Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that causes spots and pimples, especially on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms.
Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin disease that occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. It primarily affects areas of the skin with a relatively high number of oil glands.
This skin disease is caused by an excess of sebum, the oily substance produced by glands found at the base of hair follicles.
When these glands produce too much sebum, the follicles become plugged with dead skin cells, debris, and Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria, resulting in pimples and inflammation which typically become active during the teenage years or during puberty, when the sebaceous glands activate.
However, This skin disease can occur at any age. It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars. It is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans yearly.
Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.
Types Of Acne
Acne comes in many shapes and sizes, and the first step to creating an effective skin care routine is identifying which type of acne troubles you.
Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, and nodules are all types of acne
Blackheads are comedones that are open at the surface of the skin. They are filled with excess oil and dead skin cells. It is not dirt that causes the comedone to turn black. The black hue results from the irregular reflection of light coming from clogged hair follicles.
It is this exposure to oxygen that accounts for their color, which can not only be black but also gray, yellow or brown. Blackheads can frequently be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, blackheads are a mild, usually painless form of acne that are clearly visible, they are black and appear on the surface of the skin.
Comedones that stay closed at the surface of the skin or sit on top of the skin are called whiteheads. They appear as small, white, round bumps on the skin’s surface. Whiteheads form when a clogged pore is trapped by a thin layer of the skin leading to a buildup of pus. They range in size from virtually invisible to large, noticeable blemishes and can appear on the face or all over the body.
Whiteheads are generally painless and non-inflammatory, so they don’t exhibit redness or swelling. Although they are unsightly, this type of pimple is generally considered a mild form acne. This happens when oil and skin cells prevent a clogged hair follicle from opening.
A papule is technically any small, raised bump on the skin. It is often part of a grouping of other papules that form a rash (i.e. dermatatis, allergic reactions, eczema). In terms of acne, it is a bump that is red in color and swollen with inflammation.
Papules are more painful than whiteheads or blackheads, but not as bad as nodules or cysts. You can treat them with drying lotions or spot treatments. This type of acne are small and usually have pink bumps, and they are visible on the surface of the skin
Pustules are another form of moderate acne very similar to papules. The difference is that pustules are filled with liquid pus, giving them a white or yellowish appearance akin to blisters. They are accompanied by surrounding inflammation and are usually tender and hard (but not as hard as papules).
Pustules appear when white blood cells attempt to fight off infection within a given area. However, pustules are clearly visible on the surface of the skin and they are red at their base and have pus at the top.
A nodule is an abnormal tissue growth which can either develop just below the skin or anywhere within the skin’s three layers (the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue). Nodules commonly form in regions such as the face, neck, armpits, and groin, although they can also develop on internal organs such as the lungs, thyroid, and lymph nodes.
Nodules are hard and firm to the touch, unlike cysts whose pus makes them softer to the touch. This type of severe acne should be consulted by a doctor, as it might be indicative of a more serious condition. Nodules should be treated by a dermatologist. Over-the-counter treatments may not be powerful enough to clear them up because they are large, solid, painful pimples that are embedded deep in the skin
cysts are much worse than regular pimples. They lie deep within the skin, they are often caused by hormones, and they occur when the pores become blocked and lead to infection. Cysts are large, pus-filled lesions that look similar to boils. Like nodules, cysts can be painful and should be treated by a dermatologist. People who develop nodules and cysts are usually considered to have a more severe form of acne.
Causes Of Acne
Acne occurs when sebaceous (oil) glands attached to the hair follicles are stimulated at the time of puberty or due to other hormonal changes. Sebum (oil) is a natural substance that lubricates and protects the skin.
Associated with increased oil production is a change in the manner in which the skin cells mature, predisposing them to plug the follicular pore. The plug can appear as a whitehead, blackhead, papules, Pustules, Nodules and cysts.
Hereditary factors can have a significant effect on the skin. If your parents have struggled with acne, you are genetically predisposed to do the same. Acne Einstein examined various studies about the effects of genetics on this common skin condition and found concrete evidence linking heredity and acne.
