Acne is a common skin condition where the pores of your skin become blocked by hair, sebum (an oily substance), bacteria and dead skin cells. Those blockages produce blackheads, whiteheads, nodules and other types of pimples. There are a variety of causes including genetics, fluctuating hormone levels, stress, high humidity and using oily or greasy personal care products.
It’s the most common skin condition that people experience. It’s estimated that 80% of people ages 11 to 30 will have at least a mild form of acne. Most people are affected by it at some point in their lives. Acne commonly affects teenagers but can occur at any age.
What are the different types of acne?
Acne can take several forms. They include:
- Blackheads: Open bumps on the skin that fill with excess oil and dead skin. They look as if dirt has deposited in the bump, but the dark spots are caused by an irregular light reflection off the clogged follicle.
- Whiteheads: Bumps that remain closed by oil and dead skin.
- Papules: Small red or pink bumps that become inflamed.
- Pustules: Pimples containing pus. They look like whiteheads surrounded by red rings. They can cause scarring if picked or scratched.
- Fungal acne (pityrosporum folliculitis): This type occurs when an excess of yeast develops in the hair follicles. They can become itchy and inflamed.
- Nodules: Solid pimples that are deep in your skin. They are large and painful.
- Cysts: Pus-filled pimples. These can cause scars.
What causes acne?
- Fluctuating hormone levels around the time of a woman’s period.
- Picking at acne sores.
- Clothing and headgear, like hats and sports helmets.
- Air pollution and certain weather conditions, especially high humidity.
Using oily or greasy personal care products or working in an area where you meet grease (such as working at a restaurant where there are greasy food surfaces and frying oil).
- Stress, which increases the hormone cortisol, can also cause acne to flare.
- Some medications.
Why do so many teenagers get acne?
One of the causes of acne is a surge in hormones called androgens (specifically testosterone), which both women and men produce. Those hormones tend to be at their peak during the teen years.
Do certain foods cause acne?
For the most part, hormonal changes in the body drive acne. There is some evidence that skim milk, whey protein and diets high in sugar may cause acne breakouts, although this remains controversial.
Eating a balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those rich with vitamin C and beta carotene, helps reduce inflammation. There is also some evidence that eating fish can help.
Do I need to see a specialist?
Your acne can be managed by your general healthcare provider. However, when acne does not improve or is severe you should see a board-certified dermatologist.
Can acne be prevented?
Preventing acne is difficult if not impossible during normal hormonal changes. But some things can help:
- Properly wash your face
To help prevent pimples, it’s important to remove excess oil, dirt, and sweat daily. Washing your face more than twice a day may make acne worse, however.
Don’t wash your face with harsh cleansers that dry skin. Use an alcohol-free cleanser.
To wash your face:
- Wet your face with warm, not hot, water.
- Apply a mild cleanser in a gentle, circular motion using your fingers, not a washcloth.
- Rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.
This light and airy foam cleanser provides deep cleaning for acne-prone skin, all without over-drying
- Moisturize skin
Moisturizers help skin stay hydrated. But many moisturizers contain oil, synthetic fragrance, or other ingredients that may irritate skin and cause pimples.
To help prevent pimples, use fragrance-free moisturizers after you wash your face or when your skin feels dry.
Normaderm Beautifying Anti-Acne Care is Vichy's most powerful anti-blemish moisturizer, shown to fight signs of blemish-prone skin. Enriched with [Air Licium + Phe Resorcinol] technology to help skin feel hydrated while looking radiant and beautiful.
This rich moisturizing serum is a must that delivers an instant boost of radiance, addresses uneven skin tone, and reduces the look of premature ageing.
- Use over-the-counter acne treatments
Over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments may help zap pimples fast or prevent them in the first place. Most contain either benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur. Use an OTC treatment to spot-treat pimples. Or use it as a maintenance regimen to control outbreaks. To help prevent side effects such as redness, irritation, and dryness, precisely follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions.
AKLIEF (Trifarotene 50 mcg/g) topical cream is indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris of the face or trunk in patients 12 years of age and older.
- Limit sun exposure
Catching some rays may dry out pimples in the short term, but it causes major problems in the long run. Frequent sun exposure dehydrates the skin, which over time causes it to produce more oil and block pores.
It’s important to wear sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer. However, many sunscreens are oily. For both sun and pimple protection, wear a oil-free sunscreen.
Cetaphil Sun SPF50+ Very High Protection Light Gel is oil free and emulsifier free, spreads easily and leaves a pleasant, non-sticky feeling. The formulation is quickly absorbed resulting in a matt finish.
- Don’t be a pimple popper
As tempting as it may be to squeeze that larger-than-life whitehead on the tip of your nose, don’t. Popping pimples may cause bleeding, severe scarring, or infection. It may also increase inflammation and clog surrounding pores, making your pimple problem worse. For treatment of scars and blemishes find our recommendation below.
Pigmentclar Serum: an intensive serum with patented innovation to reduce the appearance of pigmentation. With a gentle moisturizing fluid texture and specially formulated for sensitive skin. Skin tone looks more even and radiant.