What Are the Causes of Sudden and Severe Acne Breakouts?


Acne is thought of as a teenage condition, but it can be troublesome at any age. In fact, some people might go acne-free for years and then one day wake up to a major breakout. This can be alarming and quite upsetting to the self-esteem. There are treatments to help handle the situation, but knowing the root cause can be helpful in the approach.


While acne is not caused by uncleanliness, it can be caused by a build up of bacteria on the skin, which is trapped by oil and dead skin cells. This bacteria is called propionibacteria acnes and is known to cause acne breakouts.

Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you are much more likely to develop a sudden breakout than someone who does not. The excess oil can clog pores and trap bacteria there, causing a blemish to develop, seemingly overnight. There are facial cleansers and treatments available to help normalize oily skin, but it will likely take your skin time to adjust.

Dead Skin Cells

Dead skin is present on the surface of our skin at all times. But when too many of those dead skin cells build up, they can get trapped in hair follicles. When this happens, a new blemish will appear. Usually, it is the combination of dead skin cells and oil that creates the environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive.

Hormone Fluctuations

Sudden breakouts can happen because of drastic shifts in hormones. This is especially the case in women. For instance, a woman that is about to have her period is likely to suffer from a breakout. Also, women who are pregnant or approaching menopause tend to suffer from severe breakouts that appear as if from nowhere. Men can also suffer form hormonally-caused breakouts, but this usually occurs during puberty, when bodily levels of testosterone are high.

What Doesn't Cause Severe Acne

Now that you know what does cause severe acne breakouts, let's lay to rest some of the myths about the causes of acne. Acne is not caused by eating too many sugary foods. It is not caused by drinking soda or coffee. It is not caused by failing to clean your skin and people with acne are not dirty.

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