Things to know about acne

Everything you need to know about Acne

Acne is a condition where oils glands of the skin become clogged, forming spots, pimples, and sometimes cysts.Get the details on acne causes, treatment, and prevention.
Acne, whether you’ve struggled with it for years, or just get a random zit before your period, is a source of agony for many. This makes finding the right acne treatment—in the right ingredient, formula and concentration—the absolute beauty holy grail. But before you get to work and reach this step, you’re probably wondering why you’re breaking out in the first place, what your zit means, and what you can do to never get one again. Here’s what we know.

Why do I get acne?

You usually get a pimple when the pores of your skin become blocked with a mix of oil, dead skin and bacteria. This shows up on the surface as inflammation in the form of a whitehead, blackhead or cyst. Eventually, the pores become clogged and push their contents to the skin’s surface. It is important to note that it is multifactorial. You can be hit with a zit for many reasons, some of which you can control and others you can’t. It is not a definitive list—because so many things can cause breakouts at different times in your life. But if any of these issues ring a bell, here’s what you can do.

  • You could have oily skin

Some people are genetically programmed to make more oil. Skin cells stick together within the follicles (especially if you aren’t exfoliating) and then trap oil from reaching the surface. This causes oil to fill the pore, which when melded with any bacteria in the area, leads to acne.


  • Your beauty products could be getting in the way

You might be trying really hard to eat better, sleep more often and stick to your anti-acne routine. But if your products aren’t working for you, they could be causing acne. Mineral oil, for example, which is in many moisturisers, could clog your pores and cause blackheads or whiteheads. Fragrance, if you’re sensitive to it, could also increase inflammation and make you more prone to zits.
  • You’re about to get your period

Just before you get your period, oestrogen and progesterone levels fall, and testosterone levels are higher than usual. This triggers your sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum. Too much can result in clogged pores and breakouts. This is true in the case of medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which cause an overproduction of androgens, which can cause hormonal acne. These are usually seen on the bottom half of the face.
  • You’re stressed out

When you’re nervous, upset or overwhelmed, your body is in a fight-or-flight mode for longer than it should be. This causes the production of a corticotropin-releasing hormone and cortisol. These promote the overproduction of oil, which leads to a worsened inflammation.

  • You’re eating sugary foods

When blood sugar levels spike, the body produces more insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Eating foods with a high glycemic index can cause breakouts. Increased insulin ups the level of androgens, which increases sebum production.

  • You’re not washing your face enough (or you’re over-washing it)

To help prevent pimples, it’s important to remove excess oil, makeup, and sweat daily, so you can prevent congestion. Exfoliating is key too. You can ensure that you break down the glue between dead skin cells so they don’t stick together and accumulate. But, at the same time, if you over-cleanse, you could dehydrate your skin, which could make things worse. When skin is too dry, it causes a backup of dead skin, as well as excess sebum production to overcompensate, which hampers the balance even further.

What are the different kinds of acne?

The five main kinds of acne are whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules and cysts.
What It Is What You Can Do 
Whiteheads They form when a pore gets clogged by sebum and dead skin cells. However, it is non-inflammatory.
Blackheads These are similar to whiteheads, but the top is oxidised, so it looks black and dark. 
Papules  These occur when the walls surrounding your pores break down due to intense inflammation. This results in a hard, painful bump.
Pustules  Pustules are filled with pus, and are super inflamed. They are painful and warm to the touch. 
Cysts  They are caused due to clogs very deep in the skin. They take the longest to go away, and are most likely to scar.

What are the major topical skincare ingredients I can use?

When it comes to tackling acne, topical ingredients are the most effective. They work to prevent, inhibit and treat them. These are some of the most popular ones you’ll spot on ingredient labels:

  • Salicylic acid 

The structure of the salicylic acid molecule makes it oil soluble, so it is able to break down the oil collected in the pores. It is able to penetrate so deep into the skin, unclogging pores and cleaning it deeply. Using an acne spot corrector gel that contains salicylic acid helps in controlling oil production and prevents breakouts. This is an ideal ingredient to use if you have blackheads or whiteheads and it works as a great preventative agent. 

  • Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide works by inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria and peeling dead skin cells away. It can cause dryness and irritation if you apply too much of it though, so doctors suggest layering it as a spot treatment. 

  • Retinoids

Retinoids increase the turnover rate by getting rid of the top layer of dead skin cells and promoting the growth of new collagen and healthy new skin. It works as the gold standard for acne therapy. 

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHAs like glycolic acid is water soluble, it exfoliates the dead skin cells on the surface, to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. 

  • Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a comedolytic, so it breaks down pore blockages and keeps new ones from forming, and it is able to get rid of the bacteria on the surface, reducing redness and inflammation in the process. 

The Conclusion 

Having acne can be a difficult thing to deal with, but remember, your worth as a person is not defined by the presence or absence of it. When you incorporate the right products into your routine, the road to clear skin doesn't seem like a bumpy ride. By consistently following this routine, you can help regulate oil production, unclog pores, and prevent future breakouts. Achieving radiant and acne-free skin won't seem like a far-fetched dream anymore. 


1.What can I do as soon as I feel a zit coming on?

Keep your hands off! You don’t want to risk transferring any bacteria from your fingers onto the inflamed area and making it worse. Pros suggest icing the area—it soothes and may reduce redness. You may want to treat the area with small amounts of salicylic acid, and then layer a moisturizer to prevent dryness.

2.What measures can I take to prevent oily skin? 

Blotting excess oil from your skin is an excellent way of preventing excess oil appearance throughout the day. Keep in mind to cleanse your face even after exercising. Never skip putting on sunscreen. 

3.What causes acne on the face? 

Acne is caused when sebum and dead skin cells clog the hair follicles. It is also caused due to hormonal changes seen during puberty which can increase oil production, leading to acne. Factors like stress and diet can also contribute to acne outbreaks. 

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