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I'm a 21 year-old male. I've had mild acne since my early teens, and currently it translates to a few raised red spots on my face and many more on my back and shoulders in an average week. The more stressed I am in a week, the more spots I tend to get.

I've never really done anything about my acne due to an initial lack of knowledge about skin hygiene, and feeling too overwhelmed about all the information that was out there to start anywhere. As a result, the last few years of damage have also left me with a pockmarked forehead. I'm now determined to improve my skin to make it smooth and healthy again, but need to know how to go about doing this.

a) What are the root cause(s) of acne?

b) What are the most effective, scientifically-proven ways to clear it up?

c) Is it possible to undo the damage of the last few years on my pockmarked forehead in order to make it smooth again?

Thanks in advance to anyone that can provide me with a sourced, definitive answer - I'd really appreciate the help.

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    Enough bold – paparazzo Mar 21 '17 at 1:40
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    Haha, it was to highlight the questions and make it less of a straight wall of text. – Hashim Mar 21 '17 at 1:41
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  1. According studies, it's an interaction between genetics and environment. If you parents had acne, you might have. But, overall, diet and stress are big factors for acne : your genetic makes you more sensible to this. NCBI : Acne and food

  2. I don't understand if you talk about medical treatments or other... I will talk about medical treatments so. 2 classes of treatment can be used (in France, but I think it's ok everywhere), if it's not an hormonal acne : antibiotics (tétracycline) that have anti-inflammatory effects. It's good on low or medium acne. But when it's too big for use, it's better to use Retinoids like Isotretinoin, but it's an heavier treatment on 9 months, but very efficient. Acne types and treatments

  3. Recommendations (in France) are : after a treatment by Retinoids for example, you should let 2 years to completely see effects. The remaining marks can be treated by laser (or corticoids but it's less efficient). It is well known that exposing the marks to sun is bad. Acne advices

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Acne can be caused by multiple reasons and the main reason is the clogging of pores due to oil and dirt around us.

You must always keep your skin clean to prevent yourself from acne, as well as if you have oily skin you must not use oily creams and moisturizers as they can clog your pores and cause acne breakout.

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    Thanks for participating Julia! I want to help you understand the downvotes, it's because we have specific standards we try to uphold. On HealthSE answers need to be evidence-based and generally provide reference to the source you used for information. A complete answer would include more information and a source or two so the reader can look more into it. Please check out our how-to's, since SE is a little different than other QA sites so it may take a little getting used to. Regardless, welcome to HealthSE, and let us know if we can help you get the hang of how things work here! – DoctorWhom Sep 1 '17 at 7:38
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    Btw I saw another answer you gave - if you're a healthcare professional, I completely understand that it may be a little frustrating at first because we are used to giving well-educated advice all the time. But since this site can't validate users' credentials, there's no way to know whether someone is the Surgeon General or a middle school student when they present info. I was rocky at it in the beginning, but when I got the hang of it, I developed an appreciation that it strives to set some academic standards! It differentiates it from quora and other sites. – DoctorWhom Sep 1 '17 at 7:48

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