Acne is a skin condition that can affect both men and women. While acne, also known as blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts, is most common during puberty and adolescence if you’re thinking that you’ve passed your teens and can now look forward to a pimple-free life, think again. Acne can, in fact, affect people of all age groups. Blame it on hormonal fluctuations, especially during puberty and pregnancy, medications containing corticosteroids or oral contraceptive pills, or a diet high in refined sugars or carbohydrates, or stress.

Your skin has small holes (pores) that are connected to the oil glands lying under the skin through follicles. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance. When these follicles get clogged, it leads to the outbreak of acne. The reason acne occurs more around puberty or at the time of hormonal changes is because there is excess secretion of oil.

What causes acne or pimples?

At times, acne or pimples are simply a result of a reaction to a cosmetic product. And yes what you eat could be the culprit too. Additionally, there is also a common notion that not drinking enough water can cause acne. While all this can aggravate the acne-problem, there are several other factors too.

1. Genetic

If either of your parents had acne, it is more likely that you too will develop it sooner or later in life.

2. Hormonal

Sex hormones called androgens increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the follicular glands to enlarge and make more sebum thereby leading to acne. Many medical conditions can also induce a high-androgen state. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.

3. Drugs

Certain medications are known to have worsened acne. These include steroids and anticonvulsant medications.

4. Smoking

You know that smoking is injurious to health, but did you know that it is also bad for the skin? With every cigarette that you smoke, there is a decrease in oxygen supply to the face. The smoke also irritates the skin causing it to produce more oil and possibly result in breakouts.

Tips to get rid of pimples

Here are some everyday practices that might be triggering your acne.

1. Touching your face frequently

What you're doing wrong

While touching your face may or may not cause acne, it definitely does make it worse. In our daily routine, our hands come into contact with germs, bacteria and dirt, which are all then easily transferred onto the face due to repetitive touching. This habit can trigger breakouts and make pimples worse.

How to fix it

Keep your hands off your face. Though you might be tempted to itch or meddle with the affected area, refrain from doing so. Besides, it’s always good to wash your hands from time to time or keep a sanitizer handy.

2. Following an unhealthy diet

What you're doing wrong

balanced diet, consisting of essential minerals and nutrients, is not only good for your health but also your skin. Eating junk food, carbs and not eating on time can all have adverse effects on the skin in the form of pimples and breakouts.

How to fix it

While it’s occasionally okay to indulge in junk food, try incorporating fruits and vegetables to help regularise your diet. Don't forget to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water daily.

3.Taking stress

What you're doing wrong

A major reason for acne is stress. When under pressure, the sensitive skin produces stress hormones that stimulate oil glands producing more testosterone thereby resulting in increased oil production and clogged pores.

How to fix it

Make sure you spend at least 15 to 20 minutes every day doing yoga or mediation. This will help rejuvenate your body and mind which in turn helps bring down your stress levels.

4. Not using the right hair products

What you're doing wrong

The hair products that you use on a daily basis, from your shampoo, conditioner to sprays, gels, etc. contain products like sulfates, silicones, and other chemical agents that might be harmful to the skin and trigger acne.

How to fix it

Try not to let these hair products come in contact with your skin. After using these products, clean your face, neck and chest area and ensure no residue is left behind. Dandruff too can be another major culprit. Therefore, make sure that you wash your hair from time to time and comb your hair backwards. It also helps to have your hair tied back so that any product you use on your hair doesn't irritate your facial skin too much.

5. Not washing your face properly

What you're doing wrong

It is important to use well-medicated cleansers twice a day, but hard cleansers and washing too frequently can make the acne worse and face drier. Sleeping with makeup on or not washing your face after a sweaty day, also results in an acne breakout.

How to fix it

Keep your face clean and wash it once or twice a day with mild soap or face wash. Make sure to wash your face with a cleanser every night before going to bed. In case you have been affected by acne, then skip the facial scrub. Wipe your skin with an astringent or toner to remove the oil from your skin from time to time. Make sure that any item that comes in direct contact with your face be it towels, or makeup brushes, are washed regularly. This ensures that all the germ buildup on such items gets rinsed out, and doesn't get transferred to your face. Use separate towels for your hair and face.

