What Is Acne?

What Is Acne?

What Is Acne?

Acne can come in many forms. However, for this site, we are mainly concerned with Acne Vulgaris, the most common type referred to as “zits” or “pimples.”

You should also know the commonly found rosacea (Acne Rosacea) is also acne, but will not be discussed throughout this site.

Throughout your readings on this article, when acne is referred to, assume it to be Acne Vulgaris unless otherwise noted.

There are a few common types of acne, including blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and pustules.

Your skin’s natural oils cannot get to the surface, causing these forms of acne. This is commonly referred to as having clogged pores.

Beneath the skin, in your pores, is where the acne forms. The mix of your natural oils and dead skin cells causes the formation of acne.

Keeping your pores clear is vital to your acne treatment regimen. A blocked pore allows the oil and skin cells to mix, forming one of many types of acne. With whiteheads and pustules, you may pop the pimple if it seems like it is ready to burst through the skin.

Never try to pop a pimple. If it is deep below the skin, it could cause the bacteria to burrow deeper into the skin, causing greater damage. Papules are little red dots that should not be attempted to pop or squeeze. It will cause further irritation and no other results.

Blackheads are often the most frustrating of acne to get rid of. It has a larger life span than pustules and whiteheads and may be deeper within the skin.

Therefore, a blackhead can take many weeks before it drains to the top of the skin. If you suffer from blackheads, consult your dermatologist for proper treatment.

Much acne is treatable, whether you are prone to blackheads or common pimples; there are plenty of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter that can assist you.

As you can see, though, acne forms beneath the skin, meaning it is crucial to keep your pores clean to allow for oil to escape to the top of the skin. Washing your face a few times a day is the first step in keeping your pores clean.

Acne Prevention

When referring to “acne treatments” there is a little difference between this and “acne treatments.” Acne treatments describe what can be done to stop acne if you already have it.

Acne prevention, however, would be the latter step in acne prevention, after you have cleared up all your previous blemishes.

Therefore, acne prevention techniques should be used for those who are afraid of getting acne, just entering their teen years, want to avoid ever getting acne, or have just cleared up all of their acne from past breakouts.

The difference between prevention and treatment lives in the type of facial medications you choose to use. For treating acne, especially severe acne, one should not only wash your face but also speak with a dermatologist to get a prescription.

These prescriptions contain some sort of medicine that helps kill the already-formed acne and may prevent acne. However, for those people that currently have no acne, these medications may be too strong and cause unnecessary irritation to the skin.

It is always recommended that you wash your face at least twice a day with a mild soap or face wash, but to truly prevent acne, it may be necessary to use some preventative measures.

One of the best preventative measures I have found is to use a product containing 2% salicylic acid twice a day, about ten minutes after you finish washing your face. This will allow adequate time for the face to dry and your pores to close, causing less irritation to the face.

Another great product to use is benzoyl peroxide. Some studies show that 2.5% benzoyl peroxide may be the most effective concentration, however, it is sometimes hard to find a product containing this minimal amount.

It is more common to find the maximum strength of a 10% dose. This dose should work just fine if you cannot find the 2.5%, do not stress over it. Once again, apply twice daily for about ten minutes after washing your face.

With both acne prevention tips, it is important to not mix them, stick with either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Using both will most likely cause your face to become irritated, dry, or red.

Whichever preventative treatment you decide to use, make sure you stick with it for several weeks. If you do not get any acne during that time, consider it a success.

Unlike many prescription medicines, your face will not flare up with a breakout after you being to use whichever product you decide on.

Depending on your preference, it is up to you to decide what prevention technique works best. I usually recommend starting off with benzoyl peroxide, as it seems to be the most effective.

Acne Myths

  • There are a ton of acne myths floating around out there, so hopefully, this list will help you determine what acne facts are and what is acne fiction is.
  • First off, one of the oldest acne myths is that eating oily foods or desserts will make you break out. While not taking care of your hygiene may indeed lead to acne, eating a piece of chocolate has no effect. As long as you wash your face and stick to your acne treatment, then you will be fine, no matter what you eat.
  • Another common myth is that your daily stress contributes to acne. Many times it is not stressed itself that is causing acne but forgetting to wash your face and maybe even touching your face a greater amount. As long as you continue your daily acne regimen, stress should not influence your skin.
  • Some people believe that acne is just a physical problem. While it can leave scars and other visible signs, acne is also an emotional problem. Many times, acne sufferers have lower self-esteem and confidence. Therefore, if acne is causing you emotional pain, it is very important to start an acne treatment right away.
  • Finally, another myth is that acne is a teenager’s problem. Unfortunately, many adults also have acne. Also, if acne is left untreated during your teenage years when it is most prevalent, it can leave scarring on your face. No matter what age, it is important to wash your face daily to prevent acne.


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