Hormonal Factor (Puberty)
The most common acne type develops during adolescence due to puberty. When a child reaches puberty, the brain will release a hormone called GnRH, which travels down to the pituitary gland and signals the release of two additional hormones, LH and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Hormonal fluctuations and an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone levels have proven to be a direct cause of acne. For this reason, many experience an onslaught of breakouts during puberty and pregnancy. The onset of these hormones sends a signal to the skin glands to produce more sebum, which leads to acne pimples. Fluctuations in hormones also cause many women to experience acne during pregnancy and a worsening of breakouts during menstrual cycles.
Certain medical conditions can exacerbate or trigger acne flare-ups. For example, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can experience breakouts. About 5 to 10 percent of women have PCOS, and if you have noticed excessive hair growth, irregular periods, and weight gain, along with noticeable acne breakouts, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor.
The environment you live in can affect your skin. If you live in an area that is heavily saturated with pollution, you may find your skin is clogged more easily, resulting in more frequent acne flares. Exposure to oil and grease in the workplace or at home can also have an effect on your acne. If you live in humid conditions, maintain a job which requires physical labor that causes excess sweating, or is extremely physically active, you might find your skin is affected.
Certain medications contain steroids; these are commonly labeled with prednisone, cortisone or hydrocortisone. Overuse of steroid medications results in higher levels of androgens, which can secrete more sebum and result in what is known as “steroid acne”. Always check to see if acne is listed under adverse effects on any new medication.
Contraceptives can also become a culprit of increased acne conditions. Anytime there is a change in hormone levels within the body, this fluctuation can result in breakouts, and as contraceptives adjust hormones, it is apt to affect your skin.
In the simplest sense, acne is caused when pores containing hair follicles and sebaceous (oil) glands become clogged. The sebaceous gland is responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance necessary for skin to stay hydrated and soft. However, too much sebum can plug the opening at the top of the pore, trapping a buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria leading to acne lesions.
There has been a long-observed link between higher stress levels and the incidence of breakouts, and studies have shown that stress can worsen acne’s frequency and severity. Sebaceous glands contain receptors for stress hormones, making them upregulated and kicking sebum production into overdrive.
Unfortunately, those with stress sometimes fall victim to a vicious acne cycle. Anxious types have a tendency to pick their skin and pop pimples under stress. This bad habit can exacerbate blemishes by pushing the buildup deeper into the pore, inducing cellular damage, rupturing cellular walls, and spreading bacteria
Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including skim milk and carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, bagels and chips may worsen acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of making acne worse. A small study of 14 men with acne showed that eating chocolate was related to a worsening of symptoms.
Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Acne
Many people use natural remedies to help clear up acne scars, but the science behind them is unclear. Some may cause further irritation or other problems so people should use them with caution.
Home remedies that people have traditionally used to treat acne scars include:
Garlic is a fantastic tool for fighting acne due to its high levels of antioxidants, as well as its’ anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. There are two ways you can use garlic to clear up acne. The first is a preventative measure, which is simply by adding more garlic to your diet.
This helps your general health as well as purifies your blood, which can help to stop future break outs. For more immediate results, take a peeled clove of garlic and rub it on the troubled area several times a day. If your skin is sensitive, try crushing the garlic and mixing it with some water.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is renowned for being good for the skin. It also contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes it highly beneficial for acne treatment. In fact, studies that compare tea tree oil to the acne medication benzoyl peroxide shows it to be just as effective.
But please remember to dilute tea tree oil before you use it; otherwise, your skin may get irritated. To use tea tree oil mix tea tree oil with water in a 1:9 ratio, wash your face with warm water and apply the diluted mixture to the affected area with a cotton wool ball.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel has a triple threat pleasant soothing effect on the skin. Not only does it cool your skin down, it also reduces the inflammation of pimples and removes the oiliness from your skin. Apart from buying aloe vera gel from organic markets and drug stores, you can also make your own.
