What Causes Breakouts?

What Causes Breakouts?

Breakouts can be annoying, painful and damaging to our self-esteem. Most of us have had the pleasure of experiencing them at some point in our lives, but for those of us who struggle with prolonged bouts of acne, the problem can be even more frustrating.

It’s important to understand what type of break outs you’re experiencing and what’s causing them, so you can find the most suitable and effective treatments. We’ve explored the key causes and triggers below so you can begin your journey to healthy, clear skin.

Causes and Triggers

Genetic Makeup

Studies suggest that you’re more likely to struggle with breakouts if your direct relatives have suffered from acne. Skin types are passed down through your genes and play a key part in how your skin responds to your hormones and how well it deals with sebum (oil), bacteria, anti-inflammatory properties and the re-generation of skin cells.


One of the biggest culprits of acne is fluctuations in your hormones. Across a variety of ages, hormones and hormonal imbalances can lead to detrimental effects on our skin. Read more about how your acne can vary as you age here.

For women, acne usually appears in the later stages of the menstrual cycle, so a week before or even during your period. It can also appear after starting a new form of birth control, hormone replacement therapy through menopause, or as a result of fluctuating hormones and conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Androgens (male sex hormones) can fluctuate in level when compounded with stress, fatigue and lack of skin care. Androgens are the worst perpetrators for causing bad skin because they stimulate growth of the sebaceous glands and increase sebum levels, making skin oily and causing severe congestion known as hyperkeratinisation. This condition means dead skin cells don’t slough off naturally and instead clog the skin’s pores. Cue the entry of bacteria and acne appears as the star of the show.


Though less of a factor than genetics and hormones, your lifestyle can certainly be reflected in your skin. Poor cleansing (or over cleansing), dehydration, stress, smoking, poor diet and abrasive product use can all be detrimental to your skin.

Types of acne

Some spots can be more troublesome or obvious than others, most appearing on our face while some appearing all over our body. It’s important to identify your acne type so that you can ensure you’re not mistaking it for other potential skin conditions.

We’ve put together a list of common offenders below:

  • Blackheads – Small dark spots
  • Cystic Acne – Usually painful, larger pus-filled spots.
  • Nodules – Hard and under the surface of your skin.
  • Whitehead – Small white raised bumps.
  • Pustules – On the surface red pimples with pus.
  • Papules – Pink, smaller bumps on top of the skins surface.
  • Body Breakouts – Any of the above descriptions but outside of the facial area, with
    typical places including back, neck, chest and shoulders.

Preventative Measures

It’s important for people to understand that acne is a skin disease, and it needs to be treated as one. Our skin is an effective barrier against dirt, infection and pathogens, which is designed to beat skin disease at its own game. We’re born with our own unique skin microflora of bacteria that builds our immunity and keeps skin healthy.

Just like our gut microflora, the good bacteria and matter that make up our skin microflora, known collectively as your microbiome, needs to be preserved.

There are many lifestyle changes that can be made to improve your skin’s health and enhance its ability to self-heal.

These include:

  • Keeping your gut balance and microflora healthy through fermented foods and Kefir which helps replenish beneficial bacteria. These naturally combat the inflammatory effects of antibiotics, sugar, alcohol and processed foods which reduce your immunity.
  • Stimulating your lymph system through exercise, drinking more water and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Experimenting with cutting dairy out of your diet and try to incorporate Evening Primrose Oil, zinc and vitamin B6.
  • Limiting stress and getting more sleep.
  • Quitting smoking – this will enhance your skins ability to heal.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Keeping your hair out of your face to avoid it from touching your face.
  • Using water based, nonalcoholic cosmetics.
  • Taking off your make-up every night and using a gentle, natural cleanser and moisturizer. Stay clear from abrasive, artificial products that could aggravate your skin.

How Atopis Can help

Some of you may be all too familiar with the hopeless feeling of having tried everything and failing to see any improvements to your skin. Try to remain patient through this process, your skin requires around 8 weeks to fully respond to new treatments or products.

When choosing your skin care products, we highly recommend sticking to natural and non-abrasive products such as our all Natural Acne Cream. Based on award-winning international research and successful clinical trials, Dr Iona Weir has formulated safe, natural products to help unlock skin’s own immunity and assist self-repair.

Atopis Acne Prone Skin Cream helps treat acne by limiting overstimulation and moderates the hormone receptors of the skin’s sebaceous glands. It rebuilds your skin through moisturising, controlling sebum levels and preventing that old villain, hyperkeratinisation.

Meanwhile, the probiotic peptides in Atopis, work to restore your skin’s friendly bacteria microbiome, just like probiotics in the gut.

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To find out more about our products and how they work click the links below.