What Can Cause Pimples on Your Face?


A clear complexion can help a person feel more confident. So when a pimple or two pops up, it can be disheartening. For some, it’s more than just a couple of pimples. So what causes pimples and what can you do about it? 

What Causes Acne?

Acne is caused by clogged follicles. This can be from oil and dead skin cells leading to whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. They can appear anywhere on the body, but when they are on the face, that’s when people tend to take more notice. While it is most common amongst teenagers, it can happen to anyone (1).

Acne is caused by four main factors:

  • Excess oil production
  • Clogged hair follicles from oil and dead skin cells
  • Bacteria
  • Hormones

It’s more prominent on the face as well as the chest, upper back and shoulders because that is where most of the body’s sebaceous (oil) glands are.

There are some factors that can make it worse including:

  • Certain medications
  • Diet
  • Stress

Some people may be more at risk than others of developing acne. If your parents had acne, you will likely develop it as well. Any type of pressure or friction on the skin can cause it too such as phones or helmets.

What Causes Acne On Cheeks?

The face is like a map. And acne can happen anywhere it, but certain spots are usually traced back to a specific reason (2). Acne that happens on the cheek may be from either a phone or pillowcase. The scary thing is, it could be caused from E. coli and other bacteria!

It can happen on both sides of the face or just one depending on what side you sleep on or hold your phone too. Fortunately, there are some steps you can (and should!) take to make sure you are not putting that type of bacteria on your face.

  • Clean your phone regularly with a disinfectant wipe
  • Use a Bluetooth headset
  • Don’t bring your phone to the bathroom
  • Switch out your pillowcases at least once a week

How Can I Clear Up Acne Fast?

Wake up one day and have a sudden acne breakout on your face? Fortunately there are some natural ways you can get rid of it fast. Try these tips.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has the ability to fight bacteria and reduce skin inflammation. So try spot treating the pimple. It’s important to note that tea tree oil is very potent and can cause redness and irritation so you may need to dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut which has its own skin benefits.

Essential Oils

Some other essential oils to consider that also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties include rosemary, lavender, clove, cinnamon and lemongrass. Again, they are highly concentrated and should be diluted with a carrier oil.

Green Tea

Does coffee cause pimples on your face? An excellent alternative to coffee is green tea. Never underestimate the power of green tea. It’s super healthy as a drink, but those same antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can help fight acne when directly placed on it.

Aloe Vera

Known more for its ability to help people who have been burned, aloe vera’s properties of fighting bacteria and reducing inflammation make it an excellent acne remedy as well.

What Causes Acne Vulgaris?

Also known as common acne, this refers to a skin condition that happens when hair follicles are blocked causing blemishes. As we’ve mentioned, hair follicles can be blocked with dead skin cells, bacteria or oil. The blocked follicles lead to whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and even cysts.

One of the main causes is hormones which is why it can affect up to 85 percent of teenagers. A hormone known as androgen is increased during puberty causing the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (oil). Sebum and dead skin cells come up through the hair follicles and out of the pores on the skin. When this combination comes up and can’t get out of the pores, it leads to acne.

How Long Does Acne Last?

No one really knows for sure how long acne will last. Since a main cause is due to hormones, it does tend to improve for teenagers as they get closer to their 20s. But some people continue to have acne throughout adulthood.

Acne can last longer for women. Up to 40% of women still have acne into their 40s due to hormonal changes from pregnancy or their menstrual cycle as well as from:

  • Certain medications
  • Some kinds of cosmetics and lotions
  • Sweating and humidity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

How To Prevent Acne

Some may think Ignoring acne makes it go away, but this is not true. Instead it’s important to follow some simple steps to help prevent it.

Know Your Skin Type

Pimples happen more to people with oily skin, but those with combination or any other type of skin may still get pimples. When you know what type of skin you have, you can get the right kinds of products. Noncomedogenic products are good because they are made to not block pores.

Wash Your Face

Make sure to wash your face twice a day (morning and night), but not more than that because you could make acne worse. Washing your face will help get rid of excess oil, dirt and sweat.

Moisturize Your Skin

Even if you have oily skin, it still needs to be moisturized. Look for a fragrance-free, noncomedogenic one.

Acne Treatments

There are a lot of over-the-counter acne treatments available that can help prevent pimples or get rid of ones you already have.

Drink Water

Staying hydrated is good for your skin. When you are dehydrated, your body’s oil glands may start to produce more oil.

Go Makeup Free

Some kinds of makeup can clog pores. If you want to wear makeup, choose ones that are noncomedogenic and fragrance free.

Hands Off

Keep your hands away from your face. Your hands can come into contact with bacteria and dirt throughout the day (which is why it’s important to wash your hands frequently). And when you touch your face, you are bringing those pore-cloggers onto your face.


As tempting as it may be, don’t forgo the importance of sunscreen. Choose a noncomedogenic, oil-free sunscreen that won’t clog pores, but will still keep your skin safe.

Don’t Pop Pimples

As much as you may want to squeeze those pimples, don’t. Popping them can cause bleeding, scars or even infections. Plus it can clog surrounding pores making your acne worse.

What Age Does Acne Usually Go Away?

Acne is more common in teenagers and young adults with about 95 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 affected to some degree. A lot of people have acne on and off throughout the years before symptoms improve as they get older.

It most often disappears when someone is in their mid-20s. But sometimes it can still linger. Only about 3% of adults have acne over 35 years of age.

Supplements That Can Help

Our body is made up of cells. Over time, cells can become damaged leading to illnesses and aging. Fortunately our body has a natural way to renew damaged cells through a process called autophagy. Spermidine assists the body’s natural autophagy process.

Spermidine is also a polyamine. Polyamines assist our bodies with the growth of cells. We work to keep polyamines at a certain level throughout our lives through the foods we eat, but unfortunately we rarely consume what we need especially as we get older.

So while spermidine cannot heal or cure any illnesses, it works to help replenish the body’s polyamine levels. This leads to a resurgence of cellular renewal through autophagy. Healthy skin starts from the inside out. So it’s important we make sure our cells are functioning at the highest efficiency possible.


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  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.