WTF Causes Acne?

WTF Causes Acne?

Let’s talk about the trials and pustulations of acne.


As a teenager, I always looked up to the flawless skin of women older than myself. I had a notion that one day, when I was older, my acne would go away, leaving me a flawless complexion and little to no pores. Instead, I write this with a mass of breakouts sitting on my chin and forehead.


I have am disciplined when it comes to skincare. At a minimum, I wash my face and moisturize every single night and have since I was probably 13. While my skincare routine has been consistent, my hormones have certainly not. I’ve experienced acne in all forms - cystic, hormonal, blah blah blah and while there’s no “one size fits all” solution, it’s always good to know why things are the way they are.


Here’s an attempt to keep it simple. Always remember, if you have serious acne, a visit to the dermatologist can do wonders.


What is acne?


Quite literally, acne is a skin condition that happens when your hair follicles get all plugged up with dead skin cells. The result can come in many different forms. What we usually see are whiteheads, blackheads, nodules, cystic lesions or pimples. Don’t let the system fool you though, acne isn’t exclusive to teenagers, people of all ages can be prone to breakouts.


How do you get it?


There are four main factors that we can attribute to acne:


  • Excess oil (aka sebum) production
  • Clogged hair follicles (dirt, oil, dead skins)
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation


The unfortunate part of acne is that anywhere a hair follicle is connected to an oil gland, you are capable of getting a breakout. It’s important to note though, even though it doesn’t always feel good, acne is normal.


How do you prevent it?


Preventing acne can take some refining but we have some simple rules that should be your beacon of skincare routine regardless of breakouts.


  1. Keep your face clean. Cleanse your skin day and night and never go to sleep with a full face of makeup. We recommend washing your face with a cleanser for at least 60 seconds.
  2. Moisturize! Depriving skin of nourishment and hydration only makes it increase in oil production. For acne-prone skin, look for brands that formulate specifically for acne or sensitive skin.
  3. Watch what you’re putting on your skin. Trying something new that resulted in breakouts? It’s possible it doesn’t agree with your biocompatibility. That’s ok though. Our bodies are complicated and everyone needs something different, but it’s ok to give up that product.
  4. Don’t touch your face. Our grimey lil’ hands are a great way for us to deliver unwanted dirt to our face unknowingly. Try to keep them off of your purdy mug.
  5. Wash your face after working out. After working out, skin can become inflamed and more sensitive than when you’re keeping it chill. Our pores open up but they can also easily get clogged. By washing your face right after working out, you’re eliminating the opportunity for sweat to clog pores and pull in extra acne-causing bacteria.
  6. Keep your sheets clean. Remember that you’re pillowcase remembers all the bacteria that you might have forgotten about.  


How do you treat it?


A good skincare routine is a great start to minimizing breakouts. While it’s important to experiment with products to better understand what works best for your skin type, we’ve pulled some options that can help balance out your complexion on a choose your own adventure journey.





The foundation of a good skincare routine starts with a clean pallet. This is a lecture and we’re sure you’re already aware of this, but cleansing is the best way to rid skin of excess bacteria, pollution and smut, and dead skin cells.


Rael Daily Detox


Daily Detox is a gel to oil cleanser that is one of our favorite picks to remove make up and dirt. Remember, not all cleansers work to the full effect of removing make up. On top getting rid of all the bad stuff, it also replaces the dryness that often comes along with cleansing with moisture.


Blume Day Dreamer 


Day Dreamer is a creamy cleanser that is gentle enough for the softest skin. This cloud-like formula soothes and nourishes. We love the gentle ingredients that also help to fight inflammation and irritated skin (blue tansy, please step up to the plate!).




Toning is an often times overlooked stepped to a skincare routine. We like to view it as the final step to cleansing. Some toners act as chemical exfoliators that help skin cells turnover, preventing them from clogging pores, others calm and nourish in order to set your skin up for the next step of moisturizing.


Koa Balancing Toner 


In order to be disciplined in our skincare routines, sometimes we need convienience. Koa’s Balancing Toner comes with 50 pads that help promote a healthy complexion. Formulated with a prorietary AHA/BHA complex, it helps shed that dead skin cell weight. It also antioxidizing with bilberry fruit, protecting you from free radicals that contribute to breakouts.


Blume Stargirl


Facial mists can serve multiple purposes. Exfoliation should only happen when you feel like you need the pick me up, so replacing toning with a gentle and hydrating options is also a great go-to. With a few spritzes of Stargirl and a gentle once-over with a cotton pad, aloe juice hydrates and blue tansy reduces inflammation.




Depriving skin of hydration is not the solution to minimizing acne breakouts. Like we mentioned before, moisturizing skin is a great tool to minimizing the overproduction of sebum, helping to reduct the ongoing cycle of breakouts.


Base Butter Radiate Face Jelly Aloe Vera Gel Moisturizer


Radiate Face Jelly is formulated specifically with acne in mind. This jelly formula is packed with shea butter to soften and nourish, aloe to soothe, hydrate and reduce inflammation, but also tea tree which is known to act as an anti-bacterial. With it’s matte-drying formula, it zaps oily skin and helps to keep your skin’s PH balanced.


Rosen Tropics Moisturizer


This hydrating powerhouse keeps skin moisturized with hyaluronic acid and leverages the power of Kojic Acid to gently promote smoother, brighter skin. Tropics helps to diminish the appearance of dark spots and manage texture.




Treatments are a great way to target acne breakout control and serve different purposes for different needs. From the incoming feeling of a breakout, to the need for a speedy recovery, here are some picks to manage every step of the way.


Freck Foreclay Mask 


For sensitive, acne prone skin, clay masks can be a hit or miss. We love that Foreclay is gentle and doesn’t completely deprive skin of hydration. It withdraws impurities, resetting pores to the best version of themselves. On top of that, it can be used as an overnight spot treatment for managing those breakouts, helping to pull the bad stuff to the surface.


Rosen Breakout


One of the best spot treatments on the market. Breakout uses the power of peppermint to drive blood flow to active breakouts and speed up the healing process. Formulated with zinc, it also helps to reduce the size and appearance of breakouts.


Rael Lighten Up


Post-breakout care is real. The impact of a breakout can be long lasting, creating long lasting red marks that remind us of the ghost that was one a pimple. Lighten Up is thoughtfully formulated with cica which is known to gently reduce redness. The gel forumla also dries clear, making it easy to wear throughout the day.


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