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Acne: Its Causes and How to Prevent It

Acne: Its Causes and How to Prevent It

Get the full scoop on acne prevention and treatment.
22 Oct 2021

What is acne?

Before we dive into care and prevention, we have to get back to basics and ask: What is acne anyway? Acne occurs when your pores become blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells and dirt. When sebum (oil produced by the skin) is unable to escape your pores, bacteria can begin to grow, leading to the development of acne. It can appear anywhere on the body, but the most common types are forehead acne, back acne, butt acne, chin acne and cheek acne. Acne can also present itself in many forms, like blackheads, whiteheads, pustules and cysts.

The main causes of acne

Aside from oily skin and clogged pores, some other common causes are hormonal (acne caused by hormonal imbalances that occur as a result of stress, menstrual cycles, menopause and more) and foods that cause acne. (Diet or food consumption as a factor in acne production is still a debate amongst the medical community; some studies link high glycemic index diets or diets high in sugar or carbohydrates to acne, but research is not conclusive.) A new cause of acne is wearing a mask. Known as maskne or “acne mechanica,” it can be a real issue for those with oily, acne-prone or combination skin. That’s because this type of acne arises at sites of friction, pressure or rubbing, causing irritation and inflammation of the hair follicles, so you may notice an increase in acne around your nose, mouth and chin.

Adapt your skincare routine

If you know you have acne-prone, oily or combination skin, it’s important to customize a skincare routine to care for acne-prone skin. This includes using a gentle, purifying cleanser and pore-unclogging ingredients like salicylic acid as well as wearing an SPF. We recommend the following skincare routine for acne-prone skin:


Start with a gentle purifying cleanser, like Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, to remove impurities and bacteria that thrive in oily conditions.


Next, use an exfoliator with an astringent action to unclog pores and reduce their size, such as Effaclar Astringent Micro-Exfoliating Lotion.


Using salicylic acid, the beloved beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by penetrating the skin and dissolving the dead skin cells that clog pores, is a proven way to treat and prevent acne. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Global Acne Treatment is an excellent way to use salicylic acid to treat existing pimples as well as prevent new ones from forming. It works to keep pores clear of dead skin cells and excess oil.


Protecting your skin from daily UV exposure and sun damage is a great way to keep your skin barrier healthy and prevent acne.

What else can I do to prevent acne?

  • Don’t touch or pick at your skin.
  • Wash your face twice a day (especially after exercising or sweating) to get rid of excess oil, dirt, makeup and debris.
  • Choose non-comedogenic makeup that won’t clog your pores, such as La Roche-Posay Flawless Creator Lightweight Foundation.
  • Remove your makeup every night.
  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Minimize stress.

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