Common Acne Causes By William P. Baugh on October 30, 2020

Split photograph of woman’s face with one side with acne and one side clearMany adult patients are surprised when they experience bouts with acne since they associate the condition with teenagers. In reality, acne can affect individuals of all ages, and for some patients, it can be a recurring period throughout their life. Individuals often seek acne treatment to enhance their appearance and improve their self-esteem.

When patients come to Full Spectrum Dermatology in Fullerton, CA, Dr. William Baugh examines their skin to determine their condition. He then looks into the various acne causes to see what has led to an individual’s breakouts. From there, the doctor personalizes a treatment plan to leave you with blemish-free, healthier skin.

What are the Main Causes of Acne?

Acne often occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and too much oil. As a result, an individual will experience bumps that come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. While some individuals have mild acne, others can have moderate, severe, or cystic acne. Regardless of the type you may have, the common factors of breakouts are blocked hair follicles, excessive oil production, inflammation, and bacteria.

Blocked Hair Follicles

Hair naturally grows out of the skin’s follicles, which are small sacs. These follicles can become blocked by the very hairs that grow out of them. Oil and dead skin cells can also form a plug that becomes infected and swollen. Eventually, the plug begins to break down, and a pimple forms.

Excessive Oil Production

The hair follicles in the skin are connected to the oil glands beneath them. For some patients, the skin produces too much oil, or sebum, which can build up in the follicles. Consequently, the follicle expands, resulting in a whitehead or blackhead.


Once the follicle becomes blocked, inflammation can occur deep within the sac. As a result, the skin appears to have lumps and bumps beneath the surface of the skin. Some individuals may experience pain or discomfort with these types of breakouts.


A strain of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes is naturally found on the skin. However, it can cause acne once it turns the oil in the skin into fatty acids. This then leads to inflammation. Acne results when the enzymes in the fatty acids that normally prevent inflammation are deactivated. The skin cells produce chemicals that lead to acne-causing inflammation.

Secondary Causes

Other factors that can contribute to or exacerbate acne. Hormonal changes can cause increased production of sebum. A diet high in carbs can also make existing acne worse. For patients who already have breakouts, too much stress can lead to even more blemishes.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

For patients with acne, we offer various treatments in our Fullerton office. Dr. Baugh can prescribe topical treatments like creams and gels to treat existing breakouts and prevent future ones. Some individuals benefit from oral medications like antibiotics, which work for those with acne caused by bacteria.

We can also use procedures like microdermabrasion and chemical peels to increase exfoliation to remove damaged skin. Light therapy can target the bacteria that cause acne. Additionally, laser resurfacing can help minimize the appearance of scars caused by acne.

How Do I Prevent Acne?

While acne and breakouts are almost inevitable, there are certain things that patients can do to minimize breakouts. Keeping the skin clean is a critical step to removing bacteria, dirt, and oil that can lead to acne. Patients should follow a good skincare routine to maintain their skin, including moisturizing and using sunscreen. Dr. Baugh can recommend products specific to your skin needs.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are experiencing acne and want to seek treatment, please contact our Fullerton office at (714) 879-4312. You can also go online to schedule a consultation.

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William Baugh, M.D.

Full Spectrum Dermatology William Baugh, M.D.

Board-certified dermatologist William Baugh is dedicated to providing the best professional dermatological services. He is proud to be affiliated with the:

  • American Board of Dermatology (Diplomate)
  • American Academy of Dermatology (Fellow)
  • American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (Fellow)
  • American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (Fellow)
  • Orange County Medical Association
  • Christian Medical and Dental Society

For an appointment at Dr. Baugh's modern, spa-like practice, please contact us online or call (714) 879-4312.

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