Acne has that notorious ability to ‘pop-up’ every time there is an important occasion to attend! Unwillingly, we have all gone through this at one point or another. While, it may disappear in a day or two. In some cases acne might persist for a long time, leaving you frustrated. This urge leads you to try every possible way to get rid of it.
And most of the time, the products you use to treat acne, end up worsening the condition. So, to direct your treatment in a right direction, it is important to know your acne type.
Know and Identify your acne
Acne forms when the skin pores are clogged with excess oil from excessive sebum production, dead cells, bacterial infection and dirt particles. The clogged pores may inflame the hair follicles causing painful breakouts. And when the congested pores do not inflame the follicles, they form painfree non-inflammatory acne.
Did you know is that acne can appear on any skin type- oily, combination and even dry skin?
Generally, acne can be categorized into 6 major types:
- Whiteheads (non-inflammatory)- This type of acne forms when you have closed pores with bacteria, or oil or dead skin cells stuck. These are not painful in nature.
- Blackheads (non-inflammatory)- Such non-painful acne type appears within open pores which are clogged with impurities like dirt, or extra sebum from sebaceous glands.
- Papules (inflammatory)- It develops when the impurities clogged into the pores inflame the hair follicles. It does not have visible pus.
- Pustules (inflammatory)- It is the next stage of Papules. Here, the acne develops visible blobs of pus. It can cause pain in the affected area.
- Nodules (inflammatory)- This type of acne is painful with acne lesions deep under the skin. It appears as red bumps on your skin and may take a few weeks to heal.
- Cystic lesions (inflammatory)- Cystic acne is the stubborn form of nodular acne. It is deep rooted under the skin damaging the layers. It is the most painful among all types of acne. This is why it should not be ignored.
The below pictures will help you identify.
Hear it from the expert!
Dr. Aseem Sharma, a board-certified Dermatologist, Dermatosurgeon, Trichologist at Skin Saga says that before treating the acne, it is important to understand how acne forms.
Interestingly, irrespective of the type, acne can happen to anyone- teenagers as well as adults.
The visible difference is that teenagers develop acne (mainly cystic) in the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin). While adults have acne around the chin and jawline and the level of severity depends on the cause.
It's always better to understand the cause to prevent further damage. We are here to guide you through your acne healing journey. So, let’s get familiar with factors triggering acne.
Major causes of acne
Normally, extra oily skin is identified as one of the major factors inducing acne. Nonetheless, there are many lesser known triggers which you need to know before treating acne.
1. Hormonal fluctuations can be blamed for acne
In the teenage years, there are considerable hormonal changes that can cause sebaceous glands to produce excessive oil, activating acne.
On the flipside, among adults, there are hormonal swings among females
- near periods,
- around pregnancy, or
- nearing menopause.
2. Emotional and mental stress is another significant aspect influencing changes in hormones which further produces acne on skin.
Impurities clogging your skin pores can give you acne
Clogged pores are the reason why acne appears on skin in the first place. The open pores are thus magnets for
- dead skin cells,
- excessive sebum.
This blocks pores and even inflames the follicles giving you zits and irritating breakouts.
3. A diet with high GI may aggravate acne on your skin
If you take foods that have a high Glycemic Index, the inflammation in your acne may get worse. GI is the unit determining the amount of sugar rise after eating a specific food item. The following foods have high GI
- processed food products like chips,
- sugary foods like candy bars,
- white rice.
A study in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests a connection between high glycemic index diet and acne. So try to substitute high GI foods with the ones with low GI.
4. Wrong Skincare habits may worsen acne
A wrong or misled skincare regimen will repay your efforts with stubborn acne along with other skin issues. Look at these mistakes that can worsen your acne
Even an acne prone skin needs proper moisturization. Surprised?!
The fact is, a dehydrated skin activates the overworking of sebaceous glands leading to more sebum production and ultimately, acne formation.
Ignoring sunscreen in your daily skincare routine can end up exacerbating acne. Wearing sunscreen also shields your face from the UV rays protecting you from post acne marks. So invest in a good sunscreen.
One of the most careless things you can do is NOT take off the makeup before sleeping. This can congest your pores with dirt, oil and even makeup products. And when you wake up in the morning, acne might welcome you!
So always clean your face before going to bed.
Fret not! Following a suitable regimen to suit your acne prone skin is going to help you in the long run.
Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta, Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist, Founder and Medical Director, ISAAC explains that by following a right skin care regimen, it is possible to clear your acne fast.
