Ever tried to do research on acne and it felt more like jumping into a pool of hungry sharks? You’re not alone. When it comes to acne, there’s information lurking behind every corner! So let’s see what we know about acne and how we can help you.
First things first, this article is purely for educational purposes. For any diagnostics, please make sure that you consult a professional dermatologist.
So, what do we know about acne?
First, the bad news, :( acne doesn’t have a simple xyz formula. There’s no simple answer. Just as everyone has individual fingerprints, so too does everyone have a different experience with acne. This is because, despite what we might think, acne has no preferences for either gender or age. It’s indiscriminate, and can affect anyone, at any time in their life. And unfortunately, most of the time it really just comes down to genetics.
Acne can occur in many different forms and can start to affect your skin for many different reasons. Some of us may have really heavy breakouts, whilst others have a few cystic pimples to deal with. For some of us certain products might work really quickly and easily, while others need a more rigorous skincare routine or even medical treatment.
It’s important to remember that each and every person’s skin is different.
But, enough of the doom and gloom, there is some good news too! We want to equip you with some basic tools, so that you have the power to work out your needs for you and your skin. So, we’re going to start with how acne works, where it comes from, and how to treat it.
Let’s go back to basics
#1: What is acne and what do clogged pores have to do with it?
According to a medical journal article by Cooper & Harris (2017) acne can be described as
“a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous unit resulting from androgen-induced increased sebum production; altered keratinisation; bacterial colonisation of hair follicles on the face, neck, chest and back by Propionibacterium acnes; and an inflammatory response in the skin.”
Basically, this means that acne shows up in various forms of skin bumps such as blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed pimples. It starts when your pores (hair follicles) have too much of something called “sebum”, an oily substance that is produced by your oil glands, when your glands produce too much of this, acne can occur (Roman et al. 2016).
This overproduction of sebum is normally combined with skin not being able to get rid of excess dead skin cells, which results in bacterial growth in your hair follicles. So when your pores get clogged up with dirt, impurities and dead skin cells this often leads to breakouts.
Stopping this process completely is near impossible due to life’s daily activities and other factors (like genetics), but keeping pores clean means that blackheads or inflamed acne bumps can’t develop so easily. Knowing this can help you to add pore cleansing products to your skincare regime.
Stop trying to “fit” yourself into the age-old skin categories of dry, combination or oily skin and, instead, work to find the products that work for you.
#2: What is acne-prone?
Acne-prone skin: breakouts happen more easily and more often for this type of skin. Typical for acne-prone skin are enlarged pores and oiliness.
Other factors: things such as stress and using an inappropriate skincare regime can also increase the likelihood of acne outbreaks. Understanding your specific skin requirements and using products accordingly can give you the power to fight acne. That’s why starting a skin diary could be a good idea.
#3: What are the different types of acne?
Understanding the different types of acne gives you the power to learn how to treat your specific acne issues.
Acne vulgaris: the medical term for simple acne – a milder form of acne. This is the most common type of acne and can be treated with right skincare routine.
Hormonal acne: caused by a hormonal change or imbalance in our bodies. Hormonal acne usually appears around the mouth area and can vary from mild to severe. If you suspect that your hormones could be the reason for your breakouts, consult a dermatologist.
Cystic acne: the most severe form. The pores are not just clogged, but they also become infected. The best way to treat this type of acne is to consult a dermatologist.
Nodular acne: is the most difficult type to treat. Why? Because it’s painful and a large bump is under the skin. It can lie under the skin for a very long period of time. I have one on my cheek! It drives me nuts.
However, if you are not sure what is going on with your skin, an appointment with your dermatologist may clarify your opinion. Self-diagnosis is not always the most effective way in treating your skin issues.
#4: Is non-inflammatory acne still acne?
Yes, it is. Non-inflammatory acne can come in two types.
Whiteheads: closed, clogged bumps on the skin’s surface. Whiteheads can be caused by a hormonal imbalance. However, this form of acne is categorized as a mild form and can be treated with over-the-counter exfoliants.
Blackheads: known as open comedos (the technical term for blackheads), or otherwise as clogged hair follicles. The treatment for this type of acne is also not difficult. Exfoliate and use clay masks regularly that give your skin the appropriate effects.
#5: What is adult acne?
Adult acne: age is merely a number for both how old we are and our relationship to acne. Even past the hormonal chaos of puberty, adults can get acne. It can come from stress, a hormonal imbalance, or a variety of other factors. I’m 31 and I still get pimples. It is not unusual.
System Akvile’s tip to you: check your hormones and make sure you are using the right skin-care products that fit with your skin!
Let us recap!
Yes, acne is a medical skin condition and depending on its severity it should be treated. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you don’t need to do anything. If you have acne problems, the only way to get rid of it is to treat it. Consult with your dermatologist. Finding a right skincare regime or treatment takes a bit of testing and patience.
#1: Many different internal and external factors may cause the appearance of acne.
#2: Acne presents itself differently for everyone, so attune your skincare regime to your individual needs.
#3: Understanding the basics of acne can help keep you informed about steps to treat it. This helps you to know which questions to ask a dermatologist.
#4: Consult a dermatologist. True diagnostics and recommendations should come from a skin care professional.
Sources, we mentioned: