What doesn't cause acne?
These factors DON'T cause acne, at least by themselves:
Heredity: Except for very severe acne, most people don't have the problem just the way their parents did. Besides, some degree of acne is almost universal, so you'd expect to have more than one relative that has been affected at some point.
Food: All over the world, parents tell teens to avoid pizza, chocolate, greasy and fried foods, and junk foods. While these foods may not be good for overall health, they don't make acne worse.
Dirt: Oil is a natural secretion of the oil glands, though some people are naturally oilier than others. "Blackheads" are oxidized oil, not dirt. Sweat from exercise, whether washed off promptly or not, also doesn't cause acne. On the other hand, excessive washing can dry and irritate the skin.
Stress: Some people get so upset by their pimples that they pick at them and make them last longer. Stress, however, does not play much of a direct role in causing acne. The good news is that to improve the acne, people would not be required to calm down and reduce stress, unless it is causing them to pick at their skin.
Hormones: Some women break out cyclically, but most women (and all men!) don't. Likewise, hormone tests and treatments aren't much help. (See below.)
When should you start to treat acne?
Since everyone gets acne at some time, there is no "correct" time to treat it. The best advice is to take action when you think it's out of control. This can be when severe acne flares suddenly, mild acne that just won't quit, or even when a single pimple decides to show up the week before your prom or wedding. The decision is yours.
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