The 10 causes of acne that I’ve noticed about myself over the years are aplenty! I’ve gone from being an absolutely clueless teenager struggling with the woes of growing up to an adult who is just now finding the right balance. Here is a list of the 10 causes of acne, my solutions and the products I use to manage some of that. I’m not cosmetologist or specialist, my insights are compiled through personal experience, research found on Pinterest and sharing with you the things that I’ve done to improve my skincare.

**Note, there are affiliate links in this blog post. If you choose to purchase these promoted products using the links in my article, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business.

The 10 Causes of Acne

The Ones that are Influenced by my Body


Cause: Fungal Acne– This is an interesting acne culprit, one that I recently learned about for myself. And I feel a little embarrassed to share this one with you… Malassezia (its technical term) sounds gross, but it’s not quite that gross…. It’s basically acne that feeds on oil and is “yeast”. When I had my birthday facial, the lady suggested a retinol with Vitamin C. She didn’t explain much more than that and suggested I see a dermatologist for a Rx grade retinol. But, being as I prefer natural ingredients before I opt for prescription level ingredients, I got Burt’s Bees natural alternative to retinol.

First, however, I researched on Pinterest about the causes of acne, and found this interesting article about ‘acne that isn’t acne’. It explained that oil cleansers, green tea, and retinol can treat it, and explained that many acne products that combat bacterial acne are also the very products that ‘feed’ the fungal acne because when you strip your face away of oils – even naturally occurring ones- your body will just produce more oil, essentially feeding it…. This cause of acne that I’ve noticed happens around my hairline sometimes and right at my chin.

Read more about Malassezia acne in this article here. Also- you can find all kinds of articles about skin care, her preferred products and treating things naturally. Here is the link that goes to her home page.

Your Potential Shopping List

oil cleanser
  1. Burt’s Bees Oil Cleanser- usually around $13-14, with the occasional sale. Oil cleansers are great options for this type of acne because it cleans your face but doesn’t strip your face of oils.
  2. Burt’s Bees Orange Essence Cleanser- I don’t always need the full strength of oil cleanser, so I alternate based how I what I think my face needs. Sometimes it just needs a gentle cleanse.
  3. Burt’s Bee’s Antioxidant Moisturizing Mask with Green Tea- I have yet to find it on Amazon. I got it at Target for $15. (Not an aff link)
  4. Burt’s Bees Natural Retinol Alternative– Usually around $20. I think the ‘going rate’ for retinol is roughly $20-30
  5. Burt’s Bees Clay Charcoal Mask- $5-6
  6. Burt’s Bees- Gentle Cleanser– When I got pregnant, my hormones caused a new need for my skin care routine. I switched from the orange essence cleanser to this.

Cause & Solution: Diet & Water– If you’ve read my recent blog articles, you know that I am on a Fitbit & Health Kick and chronicling my experience with weight loss and reducing my migraines. Well I have also noticed that 2 of these 10 causes of acne is more controlled when I don’t eat lots of junk food and am keeping up on my water intake! Last week I was not as responsible and later recognized an increase of acne around my chin and jawline, as well as forehead.

The Causes of Acne that Touch My Skin

Actions of Touching My Face

Cause & Solution : Makeup– Something that you’re doing and applying to your face. Over time, it’ll build up. I take my makeup off either as soon as I can, or by a certain time at night- preferably around 8 because it creates a gap between not having makeup on and putting my head on my pillow at night. Maybe that’s a silly idea, but it’s the habit I prefer. I also don’t wear makeup if I don’t have to. If I am not going anywhere that day, or don’t need to look exceptionally polished, then why bother adding makeup? Let your face take a breather. I use Burt’s Bees wipes, or the Oil Cleanser to remove my makeup. Surprisingly it is made for both makeup remover and cleanser which is awesome!

I also found some great makeup that hasn’t been causing my acne.

Your Potential Shopping List

  • BB Cream
  • Liquid foundation– I have been using this foundation for years now!
  • Mascara I wasn’t a huge fan of this mascara, I’m very much used to my Covergirl lash blast. But now that I am postpartum and have been struggling with some products, I may want to rethink that.
  • Blush

If you want to read more about all my Burt’s Bees Products, read this article. It’s very similar to this post but has more Burt’s Bees products that might not be in this post.

