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William S. Ketcham, M.D.
Cathy M. Poole, FNP, DNCP
Crystal R. Thornton, FNP
Shelley K. Bunting, FNP
Lenore "Lee" Henry, LC, CMA
Serving Garner, Raleigh,
Cary, Smithfield, Clayton
and surrounding areas
Serving Cary, Garner, Clayton and Fuquay-Varina

What's Causing Your Acne?

Acne effects roughly 50 million people in the U.S. each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. So if you're experiencing more than a mild blemish here or there, you aren't alone. Even though acne can be more than annoying, dermatologists have plenty of treatment options. Before your appointment, taking some time to familiarize yourself with the condition and some of the possible causes can help to smooth the process and make understanding what the doctor is saying easier.

Keep in mind, not every patient has the exact same cause when it comes to acne. That said, knowing which one applies to you can help you to talk to the doctor and find the best treatment possible.

Overactive Oil Glands

Oil is natural and necessary to keep your skin healthy and moisturized. But when there's too much, it can clog your pores, build up and lead to a bacteria-filled environment on your skin.

Oil itself won't cause acne. But when your body overproduces it, it can. This is where management comes in. If you have oily skin that's clogging your pores and causing you problems, the dermatologist will develop a treatment plan that helps you to minimize the amount of oil that's sitting on your skin.

While many over-the-counter products claim to reduce oil and clear your skin, some of these may be irritating. Irritation on its own won't cause acne, but it can make it worse, leading to red marks and pain or an uncomfortable feeling. Your dermatologist can help you to find the right product for your skin - one that helps to control the oil issue but doesn't leave you with a chapped, red face.


The image of the acne-faced teenager going through puberty is a common picture of the relationship between acne and hormones.

Even though the rush of hormones that happens during puberty can certainly be the culprit behind a teenager's acne, adolescents aren't the only age group that has to deal with this type of issue. Some women experience acne during menstrual-related hormone shifts. If this is the case, the woman may notice oilier skin (and more pimples) midcycle as the hormone progesterone rises.

Hormones are also often the reason behind pregnancy-related acne. Again, the fluctuating hormones cause changes (such as excess oil production) that result in temporary acne. Many women who have acne during pregnancy notice a gradual clearing as their post-baby bodies start going back to the pre-pregnancy state.

Treatments for hormone-related acne vary. Women who aren't pregnant often experience help from hormonal birth-control pills. Pregnant women, and obviously males, can't reap the benefits of being on the pill. In these cases, the dermatologist will have to look at other options, such as topical products.


Your mental state can influence you physically. Stress is the sneaky reason behind plenty of physical issues, ranging from headaches to stomach troubles. But it doesn't stop there. Stress can make acne worse, giving you more breakouts. Even though there has been research on the effects that stress has on acne, science hasn't come to any answers as to why it increases oil production or worsens it.

A major part of treating stress-related acne is controlling the stress itself. Managing stress may include getting to the root of the problem (whatever is causing the stress), meditation, visualization, other relaxation techniques or seeing a psychological professional. If the stress is temporary, you may notice a reduction in your acne after the situation that is causing it resolves.

Do you need help handling acne? Azalea Skin Treatment Center can offer you a wide range of effective treatment options.‚Äč