Sometimes we tend to think of acne as a modern phenomenon. But quite the contrary, ancient people wrote of acne as soon as they could write at all. Ancient Egyptian writings mention how Pharoahs struggled with the disease. Traces of an essential oil used in the treatment of acne scars were found in King Tut’s tomb.

Fast forward to Ancient Greece, and we find that people were affected at this time as well. In fact, we get the word “acne” from the ancient Greeks.

Ancient scholars have uncovered evidence of sulfur and mineral water treatments in ancient Rome as well. As far as historians can tell, sulfur, despite its questionable efficacy, was the most popular acne treatment used in antiquity, all the way up until the 20th century when a bevy of other treatments started to hit the scene.

Luckily, today we have more options than our ancients friends did. Since the 1930s, we’ve seen the introduction of two incredibly effective treatments–benzoyl peroxide in the early part of the century, and Accutane in the latter part of the century.

This all begs two questions: (1) Was acne around before civilization? We know that as soon as civilization developed and people began writing, there was acne, but what about before civilization, when people were still hunting and gathering? (2) What is it about the human body and/or the effects of human civilization that causes acne? I hope to help figure it out. I think 5,000 years of acne (or more) is quite enough! With modern technology and scientific research methods, perhaps we can end this affliction.

Question to you guys: If you didn’t think about it and just asked your gut…”What causes acne?” what is the answer? Don’t edit yourselves. I want to hear even the craziest of responses 🙂