Acne – That Friend that Shows Up to All the Parties Uninvited

Up until the time I was about 17 I never had a single blemish on my face. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I ever had to deal with the presence of annoying pimples. They weren’t severe, just a couple of little red bumps here and there, but still extremely aggravating. My mom blamed it simply on the stress of senior year and applying to colleges. I also thought it could’ve been due to the fact that at the time I was dancing six days a week for two and a half hours each day, I figured that sweat must’ve also been a cause. However I could remember how some of my friends throughout high school persistently struggled with acne. Even when we were young freshman with minimal work and little responsibility, some of my friends went on medications to try and fix their dermatological problems. This question has always challenged me, what else could possibly be a cause of acne? It is well known that acne is derived from uncleanliness, stress, grease, diet, etc. but could their possibly be causes to acne that are completely out of our control?

Source :

In an observational study done by scientists at the Colorado State University, they studied the skin quality of Western contemporary civilizations compared to those of less developed regions in Paraguay and Papa New Guinea. The study was directed specifically on the presence of the dermatological disorder acne vulgaris that over 75% of the teenage/young adult population in modern and developed Western areas suffer from everyday. The study was concentrated on teenagers/young adults specifically since they are the largest population in Westernized area to suffer from this dermatological disease.


The null hypothesis in this study would be that there is no difference between the acne that people in Western civilizations suffer from and the acne that people in rural / under developed regions of Paraguay and Papa New Guinea suffer from.


The observational study found that one hundred percent of all of the subjects in the study from the under developed regions of Papa New Guinea and Paraguay did not suffer from acne vulgaris. These results undeniably proved that the skin quality of people in the less developed areas of Papa New Guinea and Paraguay was much better than that of the people living in modern, westernized societies. This then led researchers to believe that acne vulgaris is a dominantly westernized disease.

Source :

The conclusions derived from this study report that a difference in the types of habitats and surroundings that the two groups live in cause the significant differences in skin quality. This discovery could lead to further improvements in the treatment of this disease as the study into acne prevention and elimination progresses.


So it turns out that maybe your acne is not because you can’t resist an extra side of fries, maybe you are just a product of your surroundings and environment. Nevertheless, if you want to prevent acne, trying to maintain a healthy internal state and remembering to stay hydrated couldn’t hurt.

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9 thoughts on “Acne – That Friend that Shows Up to All the Parties Uninvited

  1. dhc5097

    Acne is still an unsolved problem in America’s society that plagues a large amount of high school and college students. There are proven ways to keep your face clean such as eating healthy, exercising, and washing your face every morning and night. With this being said, I still found it surprising that people in developing countries have less acne than people in developed countries such as America. You would think that a developed country would be more advanced and clean to the point where acne would not be much of a problem. I came across an article that explains why our generation has more acne than our ancestors.

  2. Daniel J Lehecka

    I think acne is a fascinating thing because so many people have it but it remains a sort of stigma to have. Obviously part of it is genetics, but another large part is diet and lifestyle. If you eat a lot of fried foods you’re more likely to develop acne, and if you don’t take time out of your day to just relax you can also develop it. Personally, I started breaking out in the 10th grade. It was a massive blow to my confidence, to the point where I didn’t want anyone to know it existed. I went to my dermatologist and got on iso-tretinoins (commonly referred to as Accutane) and within months my skin began to clear up. It’s been 2 years since I took it and I haven’t had a single pimple anywhere on my body. That’s not to say it is a perfect drug, because there’s plenty of side effects. This website ( ) tells of them, and while it’s never this bad in reality, I feel that my body was definitely effected in the long term. That said, if I could go back in time and make the decision again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

  3. Beom Joon Lee

    Acne is a problem that many people still face today. Although food may not be the direct cause of acne, it may still be one of the factors that contribute to the whole picture. I read an interesting article,, where Western food such as cheeseburgers, and other processed foods increased the acne of individuals in one experiment. This may be due to a rise of hormonal levels because of these junk foods. Although the study wasn’t very large and we can’t say for sure, it may be a step into the right direction.

  4. Charlotte Anderson

    Ugh, I completely understand your struggle with acne. Unlike you, it has been a major problem with my and my family for as long as I can remember. We all have pretty oily skin, so when you mentioned sweat being a factor I knew what you meant. My sister actually was put on birth control at a young age as an attempt to clear her skin and she and my brother put on various medications. I recently read this article on Web Md which explains the side effects and benefits of birth control for acne treatment .

    1. Hannah Katherine Morrissey Post author

      A lot of my friends went on birth control as a means of controlling their acne as well! For some of them it worked immediately while for others birth control had no effect on their acne but actually had negative impacts such as weight gain and severe menstruation changes. Often people wonder whether there is a specific “brand” of birth control that is beneficial towards controlling acne and hormones. After doing some research I found an article from that debunks the myth that certain brands of birth control better regulate acne. The certain brand one uses can have a different effect on each person. I’ve attached the article below.

  5. Michael Gerard Shevlin

    Like you, I also didn’t develop acne problems until senior year of high school. When junior year came around and I still hadn’t experienced any problems, I thought I was in the clear, but that wasn’t the case. WebMD states in this article that the best way to avoid acne breakouts is to consistently keep your face clean. Acne is often caused by sweat and oil buildups on the face, so a good wash a few times a day can prevent these breakouts.

  6. Joe Garrett

    I found it very interesting that those who live in underdeveloped countries are far less likely to develop acne. I would have thought that it would be other way around since the Western World is supposed to be cleaner and more developed, which I would think would lead to better skin care. Perhaps acne is genetic and people in the western world have inherited this gene more often. Or perhaps something in the air is causing acne breakouts more often. These ideas are just speculation on my own part, but perhaps there could be some truth to them. This study suggests that acne may be more common in America due to high obesity rates and high consumption of dairy products compared to the rest of the world –

  7. sbm5465

    I found this post very interesting because I had a really strange situation with my acne. Up until junior year of high school, I rarely ever got a single pimple. For some reason that year, my face began to break out frequently, and continued to get worse and worse until I eventually had pretty severe acne. I was confused because nothing in my life had really changed: my diet was the same, I wasn’t under any new amount of stress, and my hygienic habits were the same as well. Like you said, it seems like I was just the “product of my surroundings and environment.” I ended up going on a pretty strong prescription drug called accutane, which has an 80% success rate of clearing acne. You can read about it here:

  8. Alexander Roker

    This is very interesting, I never would have thought that acne could be caused moreso by external factors, but it definitely seems to be a possibility. A couple confounding variables I can think of: pollution, genetics, race, and climate.

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