Buy and cut aloe vera leaf into section, turn your blade to its side and slide it just under the skin to get the flesh, cut the flesh into pieces and place in a clean bowl and put the flesh into your blender and blend it smooth. Keep the smooth gel in your refrigerator and paste the aloe vera gel on the infected area of your skin every now and then.
Baking soda is a well-known natural remedy for pimples. Its antiseptic properties make it effective in destroying bacteria in the affected area. Also, baking soda has restorative function as it stimulates the growth of new skin cells. To use baking soda to cure acne mix equal portions of baking soda and water to form a thick paste, apply the paste on your skin for 30 minutes and rinse it off with warm water.
Cinnamon And Honey Mask
The stickiness of honey helps remove dirt from your skin. In addition to being delicious, honey is a natural antibiotic which makes it perfect for healing and reducing pimples. As an added bonus, its stickiness helps to remove excess dirt and impurities from your skin. In its raw form, honey is amazing and the darker it is the more medicinal properties it contains.
Mixing honey with cinnamon is a great renewal treatment that can help keep skin smooth and clear. Honey and cinnamon make a (literally) killer combo when it comes to acne. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties, so it can help stop bacteria from getting out of hand. If it does, the honey is a natural anti-biotic, ready and waiting to wipe the little buggers out.
You can utilize this combination by making a simple mask. Rinse your face with water and pat dry. Mix 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon together until they are thoroughly blended and have formed a sort of paste. Apply the mask to your face (or spot treat) and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off completely, and pat your face dry.
Lemon juice can help get rid of breakouts for a number of reasons. It is rich in vitamin C, which is good for all types of skin, and it is a citric acid, so it helps ‘exfoliate’ the skin as well. Most importantly though, it is an astringent. An astringent will cause a contraction of body tissues, and will therefore dry out the blemish itself.
It is also a natural skin whitener, which helps reduce redness. If you want to lighten your scar, lemon is a great choice. It has alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), meaning it has the healing properties your skin needs. Known as a natural bleach, this lightener aids in new cell growth and gives your skin its elasticity back.
Have your AHA moment with a little lemon. Start by cutting a lemon in half and rub a half over the scar; squeeze the lemon to let it soak the scar for about 15 minutes. Dab with cool water to rinse.
Egg Whites Mask
Egg whites are an easy and affordable way to help reduce acne and fade scars left by unfortunate blemishes. The reason people have found egg whites to be helpful for their skin is because they are chock full of proteins and vitamins that both combat acne, and help to rebuild your skin cells. They also soak up excess oil, which means excess sebum. Just make sure to use a good moisturizer afterwards, as they can dry your skin out a bit.
To apply separate the whites from the yolks. You can use as many as you like, but normally 2 to 3 is enough. Whisk the whites until they are frothy, and let them sit for a few minutes. Cover your face with the mixture focusing on problem spots. 3 to 4 layers is usually enough, but make sure to wait the first has dried before applying more. Allow the mask to sit and dry for about 20 minutes before rinsing off completely with warm water and a patting dry with a soft washcloth. Apply moisturizer appropriate for your skin type.
Turmeric is great for acne scars specifically because it contains curcumin, a compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce excess production of melanin, which adds pigmentation to your scar and makes it darker.
This treats discoloration and helps skin glow. It’s also antiseptic so it smooths your skin without irritation. Use it with honey, just add equal parts of honey and turmeric (1 tsp each) and keep it on for about 20 minutes to allow the paste to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
We all know shea butter helps women prevent or eliminate stretch marks, so why wouldn’t it work on scars? Apply it daily to feel its moisturizing effects brightening your skin. If you can find unfiltered raw shea butter, use that instead of any refined version. Refined usually means nutrients have been broken down or destroyed. So ensure you get the unrefined one and apply it to the affected areas.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a powerhouse when it comes to acting as an acne remedy. This is because apple cider vinegar helps to kills off the bacteria that may be causing all the trouble in the first place. It also becomes alkaline, and balances the pH of your skin, which in turn makes it harder for bacteria to thrive.
