Acne is a skin disease which, especially in its severe form, can have significant psychological repercussions. It is often attributed to adolescence, yet it can be suffered at any age. Why ?


Hormones play an important role in acne.

At the time of puberty, the sex hormones increase, in particular the androgen hormones, which has the effect of producing a greater quantity of sebum. This increase in sebum production creates a breeding ground for Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that feed on it.

Many women also see acne pimples appear when their period approaches, when they take a contraceptive pill or, on the contrary, when they stop it. In the same way, pregnancy and menopause can be responsible for the appearance of acne pimples.

 The genetic ground

It seems that genetic background plays a role in acne and that this skin disease is more common in some families than in others.

Similarly, the risk of developing a severe form of acne seems to increase when there is a history of severe acne in close family.


The role of diet in the development of acne is controversial.

According to the various studies on the subject, diet would have a role to play on acne, but only when the latter is already present.

A diet with a high glycemic index and frequent consumption of dairy products would be the main factors that could be involved without the link being clearly established.

On the other hand, the modern western diet in general could have a responsibility in the appearance of acne.

Indeed, in the West, acne affects about 80% of adolescents and 25% of adults. While among the Aché Indians of Paraguay or the inhabitants of the island of Kitavan, in Papua New Guinea, acne hardly exists. Same thing for the Alaskan Inuits who would have developed acne only since they eat Western food. According to some experts, the key to this healthy skin is: their diet, free of all processed products


Some drugs are known to cause acne, we can mention:

  • corticosteroids;
  • lithium;
  • immunosuppressants;
  • antiepileptics;
  • certain contraceptives;
  • certain anti-tuberculosis drugs;
  • certain antibiotics;
  • some antidepressants.

Drug-induced acne is reversible once treatment is stopped, talk to your doctor

The lifestyle

Our work, sport or the products we put on our skin can also cause acne.

Thus, workers exposed to certain industrial chemicals clogging the pores of the skin or employees of kitchens where there are vats filled with frying oil can develop acne.

Similarly, repeated use of greasy or oily products, such as creams that are too greasy, can have the same effect.

Finally, the use of anabolic steroids to increase muscle or profuse sweating sometimes causes acne.

 Stress, a controversial role

There is an undeniable link between stress and skin problems.

On the other hand, the link between acne and stress is very controversial and has not been clearly demonstrated.

We know, however, that stress can have an influence on hormones. It could therefore also influence the development of acne.

 A link between acne and depression?

According to several studies, there seems to be a link between acne and certain mental disorders.

Indeed, in a study carried out in 2001, dermatologists showed that in 50 acne patients, 38% suffered from depression.

In another study, published in the Journal of Dermatology in 2010, it was noted that out of 82 acne patients, 68% had been diagnosed with anxiety or depression disorders.