Acne can be triggered or aggravated by any of the following:
- Hormones: During puberty androgen hormones in the body (in both boys and girls) cause sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. Women tend to experience fluctuations in hormones throughout their lives. Those with low amounts of androgens circulating in the blood can also contribute to worsening acne breakouts. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to acne breakouts, as well as those brought on with the use of some oral contraceptives (birth control pills – although some brands may also help to clear the skin). Any hormonal changes affecting sebum production in the body can result in mild or severe acne breakouts.
- Medications: Corticosteroids, androgens or lithium ingredients in certain medications can worsen acne.
- Diet: Certain dietary factors have been indicated in studies to trigger acne. Dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods (breads, bagels, chips) can play a role.
- Stress: Increased levels of stress can worsen acne breakouts.