To top it all, it is an astringent like lemon juice, and will help dry up excess oil. Keeping that in mind, don’t overdo and dry out your skin too much. This could cause the sebaceous glands overproduce to compensate, therefore triggering an outbreak.
To apply dip a cotton ball into vinegar and apply it directly to the blemish. Leave on for at least 10 minutes, or overnight. Reapply several times a day, washing face thoroughly after each time. Make sure to use a moisturizer afterwards as well if you feel like your skin is getting dry.
Cucumber works as an anti-inflammatory, which is why people use cucumber slices to combat puffy eyes! They work just as well for pimples and will help to reduce the angry redness of them. You can make a cucumber face mask for instant effects.
Peel one-half of a cucumber and chop it into pieces, toss the pieces into a blender add 2 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel and add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Apply the mixture on your skin and leave it for 10-15 minutes and rinse it off with warm water.
How To Get Rid Of Acne (Acne Treatments)
When it comes to how to remove acne, there are generally three different treatment routes. Some can be performed in conjunction with one another, while others require exclusive usage, while some do not need a strong prescription.
Treatments include over-the-counter creams and cleanser, as well as prescription antibiotics.
Systemic acne medications are consumed orally, such as antibiotics or hormone pills, and they work from the inside out to help clear your complexion. Antibiotics can help kill the bacteria lodged within infected pores to reduce inflammation, redness and swelling.
Hormones pills such as birth control are frequently used to regulate androgen levels and treat hormonal acne. You won’t be able to purchase systemic treatments over the counter (OTC) because you will need a doctor’s recommendation for these medications.
This refers to acne medications which are applied directly onto the skin, such as creams, gels, serums and ointments. Topical treatments can be found over-the-counter (OTC) or at a pharmacy when prescribed by a doctor.
If you are shopping for topical treatment solutions, look for products that contain acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid that can penetrate pores to loosen and dissolve debris. Topical solutions are generally best suited to treat mild to moderate acne.
Self-care practices and lifestyle choices can also help clear complexions. Nutrition, stress management, ample sleep, and good hygiene can help treat existing acne and might be able to prevent it from forming in the first place. Self-care practices can and should be used in conjunction with all skincare treatments; they even deliver health benefits for those without acne problems.
Stages s Of Acne Disease
There are three stages involve in acne, they are the mild stage, moderate stage and severe stage. See Image below.
Is Acne Permanent?
In the majority of cases, acne is not permanent. However, untreated acne can result in permanent consequences, including scarring. Cystic acne is the most common cause of permanent acne scars. While acne may not be permanent, it is important to seek treatment and preventive care to avoid further damage.
Do’s And Don’t’s Of Acne
- Find products labeled non-comedogenic, which means that they won’t clog pores or worsen breakouts.
- Wear sunscreen everyday (even after your pimples subside!) because the strong ingredients in acne medications can increase sensitivity.
- For acne lesions that painful, apply ice for fast relief and reduced swelling.
- Eat a clean and balanced diet, and avoid those acne-inducing foods we listed earlier on.
- Never, ever pop your pimples. It can lead to scarring, spread infection, and worsen breakouts.
- Quick fixes and miracle products are usually too good to be true and might clog your pores further. Be patient with your skincare routine.
- Applying toothpaste onto your acne lesions has an excessively drying effect and can even bleach your skin, despite what the myths claim.
- Touching your face or picking your skin spreads bacteria from your hands onto your pores, contributing to congestion issues.
Conclusively, after learning how to get rid of pimples and beginning your acne treatment, keep in mind that pimples might leave a red or dark spot on your skin after they go away.
These marks will fade out at times goes on, but it could take days, weeks, or even months. Stay diligent, remain hopeful, and use this guide to get rid of pimples once and for all.