Acne Home > Causes of Acne

Several factors are thought to be possible causes of acne. For example, hormonal changes, certain drugs, heredity, and greasy makeup could all contribute to the condition. While chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, foods seem to have little effect on the development and course of acne in most people.

What Causes Acne?

The exact cause of acne is unknown, but doctors believe it results from several related factors. These factors include:
  • The increase in hormones during the teenage years (this can cause oil glands to plug up more often)
  • Hormone changes during pregnancy
  • Starting or stopping birth control pills
  • Heredity (if your parents had acne, you might get it too)
  • Some types of medicine
  • Greasy makeup.


One important factor in acne is an increase in hormones called androgens (male sex hormones). These increase in both boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or starting or stopping birth control pills can also cause acne.
Another possible acne cause is heredity or genetics. Researchers believe that the tendency to develop acne can be inherited from parents. For example, studies have shown that many school-age boys with acne have a family history of the disorder.
Certain drugs, including androgens and lithium, are known to cause acne.
Greasy cosmetics can also cause this condition. Acne research scientists believe greasy cosmetics may alter the cells of the follicles and make them stick together, producing a plug.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.