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Pimples is not a result of not washing your face. It can be triggered by hormone imbalances.

  • It is a sebaceous gland disorder, where hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dirt.
  • When the pimple-causing bacteria reacts with the clogged pores, pimples are formed.

It’s a fact. Almost everyone has faced pimples before. But what many don’t realize is that hormones and genetics play a part in triggering pimples, and not questionable hygiene standards.

According to skin experts, the real reason why teenagers get severe pimples is hormone changes during puberty. And causes of pimples also explains why, as adults, stress — which can cause hormone imbalance — can lead to pimple breakouts.


Pimples happen when pores become clogged with sebum and dead skin. Sometimes this leads to infection and inflammation. Why they affect some people more than others is largely unknown.

The sebaceous glands and pimples

The sebaceous glands are tiny skin glands that secrete sebum, a waxy or oily substance that lubricates the skin and hair.

Sebaceous glands are found inside the pores of our skin, which can causes of pimples all over the body, except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. There are more sebaceous glands on the face and scalp than elsewhere.

As the glands produce sebum inside the pores, new skin cells are constantly growing, and the outer layers of skin are being shed.

Sometimes, dead skin cells are not shed. They remain in the pores and get stuck together by the sticky sebum, causing a blockage in the pore.

Pore blockage is more likely to occur during puberty, as the sebaceous glands produce more sebum at this time.

Bacterial infection

Where sebum and dead skin cells accumulate and block a pore, this encourages the growth of undesirable bacteria, including Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), a slow-growing bacterium linked to acne.

Propionibacterium acnes exists harmlessly on our skin, but when the conditions are right, it can reproduce more rapidly and become a problem. The slow-growing bacterium feeds off the sebum and produces a substance that causes an immune response. This leads to skin inflammation and spots.

Although pimples are related to bacterial infection, they are not contagious. One person cannot catch pimples from another.

Frequently asked questions.

We spoke to our experts about the causes of pimples and here are these follows.

So, what really causes pimples?

Pimples is a disorder of the sebaceous gland, starting from the dermis layer of your skin. When a hair follicle becomes clogged with dirt and excess oil, a blockage is formed. Sometimes, this blockage may not even be visible on the skin’s surface. But, this is the root cause of all pimples. From this point, the blockage can develop into any of the 6 different types of pimples.

How does this lead to pimples?

This blockage develops into pimples when germs react with it. Not all germs are bad. In fact, our body co-exists with trillions of microbes and single-cell organisms peacefully. They’re not a problem when our skin barrier is healthy.

But when the skin barrier is not in its prime health, we become vulnerable to harmful germs. The germs on the skin, pimples, react with the excess sebum from the sebaceous glands. And this mixture becomes a heady cocktail that leads to pimples.

When clogged pores get infected with germs, it gets inflamed and forms a pimple. The inflammation is caused by fluid trapped deep inside your skin, while the pimple rises up and expands to form a white, red or yellow-tip spot on your skin’s surface.

What causes the bacteria, pimples?

The main culprit? Hormones. When you’re stressed, undergoing puberty or having your menstrual cycle, your body produces more hormones, which can encourage the growth of pimples. But genes also play a part in determining how pimple-prone your skin is. Chances are if your parents had pimples you might too.

Is pimples caused by not cleansing?

Absolutely not! Pimples are not just a result of not washing your face. Most of the time, people who suffer from pimples are so rigorous about their skincare regime, they end up harming their skin instead. While cleansing away dirt and excess oil that clogs pores can help prevent pimples, over cleansing can also cause pimples.

So, cleansing reduces pimples but over cleansing causes pimples?

Yes. Cleansing with the right products can help fight pimples, but overdoing it can cause pimples too. This is because over-cleansing your face strips your face of its natural oils, causing your already overactive sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. When your face feels oily, you’re tempted to cleanse more, resulting in a vicious cycle.

After our discussion with these skin experts, we conclude that pimple-free skin is all about finding the right balance— like picking the right cleanser for your skin type.

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