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What Causes Acne? Acne 101: Understanding Breakouts

Annelise Hillmann • Dec 21, 2023

What Causes Acne? 

Acne sucks. It comes from out of no where, is hard to get rid of, and can ruin a good day almost as quickly as stubbing your toe. While it's been an absolute pain to deal with, understanding what causes acne can really help in the battle. 

What is Acne

All over your skin, you have pores (sometimes can be seen as small little dots). While these start off clean, they can get really dirty when you ignore them. Think about dirt and grime, natural oils, sweat, as well as any other nastiness your face experiences everyday – we don’t judge.

When there’s all this gunk in your pores, they get clogged and infected. These infections are super small but form what we think of as acne. Each red dot on your face is an angry, infected pore.

Washing your face, just like you would wash greasy hair or smelly armpits, is the easiest way to keep your pores clean to help reduce your acne.

What Else Might Cause Acne

Obviously, it’s not that simple – there are many things that can cause acne. Namely things that throw your body out of whack. Here’s a quick list of some of the most known culprits.

  • Greasy food (causes pimple around the mouth and chin)

  • Genetics

  • High levels of testosterone (which can spike during puberty)

  • Food allergies (milk is a big one)

  • Sweat (Wearing athletic wear without washing them is generally pretty gross, but also causes back acne, lovingly termed backne/bacne)

  • Bacteria (Anywhere and everywhere)

  • Your mask (Proud of you for wearing, but make sure you’re washing it)

  • Touching your face often without washing your hands - Wash your hands for multiple reasons, but also to prevent breakouts

  • Your Sheets - if you haven’t washed your sheets in a long time, it might be time to. They can host loads of bacteria and sweat that could be causing your breakout.

  • Drinking too much alcohol

  • Not drinking enough water

  • Being mean to your mom (not yet medically proven)

  • Processed food (namely sugar)

  • Too much meat (in some cases)

The First Step For Better Skin: Wash Your Face

A mantra we have at FRONTMAN is “Dude Wash Your Face”. We say this because again and again we see guys ignoring this one simple thing to help with their acne. Having a better routine behind washing your face the right way can truly improve skin by clearing out pores on a more regular basis. 

We specifically made FRONTMAN Zit Wipes so that washing your face can be as easy as wipe & toss. No sink needed. 

Zit Wipes cleansing face wipes


Cleansing face wipes for acne prone skin


Note: Just because someone has acne doesn't mean they don't wash their face. Lots of people have severe acne due to hormones, environmental factors, and genetics – no matter what kind of skincare routine they have. That said, lots of guys out there aren't doing the most basic first step (we know, it used to be us lol).

If you've tried everything, we recommend seeing a dermatologist for their professional opinion.