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What is Acne?

    what is acne and how to treat acne

    Acne is a skin disorder that affects different people in different ways. It is not contagious, and it does not spread from person to person. Acne develops due to changes in the pilosebaceous unit, the hair follicle, and sebum production. Hence, Acne is typically present on oilier skin types

    Acne forms when the pores' instinct to create a protective barrier becomes clogged and infected with bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells. Acne can affect any person regardless of their age group or gender.

    Acne is not life-threatening and can be treated when adequately diagnosed. Acne can affect one’s self-esteem as it is not pleasing to the eye when imperfections form on the skin. In addition, it leaves blemishes that take a while to clear up. However, thanks to the beauty industry, there are tons of treatments available for all skin types to treat acne and reduce the appearance of blemishes. 

    Types of Acne

    There are several types of acne. It ranges from mildly clogged pores to the more severe forms of nodules or cysts. Acne can occur on any part of the body; however, it most commonly affects the face, neck, chest, and back.

    Acne Vulgaris

    Acne Vulgaris is the most common type of acne. It is usually identified by blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples being present on the skin surface. Teenagers in puberty typically experience this type of acne due to hormonal imbalances in the body. A lack of, or incorrect treatment usually leads this type of acne to develop into a more severe variation such as Nodulistic Acne. 

    Severe Nodulistic Acne

    Nodular Acne develops deep beneath the skin’s surface in the form of cysts. The appearance can be a lot worse, resembling growths on the skin of some sort. This type of acne needs medical treatment by a dermatologist, and failure to treat it can result in more severe infections.


    Comedones are clogged-up hair follicles that turn into a blackhead or whitehead. Blackheads and Whiteheads are present in the majority of the world’s population’s skin at some point in their lives. In one form or another. Whiteheads are usually caused by overstimulation of the skin, such as applying an active ingredient that is not suitable for a particular skin type


    Papules are whiteheads that become inflamed and form red and pink bumps on the skin. Picking at papules can cause the inflammation to become worse and result in skin sensitivity. Proper acne treatment is required for papules in order to reduce the discomfort and appearance of this mild form of acne.


    Pustules resemble large papules that are filled with white or yellow pus. This type of acne is typically painful and leaves scarring once cleared up as the skin is usually quite damaged during the process of the pustule being formed. 


    This is the most modern type of Acne. Basically, acne is formed due to protective face masks that are worn as a safety measure onset by the Global Covid Pandemic. In some industries, workers are required to wear masks for the entirety of their working shift due to government regulations. On the other hand, in some countries, people are required to wear masks as soon as they step outside of their house, also due to government regulations. As a result, due to prolonged wear of these masks, friction on the skin causes irritation that becomes infected by pollution mixed with oil build-up under the face mask - causing Maskne.  

    What causes Acne?

    Acne is caused by several different factors. This includes hormonal changes which typically occur during puberty in teenagers during menopause with women during middle-aged years. Other causes are related to stress, poor diet, and some types of medication.


    Hormonal Acne during puberty is caused by Androgens, the type of hormone that increases while the child’s body transitions into an adult body, causing the sebaceous glands to enlargen and make more sebum. A similar process happens to women whose bodies transition out of the process of being able to have children. 


    Some medications that include corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium cause hormonal imbalances in the body and, as a result, can cause acne breakouts. If you are concerned about certain ingredients in meds resulting in acne breakouts, it is best to consult a dermatologist. Moreover, if you have existing Acne, it is best to avoid such medicines and consult your physician to find an alternative remedy.


    Stress is said to cause breakouts due to hormonal changes that happen in the body when an individual is under prolonged stress. Stress can also aggravate existing acne on the skin. Stress Acne usually comes in the form of pimples and pustules and can be best treated topically. 


    They say you are what you eat and this statement has never been applicable. Studies have shown that consuming a lot of food rich in carbohydrates and starch can cause acne to become worse. Hence, leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle by focusing on what your body consumes can avoid spontaneous Acne breakouts. 

    Should you wish to take it a step further by implementing a diet that is actually good for your skin then the K-Pop Diet will be interesting for you. 

    Remedies for acne

    The best remedy for acne is prevention. Of course, hormonal changes cannot be offset unless when it comes to taking hormonal medication. However, stress can be managed in most cases. You cannot control what happens in the world, to people close to you, and the way that people treat you, but you can control how it affects you. In addition, managing stress can aid in maintaining a healthy diet by avoiding stress eating. 

    Skin Care Regime

    However, there is only so much you can do to prevent Acne; once you have it, there are several measures you can take in treating acne, starting with a good Skin Care Routine. Cleansing is the first step to reducing the risk of Acne as it removes dirt that accumulates throughout the day from the environment and mixes with oils produced by your skin that can increase the risk of clogged pores. Moreover, exfoliation is therefore vital to perform at least 2 to 3 times a week if you do not have sensitive skin. Oily and Combination skin can be exfoliated 3 to 4 times a week, but skin should never be exfoliated every day.  Acne treatments can be incorporated into any skincare regime in the form of serums, masks, or spot treatments. However, some ingredients work better than others to treat Acne.

    Active Ingredients

    Retinol is a booming trend in the consumer beauty industry as it not only targets aging concerns but also acne. Retinoid Creams have been used for decades by acne patients, which were only accessible through prescription by a dermatologist. Retinol is a strong active ingredient and must be used precisely as advised, or it can cause more harm to the skin than good.

    However, in recent years Retinol products have become available to purchase in retail stores. Why now? Because skincare developers have cracked the code to producing retinol products that can be safely applied while still being effective. Educating skincare users on how to apply retinol by taking proper safety measures has made it possible for Retinol to stay available to the public.

    Salicylic Acid is the most common acne target active ingredient as it is a Beta Hydroxy Acid that usually derives from fruit acids typically used for exfoliation as it dissolves dead skin cells and other impurities.

    Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) is slightly stronger than Beta Hydroxy Acids and are present in most chemical exfoliants these days. Skincare brands have innovated different AHA formulas, making it possible to incorporate them into serums, moisturizers, and masks.

    Azelaic Acid contains both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore commonly found in acne treatments. This active is typically applied to the skin types that are sensitive and acne-prone. 

    Acne Myths 

    Old Wives Tails claim that eating chocolate and greasy food can increase the risk of developing acne. However, studies have busted this myth and show that eating chocolate or greasy food does not influence acne.

    Hygiene is a misconception in regards to causing acne. Failure to cleanse environmental pollution can lead to clogged pores. However, most people who experience severe acne do not develop it to poor personal hygiene. 

    Cosmetics raise a lot of discussions when it comes to acne. Some people experience acne outbreaks from cosmetics when they fail to properly cleanse the makeup off at the end of the day, leading to clogged pores that can become a more aggravated form of acne if not properly treated. In contrast, other people experience allergic reactions to some chemicals in cosmetics that appear to be acne. Hence it is important to inform yourself of the type of acne that forms on your skin, as acne treatments may make allergic reactions worse. Should you experience an allergic reaction to certain products, it is then better to avoid similar products and opt for a cleaner skincare brand.

    4 thoughts on “What is Acne?”

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      1. Thank you Lorraine for your comment, we aim to satisfy your curiosity about skin care and the concerns you may potentially experience. Our blogs are regularly updated. Keep coming back for more!

      2. Hi Loraine, I’m chuffed to read that you enjoy the content. Thorough research is the key to finding the skincare that suits your skin type and concerns.

      3. Hi Lorraine,
        We’re so happy to hear that you found the information we provide helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions based on your skin concerns.

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