Cause & Solution: Makeup Brushes– After days of applying makeup and using your makeup brushes, it starts to build up over time. Not to mention the hairspray that goes flying around, or dust that inevitably occurs. The foundation (for example) dries up and it can’t be good for your face! Even eye shadow touching the same areas of your eye are likely to start breaking out… Solution: frequently clean your brushes and replace them perhaps 1 each year. I have yet to actually do that to remedy that cause of acne but I do clean my brushes.

makeup and burt's bees products I use

Cause & Solution: Touching My Face– OMG! How often do you touch your face? I do it almost all the time absentmindedly. Slumping over and contemplating something during work? Suddenly you’re resting your palm in your hand. Eyes bugging you? You’re pushing your hands all around your eyes and brows. Simply try to be aware of it, and then correct the behavior.

Cause & Solution: Picking at my Acne– Sometimes seeing that pimple raise or zit turning white on the surface of your skin causes this crazy strong desire to rip it out, pop it, pull it off. Dig into your skin or apply a crazy amount of pressure to remove this terrible thing from your face. Solution: Resist it! I know it’s hard, and I’m not perfect at it. When the acne pops (or whatever), it spreads to other parts of your face.

Laundry Items that Touch My Face

Cause: Washcloths/Towels– I thought of this one when I was a freshman in college. It occurred to me out of the blue that maybe I shouldn’t be washing my face with the same washcloth as I had the day before, or earlier that morning. The way I had thought of it was that at some point the towels are going to be dirty- and then I am just washing my face and then drying it with an ‘old towel’.

My Solution- I use a new one every single time I wash my face. I just buy a bunch of them and wash every week when I wash the towels once a week. They need to be soft and absorbent so that they are drying my face while I pat dry and don’t “scrape” my face away. Because remember, you need to treat your face gently. The same goes with bath towels because all towels need to be washed and imagine how much ‘dirtiness’ you’re adding to your face after you just cleaned it.

Cause & Solution: Pillow Cases & Sheets– Honestly, of all the causes of acne, this might have been the trickiest one for me to notice. Which is odd since it didn’t take me that long to consider that a clean washcloth every single time I wash my face might be a way to curb my acne. Solution: Wash the pillow cases and sheets at least once a week- sometimes I change it out more often than that.

Other Items that Touch My Face

Cause: Glasses & Cell Phone– I’ve come to notice that my glasses start creating zones of acne. Like you could practically connect the dots on my face and then it would show the shape or spots where my glasses touch my face. My trouble areas caused by my eyeglasses are between my brows, sides of my face where the ear pieces lay, sometimes my nose if my glasses fall, and on my cheeks where makeup builds up on my frames!

My Solutions- I wash my glasses with Dawn dish soap and lukewarm water- especially after working out! And I use my Burt’s Bees cleansing wipes. Sometimes I take a toothpick or my fingernail to run it along the surface of my lenses to make sure the makeup is being removed from those tricky areas. Cell phones and women’s purses are the most dirty things ever! So I don’t like to keep it near my face. I either do speaker phone, headphones, hold it close to my ear if I have to, use Bluetooth in the car, and use my wipe to clean the phone. I also spot treat my acne with (you guessed it) Burt’s Bees!

Your Potential Shopping List

  • Complexion Corrector (the witch hazel is awesome) The roller application is convenient. Usually around $15 for a 2 pack. I have this on a Subscribe & Save to save 5% per delivery/order.
  • Acne Solutions Line Maximum Strength Acne Spot Treatment- it’s like other cream spot treatments, but it doesn’t dry your face out or make it itchy. Usually $13 and lasts quite some time. Easy to apply and spread over the face. A little goes along way.
  • Acne Solutions Exfoliating Scrub– 2-3 times a week you should scrub your own face and be a little more aggressive with your cleanse. Unlike ones that are made with crushed walnuts, this one is soft and uses soft beads to exfoliate the face and the sycillic acid isn’t harsh. Usually $13

Other random thought, when I was pregnant, I used the Burt’s Bees Mama Belly Butter. When my tummy was itchy, this did the trick! A friend also gifted me a cooling aloe vera belly gel and after baby O. dropped, it was a life saver!


Final Thoughts about The 10 Causes of Acne

If you’re going to try a new product, I suggest that you 1. Go a short period (like 1 weekend) not using any products. 2. Buy 1 item at a time at a local store- because it may be easier to return items to a store than mailing it. 3. Add 1-3 items to your routine at a time. Slowly acclimate your face/skin. If you absolutely need intervention about pulling your acne out, opt for get it done during your facial. Sometimes they will use this wand that ‘zaps’ your face to kill the bacteria or they do an extraction.

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10 Ways to Beat Acne