5. How come only some people get bad acne

Doctor Jacob here today, and we're going to be addressing why certain people have clear skin and why others get bad acne.

The strongest risk factor for bad acne is genetics, so your parents. Unfortunately, this is one risk factor you can't change. If it turns out that if your father or mother, for instance, or even both had really bad acne, chances are that you may have serious acne as well. In any case, let's move on to talk about risk factors that can potentially be influenced or modified.

Diet maybe accounts for only a small percentage of acne suffering, but there are certain elements in diet that can be modified. We'll talk about that in a separate episode.

Stress is another big one. Bundled together with stress includes a lack of sleep. When I say stress I mean emotional stress or physical stress, but more so emotional distress. Together with stress also is lumped picking of acne. When acne is picked or mechanically manipulated by the fingers, it does become worse. When people are stressed, they tend to pick their acne even more. So don't pick acne, and find ways to release stress.

For women who take birth-control pills, certain birth-control pills or other forms of hormonal contraception can help acne, but certain chemicals or androgens inside birth-control pills or hormonal contraceptives can actually worsen acne. I'll talk more about birth-control pills and hormonal contraception and their effects on acne in a separate episode.

Next, let's talk about drugs and acne. Certain prescription drugs used to treat other medical conditions separate from acne can really cause acne or worsen it. Some of them include oral steroids, such as Prednisone, or certain psychoactive medications, such as Lithium. We'll talk extensively about drugs later.

Also included with drugs are performance-enhancing drugs, such as artificial testosterone or human growth hormone. Those can really, really cause acne. There are certain medical conditions that can actually cause or contribute to acne, such as Cushing's disease or Cushing's syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. For most patients with acne this is not an issue. However, if you are having symptoms with your health besides acne, be sure to consult an appropriate physician.

For the last, and a pretty significant one, let's talk about cosmetics. Cosmetics can really trigger acne in certain people, certain susceptible people. When I say cosmetics, I say everything from make-up to sunscreens, to hair care products, shampoos, conditioners, anything that touches the skin on the face can potentially trigger acne. We'll talk about pore-clogging ingredients in cosmetic products in a separate episode. For now, we know all about the factors that can trigger or aggravate acne, starting with the genetic predisposition, and including stress, cosmetics, diet, certain medical conditions, drugs, hormonal contraceptives and the like.

I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.