What Causes Acne?

There are 4 factors that cause acne vulgaris.

These are the 4 main factors that cause acne:

  1. Too much oil production
  2. Overproduction of skin cells (Some people overproduce skin cells)
  3. Clogged pores
  4. Bacteria

To understand what acne is you can read more here.

Too much oil production

Overactive sebaceous glands.

When the sebaceous glands produce too much oil the skin pores can become blocked. This usually occurs during puberty.

The sex hormones which trigger pubertal changes also stimulate the sebaceous glands to make more oil. The acne from overactive sebaceous glands usually appears on the face, upper chest and back where the concentration of sebaceous glands is highest.

Overproduction of skin cells

Skin cells die and are constantly replaced. In fact, the outermost layer of your skin is nothing but dead cells.

Some people have an overproduction of new skin cells. The old skin cells die and are replaced with new ones.

This overproduction clogs up the unit. The hair shaft becomes capped and oil from the overactive sebaceous glands builds up.

Clogged Pores

This happens when excess oil mixes with dead skin cells to form a “plug.”¬†Excess oil and dead skin cells clog the skin pore.


Bacteria builds up in the blocked pore.

There is a certain type of bacteria named P.acnes that thrives on the oily sebum that is constantly produced on the skin.

These bacteria live on your skin. They are only a problem when a pore becomes blocked.

The body responds by sending cells to kill the bacteria, causing the pore and surrounding skin to turn red and swell (inflammation).


When your body produces too much oil and/or overproduces new skin cells it clogs the skin pores where the P.acne bacteria can thrive and cause inflammation. This results in acne.

More Information

What Is Acne?

How To Treat Acne