Skin care tailored to your acne skin
A good skincare routine will definitely reflect on your face. Relax! We are not going to leave you hanging all confused with what to follow and what not.
Here is a simplified skincare regimen for you to get a smooth skin.
1. Start with a mild, sulfate free, “non-comedogenic” cleanser
As per skin care experts, an unclean face is the most favorable environment for microbial flora to thrive. So, don’t forget to wash your face twice each day with a mild face cleanser that contains acne-fighting ingredients.
A research study mentioned in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences has evaluated that the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of Zinc PCA are found quite effective to treat pimples. Additionally, when you are suffering from acne, a face wash that
- does not cause clogged pores (non - comedogenic)
- and is free of sulfates, acts as a skin savior.
2. Follow with an alcohol free toner
Adding a toner after cleanser benefits you by
- clearing the left off makeup or dirt residues,
- making those large pores on your skin look smaller in size,
- boosting hydration in your skin.
Always use an alcohol-free toner. This is because alcohol dries out your skin which is not good for acne prone skin.
3. Use an antioxidant serum to heal acne lesions
After toning, using a serum can be a wise move in your skincare routine. Look for a serum that is rich in
Both these ingredients can help you with healing painful acne lesions as well as aging.
4. Moisturize with a lightweight moisturizer
As discussed earlier, skipping moisturizer is a big no no when it comes to acne prone skin, and in general as well. So opt for a moisturizer that is
- non-greasy, and
5. Seal it with a safe sunscreen
To avoid aggravated acne or post acne marks induced by the sun, seal your skincare with a final step; sunscreen. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen which is free from oxybenzone as it can trigger acne.
By following these hassle-free steps, you will observe positive differences in your skin and acne concerns.
Topical treatments can fasten up your acne healing
In topical treatment options, there are bio-active ingredients that certainly have medicinal properties to target inflammatory conditions like acne. Since they work on balancing out sebum production killing acne causing bacteria, you will see visible results fast. These can be used in the initial stage of acne as well. They are
1. Salicylic Acid
Among various over-the-counter acne treatments, topical use of Salicylic acid for active acne treatment is found very effective.
- Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) that penetrates into pores to remove all the gunk and impurities.
- Salicylic acid acts as an exfoliant which dissolves all the dead skin cells, ultimately reducing the chances of the formation of whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules.
- In addition, anti-inflammatory properties of salicylic acid help to soothe inflammation and redness in acne wounds.
2. Niacinamide Acid
It is a great option for anyone with oily acne prone, combination acne prone and dry acne prone skin. It has multiple benefits that can upscale your skincare game. Niacinamide has
- anti-inflammatory properties that can calm the irritating zits,
- sebum balancing nature that controls oil production, and
- barrier protection ability as it helps in ceramide synthesis.
When used in the right concentration between 3% to 5%, your acne can heal vividly.
3. Specialized VitaminC- SAP for acne
In a general belief, Vitamin C is considered to cause irritation in skin. But here is some good news! SAP (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate) is a specialized form of Vitamin C for acne prone skin. It benefits your skin by
- boosting collagen production improving skin’s elasticity,
- imparting antioxidants into the skin thereby slowing skin’s aging,
- healing acne with its anti- microbial properties and reducing its appearance .
In a nutshell, it can nourish your skin and provide overall healing to it.
If you look for advanced treatments to heal your acne, medical procedures can be a choice. But be mindful of the fact that sometimes, rather than giving you the desired results, you might get additional harmful side effects. Also, talk to your dermatologist before opting for them. Some of these are as follows
This treatment is trending to heal acne scars. Herein, a stimulated laser beam targets the affected area. It goes deep into the layers of skin to get rid of acne causing bacteria and control oil production. But on the other hand, it can damage the layers of the skin and cause post treatment inflammation, redness on your skin.
These are used to remove the already damaged layer of skin with the main ingredient as glycolic acid. This can render a smooth skin but it comes with a lot of tender post skincare routine. Sunscreen is a must after you get chemical peels. Also, it can cause side effects like redness and fungal infections on the skin. So, have a word with your dermatologist before you get them.
With acne on your face, you might not consider slathering on sunscreen. However, unprotected sun exposure may worsen your condition. Powerful UVA and UVB rays of the sun cause potential damage to your skin, which adds up to the irritation due to acne. To add to this, if you already have acne scars or pigmented skin areas, then sun rays can darken the pigmentation. As per the advice from most dermatologists, ultra light sunscreens with non-comedogenic properties are good for people with sensitive skin that is prone to acne.
Treat your acne with love and care and see the changes in your skin.