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Heat Aggravates Acne

There are a number of other factors that can cause acne to get worse, says the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Those factors include: pollution; irritating chemicals; some kinds of medications and makeup; pressure from bike helmets, backpacks or tight collars; squeezing or picking at acne blemishes; and hard rubbing of the skin.

Despite what you may have heard, greasy foods and chocolate have little effect on the development and course of acne in most people, NIAMS says. Dirty skin and stress have also been ruled out as causes of acne.

Acne results from the action of hormones on the skin's oil glands, leading to plugged pores and outbreaks of lesions that we all know as pimples or zits. Acne usually occurs on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders.

About 17 million Americans suffer from acne, making it the most common skin disease, NIAMS says. Acne isn't a serious health threat. But severe acne can result in permanent, disfiguring scarring.

While people of all races and ages get acne, it's most common in adolescents and young adults and affects nearly 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24. Acne tends to disappear in most people by the time they reach their 30s.