Breakouts of acne are typically due to high androgen levels. The over consumption of foods with high ratings on the glycemic index, hormonal changes and some medications can raise androgen levels. This causes an increase in sebum, which damages cell walls in the skin, allowing bacteria to build up.
Being prone to breakouts has a genetic component, according to Medical News Today. Stress, oily cosmetics and hair products, sunburn and too frequent cleansing can also aggravate acne in those prone to breakouts, as can excessive sweating. Exfoliating scrubs, harsh cleansers and other products that irritate the skin should also be avoided.