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Florida Dermatologist FAQ's: What causes acne?Acne refers to undesirable blemishes that develop on the face and may occur at any time for various reasons. Acne breakouts usually occur at a younger age. 

But now acne is increasingly becoming an issue even among adults. Stubborn acne problems require an individualized treatment approach to accomplish long-lasting outcomes.

Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides safe and proven skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, and surrounding locations in Florida.

Acne Factors 

Four main dermatology factors that contribute to acne are as follows:

  • Blocked pores
  • Excess oil production in the skin
  • Dead skin cells
  • Bacteria build-up

Acne usually develops on the face, chest, neck, back, and shoulders. These areas have the highest number of sebaceous glands that generate oil. Acne develops when the hair follicles get clogged with dead skin cells and oil. Hair follicles and oil glands are connected. The skin and hair receive lubrication from the secretion of these glands.

This secretion is known as sebum, and it usually travels along the hair shafts and through the openings of the hair follicle onto the surface of the skin. 

When there is excessive sebum production, it can combine with dead skin cells to accumulate in the hair follicles. This creates a soft plug and an optimal environment for bacteria to thrive. If the bacteria infect the plugged pores, inflammation will occur. 

The follicle wall may bulge due to the blocked pore, causing a whitehead or a blackhead. Acne appears as elevated red spots with a while center, which develops when inflammation or infection occurs within the clogged hair follicles. Inflammation and blockages that develop deep within hair follicles create cyst-like lumps underneath the skin’s surface.

Factors that Aggravate Acne


Both boys and girls experience an increased production of androgen hormones during puberty. Due to this hormone, the sebaceous glands become enlarged, and there is an increased production of sebum.  

Certain Types of Medications

Some drugs containing androgens, corticosteroids, or lithium can make acne worse. 


Several research studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods, may trigger acne. Chocolate has long been thought to worsen acne. In a research study with 14 men with acne, it was found that eating chocolate was associated with an increase in acne. 


Increased levels of stress or emotional upheavals may also worsen acne.

What does not Cause Acne?

Many individuals wrongly believe that oily or greasy foods, dirty skin, or cosmetics cause the development of acne. However, consuming greasy or oily food has little or no effect on acne. Also, dirt in the skin does not cause acne. 

In fact, it is important for patients to avoid scrubbing the skin vigorously or cleansing with harsh soaps as skin irritation may make acne worse. It’s also prudent to use makeup that is oil-free to avoid pore blockage. 

Dr. Ewanowski’s skin care clinic receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, and nearby areas in Florida for advanced and innovative skin care procedures.

SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.