acne can vary significantly from person to person.

The Primary Factors Behind Acne


Genetics plays a crucial role in determining what causes acne. If your parents or siblings have experienced acne, you are also more likely to develop it.

Genetic factors can influence the size and activity of your sebaceous glands, making you more prone to excessive oil production and breakouts.

A mother and her children taking pictures

Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal changes can also contribute to acne development, especially during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Androgens, such as testosterone, can cause sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, increasing the likelihood of clogged pores develop acne and breakouts.


Stress is another factor that can exacerbate acne. When stressed, your body produces more cortisol, a hormone that can increase oil production and inflammation, ultimately leading to acne breakouts.

Woman experiencing stress due to work


Although the connection between diet and acne is still a subject of ongoing research, certain foods have been linked to acne breakouts. These include:

  • High-glycemic foods, such as white bread, pasta, and sugary snacks

  • Dairy products, particularly skim milk

  • Fast food and processed foods

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins may help reduce the risk of developing acne.

Poor Skin Care Habits

Improper skin care can also contribute to acne. Some common mistakes that worsen acne include:

  • Over-washing or scrubbing the skin

  • Using harsh or abrasive skin care products

  • Not removing makeup before bed

  • Picking at or squeezing pimples

Developing a gentle and consistent skincare routine can help keep your skin healthy and reduce the likelihood of breakouts.

Tips for Managing and Preventing Acne Breakouts

Now that we better understand what causes acne, let's explore some tips for managing and preventing breakouts.

Establish a Consistent Skincare Routine

A consistent skincare routine is essential for keeping your skin healthy and acne-free. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Cleanse: Gently wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser, making sure to remove makeup before bedtime.

  • Exfoliate: Use a gentle exfoliant 1-2 times weekly to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.

  • Tone: Apply a toner suitable for your skin type to balance your skin's pH and remove any remaining impurities.

  • Moisturize: Even oily skin needs hydration. Choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer that won't clog your pores.

  • Protect: Wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that can exacerbate acne and cause premature aging.

Exposed Skin Care Body Kit

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can also help prevent acne breakouts. Some lifestyle changes to consider include:

  • Managing stress: Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, or regular exercise.

  • Eating a balanced diet: Focus on consuming whole foods rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

  • Staying hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help flush toxins from your body and maintain skin health.

  • Getting enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support your skin's natural repair processes.

A person having along sleep

Avoid Common Acne Triggers

Identify and avoid potential acne triggers in your environment, including:

  • Irritating skin care products or makeup

  • Touching your face frequently

  • Wearing tight clothing or headgear that can trap sweat and oil against your skin

  • Using dirty makeup brushes or cell phones can transfer bacteria to your face

A woman using a make up brush on her face

Factors that Cause Acne

While we have already discussed some of the primary factors behind acne, it is essential to delve deeper into specific risk factors that can cause acne.

By understanding the circumstances under which acne develops, you can take proactive steps to maintain clear, healthy skin.

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors can make an individual more susceptible to developing acne. These include:

  • Hormonal fluctuations: Increases in male hormones (androgens) can cause excess sebum production, leading to acne.

  • Medications: Some medications, such as corticosteroids, can contribute to acne development.

  • Genetics: A family history of acne increases your likelihood of developing the condition.

  • Dirty skin: Although dirty skin doesn't directly cause acne, not properly cleansing your skin can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

Alternative and Prescription Acne Treatments

For some individuals, over-the-counter acne treatments may not provide satisfactory results. In these cases, alternative or prescription acne treatments can be considered.

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment to ensure it is appropriate for your specific skin conditions and needs.

Prescription Acne Treatments

Prescription acne treatments can effectively combat acne, particularly for those with moderate to severe acne. Some common prescription treatments include:

  • Topical retinoids: These vitamin A derivatives help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.

  • Azelaic acid: This naturally occurring acid helps kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.

  • Oral antibiotics: Antibiotics can be prescribed to control acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.

  • Oral contraceptives: Certain birth control pills can help regulate hormonal fluctuations contributing to acne. However, it is crucial to note that some oral contraceptives may cause severe birth defects, so discussing this option with a healthcare professional is essential.

A woman talking about contraceptives

Alternative Acne Treatments

For those seeking non-traditional acne treatments, there are several options available:

  • Photodynamic therapy: This treatment involves using light to activate a topical medication that kills acne-causing bacteria and shrinks oil glands.

  • Chemical peels: Professionally administered chemical peels can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation.

  • Laser therapy: Certain laser treatments can help control surface bacteria, reduce inflammation, and stimulate collagen production, promoting healthier skin.

By exploring these alternative and prescription acne treatments, you can find an approach that best suits your needs and helps control acne effectively.

Experience the Benefits of Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

Exposed Skin Care is a popular and effective solution for managing acne, offering numerous benefits for those struggling with painful pimples, moderate acne, or more severe acne. By incorporating natural ingredients and science-backed formulas, Exposed Skin Care products can help you achieve clearer, healthier skin.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Targets different types of acne: Exposed Skin Care is suitable for various acne types, whether you're dealing with moderate acne or more severe acne.

  • Combats multiple causes of acne: This product line tackles multiple factors that clog pores and lead to breakouts, addressing the root causes of acne.

  • Gentle yet effective: The Exposed Skin Care system is designed to be gentle on your skin while delivering powerful acne-fighting results.

  • Natural ingredients: These products combine natural ingredients and scientifically proven compounds, ensuring a balanced and effective approach to acne treatment.

While it's essential to understand and diagnose and treat acne's underlying causes, incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your skincare routine can be a game-changer in managing breakouts.

With a comprehensive approach that targets various factors that contribute to acne, this range of acne treatments can help you achieve the clear, healthy skin you've always desired.


Acne is a skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be frustrating and challenging to manage, but with the right knowledge and approach, you can control acne effectively and achieve clear, healthy skin.

Understanding the factors contributing to acne development, such as genetics, hormonal fluctuations, stress, and diet, is crucial in determining the best course of action for your needs.

It's important to remember that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for acne, and various treatments, including topical retinoids, laser resurfacing, and photodynamic therapy, may be more effective for some individuals than others.

In addition, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a consistent skincare routine, managing stress, and avoiding greasy foods can also play a significant role in controlling breakouts.

By exploring a range of treatments, from over-the-counter products like Exposed Skin Care to prescription medications and alternative options like laser resurfacing, you can find an approach that works best for your specific skin type and condition.

Furthermore, being aware of risk factors and implementing preventive measures can help you minimize the likelihood of developing acne in the first place.

Ultimately, the key to managing acne lies in understanding its root causes and addressing them through targeted treatments and healthy lifestyle choices. With persistence and dedication, you can take control of your acne and enjoy the clear, radiant skin you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What causes acne?

Acne is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, hormonal fluctuations, stress, diet, and poor skincare habits. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with excess sebum and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation and the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Can diet affect acne?

Although research on the relationship between diet and acne is ongoing, certain foods, such as high-glycemic foods, dairy products, and fast food have been linked to acne breakouts. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins may help reduce the risk of acne.

How can I prevent acne breakouts?

Establish a consistent skincare routine, make healthy lifestyle choices, and avoid common acne triggers to prevent acne breakouts. This includes gently cleansing and moisturizing your skin, managing stress, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and avoiding irritating skin care products or habits that can contribute to breakouts.

Is it possible to completely cure acne?

While no permanent cure for acne exists, it can be effectively managed and controlled with the right approach. By understanding what causes acne and implementing a consistent skincare routine, making a healthy lifestyle