6. Not changing the pillowcases

What you're doing wrong

Dirty pillowcases and bedsheets can very well be the cause of acne breakouts. Dirty bedding can cause dirt to settle on our face and skin and end up in clogging pores. The cleaner your bedding, the happier your skin will be.

How to fix it

Try changing your pillow cover once in four days. Moreover, it's best to choose a pillow cover that is made out of natural fabric.

7. Using the wrong detergent

What you're doing wrong

While you may not take this to be quite the reason, but some chemicals in your laundry detergent can actually be too harsh for the skin. Your skin might then react to the residue left behind on the fabric, resulting in breakouts on your face and other body parts.

How to fix it

If you are baffled about the cause of your acne, you might want to consider changing your detergent.

8. Not cleaning up after workouts

What you're doing wrong

Sweating loosens up all the grime and makeup (if applied) on the face and if it is not removed properly, it might clog the pores resulting in acne breakouts.

How to fix it

Never skip washing and cleansing your face and body after an intense or sweaty workout session. Just a quick splash of water will not do the trick, instead, use a mild face wash.

9. Using the wrong skincare products

What you're doing wrong

Using hygiene products that are not suitable for your skin type can actually wreak havoc on your skin. Besides, if you’re someone who switches products quite frequently, note that this habit can actually cause a lot of harm to your skin. The ingredients in every new product can irritate your skin and cause pimples and breakouts. Moreover, greasy, oil-based makeup can also cause pimples.

How to fix it

Stick a particular brand once you’ve found something that suits your skin. Make sure your skin gets to breathe. Refrain from always using makeup to cover up the acne. In case you can’t do without makeup, use water-based cosmetics instead. Always look for natural products since chemicals can cause an acne breakout.

10. Popping your pimples

What you're doing wrong

Fidgeting with a pimple causes irritation, pain and discomfort. In the active stage, acne can be irritating, with pus etc. Touching or poking it only leads to inflammation and will leave marks or scars, referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

How to fix it

If you get an acne outbreak once in a while, use a retinoid cream or an antibiotic cream which will help dry the pimples. Certain topical applications available over the counter can make your skin photosensitive. So make sure you use a sunscreen when you’re using a retinoid cream.

Natural ways to prevent acne or Pimples

1. Cut down on caffeine, sugar and refined carbohydrates, all of which can activate the hormones that encourage your sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which in turn contributes to acne.

2. Stock up on fresh fruit and green leafy vegetable. Top zit-fighters include carrots, celery, apples and ginger. Throw them into a salad or blend them into a smoothie!


Loaded with antioxidants that prevent blocking of pores, this fruit can definitely give you clean and clear skin. Eat a bowlful of pomegranate seeds or squeeze them into some refreshing juice that can open up those pores and let your skin breathe.


This fruit contains enzymes which can help rejuvenate your skin. Eat a few slices of raw papaya for breakfast or as a quick snack to help repair the damage done to your skin by dust and pollution.


These are rich in salicylic acid which helps keep the skin clean and fresh. It’s not for nothing that most face washes have strawberry as their main ingredient. They nip acne in the bud and stop those ugly bumps from imploding all over your face.


These and other citrus fruits are rich sources of antioxidants that help detoxify the skin from deep within by reducing excessive estrogen. Moreover, the vitamin C content in these fruits is also high and helps keep oil and grime at bay, thereby preventing acne at the outset.

3. Increase the intake of anti-oxidant rich foods such as green tea, aloe vera juice, etc. Try to incorporate at least three portions each of the following into your weekly diet: carrots (for beta carotene), fish (for essential fatty acids), avocados (for vitamin E), and pomegranates (to fortify blood).

4. Cut down on metabolism-busting factors like deep-fried or starchy foods, yeast products, sweets, alcohol and caffeine. You could substitute white bread for whole-wheat whenever possible.

5. Avoid spicy food, fried food, fermented food, salt and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits.

6. Drink lots of water, eight to ten glasses, so that your system is well hydrated and the toxins from your body are flushed out. You can also put it a few leaves of neem or tulsi so that it keeps your stomach clean.

7. Feel like nothing can go wrong on this perfect skin day? Think again. Acne can hit you any time and those unseemly bumps can put a downer on any look you put together. So, while you look at your favourite celebrities and wonder how they could have such smooth skin, take some time out to make a few changes to your diet. We pick five fruits that fight acne and give you flawless skin. Thank us later.

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