The Cause of Acne

I hypothesize that acne is caused by stretching or squeezing skin. Stretching skin will produce a whitehead, which I prefer to call a “fluid pimple.” Squeezing skin will produce of a blackhead, which I prefer to call a “solid pimple.” The cause of acne is that simple and has nothing to do with diet or dirty hands. Why hasn’t anyone else figured this out? Well first of all, the resultant pimple occurs about 24 hours after the act of squeezing or stretching. We are quick to forget such everyday minutiae. Secondly, whether a pimple develops or not depends on three other factors: the frequency of the stretch/squeeze, the force of the stretch/squeeze, and the elasticity of the skin.

I think mud is a perfect analogy for your skin. If you were to use your arms to part mud to the left and right, you would create a void in the middle that slowly fills with water. This void is equivalent to a “fluid pimple.” If you were to press mud together, it would harden and water would seep out. This clump of mud is equivalent to a “solid pimple.” In reality, stretching and squeezing the skin doesn’t require two arms, two hands, or even two fingers. The friction between your hand or finger and the surface of the skin (i.e. your face) is sufficient. 

“Elasticity of the skin” basically means that some people have loose, flabby skin while others have tight skin. Thus, some people will be more prone to acne than others. This can be attributed to genetics, lifestyle, and diet. This is my explanation as to why, for example, subjecting two different people to 10 squeezes on the cheek with 10 newtons of force may produce pimples on one person but not the other.

Externally Affecting the Skin via Hands

From looking at the position of a pimple on someone’s face, I can use deductive reasoning to figure out the actions they performed ~24 hours prior that caused the pimple to form.


One of the most common locations of fluid pimples is on the jawline. I hypothesize that most of these cases were caused by resting your head on your hand. You are unwittingly shoving skin on the cheeks upward. If this is done frequently and forcefully then whiteheads should form. They don’t appear on the cheeks as one might expect, though, because this is not the area that is stretched. They appear on the jawline. If true, this is a case for acne not being caused by the dirt, oil, or bacteria on your hands.

If someone has a fluid pimple on their nose, I know that they forcefully and frequently picked their nose ~24 hours prior. Picking your nose stretches the outer surface of the nose. The pimple will also develop atop the particular nostril that was picked.

A fluid pimple that develop on the edge of your eyelid is commonly known as a stye. These are caused by stretching the skin of the eyelid. This act is unknowingly committed when you quell itches on the left and right sides of your eyeball. If this is done with enough frequency and force then a fluid pimple will result on the upper lid margin. It is always on the upper eyelid—not lower—because we always scratch downward rather than upward. Similar to a pimple on the jaw, the pimple is on the rim of the eyelid because this is the most stretched area. It does not occur where you actually scratched—the left and/or right sides of the eye.

Recurring Acne

Some cases of forehead pimples arise from forceful and frequent scratching of the forehead with fingernails. This is also a common location for the vicious cycle of pimple extraction: in the process of extracting a pimple with your fingers, you’re also forcefully stretching the skin that surrounds this pimple. Thus, it is quite likely that whiteheads will form the next day, right next to the extraction location. This vicious cycle is why it seems as if pimples are caused by germs and spread to nearby skin. The old adage for acne, “Don’t touch your face,” remains true but not because of germs. Not touching will prevent you from stretching and squeezing the skin.

Internally Affecting the Skin via Muscle

Perhaps more common than pimples caused by external manipulation are pimples caused by an internal force—muscles. Beneath the layer of skin is a layer of muscle. Muscle development can stretch and squeeze the top layer of skin. For example, if someone develops a pimple atop the masseter muscles (located on side of the face), I have a good educated guess on what occurred the day before. They ate something that is incredibly tough and chewy, such as a loaf of sourdough bread, which worked out the masseter muscles, which swelled up and stretched the skin, which resulted in a fluid pimple or two. However, if they already had well-developed jaw muscles then the skin wouldn’t stretch as much and thus no pimple would form. When it comes to muscles stretching the skin, the history matters. Sudden muscle growth is what stretches the skin and causes acne.

This is also my explanation for acne that occurs as a side effect of taking anabolic steroids. I believe it has nothing to do with tainted or dirty drugs and everything to do with the sudden muscle growth stretching the skin. Naturally working out a muscle with high-intensity can also give rise to a pimple atop that muscle. Sudden muscle growth is also my explanation for hormonal acne experienced by teens. I believe a surge in testosterone or a drop-off in estrogen hormones can cause one to suddenly use certain muscles that were previously unused. This leads to muscle growth which leads to stretched skin which leads to a fluid pimple.


back acne

Studies have found a correlation between back acne and the wintertime. I hypothesize that during the winter people often curl up and sleep on their side in an effort to conserve body heat. When a person sleeps on their side, the spine juts outward and the shoulders turn inward. The resultant convex shape of the back stretches the skin on the back and therefore eventually produces fluid pimples. The fact that acne even occurs on the back cannot be explained by the theory that acne is caused by dirt, oil, or bacteria (from the hands).

Since coming up with this hypothesis over five years ago I’ve been able to explain just about every pimple on my face and body. This is over 400 instances. Whenever I got a pimple, I would recollect the things I did the day before and I’ve always been able to make sense of its type (i.e. fluid vs. solid) and its location.

The way to prevent acne is to be mindful of when you are stretching (and squeezing) the skin, either internally via muscle hypertrophy, or externally via idle hands. As for a cure to acne, I’ve found success in following conventional methods: exposing the skin to sunlight and high doses of vitamin A. The topical form is known as retinol; the oral form is known as isotretinoin.

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