The Cause of Acne

I hypothesize that acne is caused by stretching or squeezing skin. The stretching of skin will produce a whitehead, which I prefer to call a “fluid pimple.” The squeezing of skin will produce of a blackhead, which I prefer to call a “solid pimple.” It is that simple and has nothing to do with diet nor dirty hands. Why hasn’t anyone else figured this out? Well, first of all, the resultant pimple arises about 24 hours after the act of squeezing or stretching; such everyday minutiae are surely forgotten by then. Secondly, whether a pimple forms or not depends on three factors: the frequency of the stretch/squeeze (quantity), the force of the stretch/squeeze (quality), and the elasticity of the subject’s skin.

I think mud is the perfect analogy for your skin. If you were to put your hands together, stick them in mud, and then separate your hands (pushing the mud aside), you would create a void filled with water. This void is equivalent to a “fluid pimple.” If you were to do the opposite—press mud together—the mud would solidify as water seeps out. This clump of mud is equivalent to a “solid pimple.” The formation of a pimple on doesn’t require two hands or two fingers, though. Friction between your hand or your finger and the skin on your face is sufficient.

Some people have loose, flabby skin while others have tight skin—skin elasticity. This can be attributed to genetics, lifestyle, and diet. This is my explanation as to why subjecting two different people to 10 squeezes on the cheek with 10 newtons of force may result in pimples on one person but not the other. Loose skin is more prone to acne than tight skin, when it comes from external manipulation.

Based on the position of a pimple on someone’s face, I can use deductive reasoning to figure out the offending action performed ~24 hours prior that caused the pimple to form.

Externally Affecting the Skin via Hands


One of the most common locations of fluid pimples is on the jawline. I hypothesize that most cases of jawline acne are caused by resting your head on your hand. You are unwittingly shoving the skin upward. If this is done frequently and forcefully then whiteheads should form. They don’t appear at the point of contact as one might expect, though, because this is not the area that is stretched. The skin at the jaw is stretched. 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 repeatedly 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 develops 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 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 your face 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 an internal force: muscle growth. The hypertrophy of a muscle can stretch the skin on top of the muscle. For example, if someone develops a pimple on the side of the cheek, above the jaw, I would make the educated guess that the person ate something incredibly tough and chewy, such as a loaf of sourdough bread, the prior day. This gave the masseter muscles a proper workout, which swelled up and stretched the skin above, resulting in a fluid pimple or two. It is the “pump,” or sudden muscle growth, that stretches the skin and causes acne. If they had well-developed masseter muscles already then the skin wouldn’t stretch as much and thus a pimple would not form. Forehead acne? This likely came from taxing the frontalis muscle, which is responsible for raising the eyebrows. The frontalis muscle hypertrophies, which increases its mass, which raises the surface of the skin, which results in a fluid pimple or two.

Muscle growth 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, which leads to muscle development which leads to stretched skin which leads to a fluid pimple.


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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