27 facts about acne that you should know.
Acne is among the most common skin problems that teens, young adults, and even older individuals suffer with. This chronic inflammatory disease affects sebaceous hair follicles – which contain fine hair and oil glands that are commonly referred to as sebaceous glands.
Normally, the sebaceous glands make sebum (an oily substance) which travels up the follicle and to the surface of the skin. When you have acne, however, this sebum gets trapped inside the follicle causing skin bacteria to multiply inside the now clogged pores.
To this end, acne tends to develop on parts of the skin which have the most sebaceous glands – including the shoulders, upper arms, back, chest, neck, scalp, and face.
Following are a variety of the most common questions people ask about acne. If you don’t find your specific question answered in the following FAQ’s, please ask it in the comments and we will be pleased to address your concerns.
Table of Contents for Interesting Facts About Acne
What Are the Different Types of Acne?
Q: Are There Different Types of Pimples?
A: There are different types of pimples that you may get. These types of blemishes include:
This type of acne tends to remain under the skin’s surface.
Blackheads are blemishes that happen when you have an open clogged pore; the clog will oxidize and turn dark in color.
Papules are small pink bumps that are sensitive to touch.
These blemishes are filled with yellow or white pus and look red in color.
Nodules are large and painful blemishes; they are solid and remain deep under the skin’s surface.
These are deep, swollen, and painful red pimples that are filled with pus. They tend to cause scarring and are among the most difficult type of pimples to treat.
Q: What Does It Mean If You Have Bumps All Over Your Body?
A: Body acne affects different parts of the body – including the buttocks, thighs, shoulders, back, and chest. If you get breakouts both on your body and your face, then it is highly likely that you have acne vulgaris.
However, if the acne only shows up on your body and not on the face, then it might be as a result of waiting too long to jump in the shower after you work out. The enzymes from the sweat will sit on the skin’s surface and cause an acne breakout. Therefore, you should at least rinse your body off even in those situations when you are pressed for time to get a full shower.
Although body acne is caused by the same factors that cause acne vulgaris, there will be differences in the acne on your body and the ones on your chest, back, and other body parts. The main difference is that face acne is easier to treat because the dermal layer is only 1 to 2 mm thick while on other body parts the dermal layer is thick by close to an inch. This means that the hair follicles sit deeper in the skin and are harder to get through to.
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Q: Why Am I Getting So Many Pimples?
- Environmental irritants like high humidity, pollution, and overexposure to the sun
- Friction, that is caused by rubbing or leaning on your skin
- Hard scrubbing of skin
- Hormonal changes in adult women and adolescent girls 2 to 7 days before menstruation
- Picking at or squeezing your acne blemishes
- Pressure from tight collars, backpacks, hats, and bike helmets
Q: Why Are Pimples Caused?
A: Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands produce more oil (sebum) than usual. When this excess oil mixes with grime, dirt, and dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, it may clog your pores. Bacteria may infiltrate these pores and cause an outbreak of acne.
However, there are many other factors that can cause this skin condition. These include:
Hormonal fluctuations may affect the oil-producing glands during pregnancy, puberty, and right before menstruation.
If you have a history of acne in your family, then it is highly likely that you will also get acne.
Changes in the viscosity or thickness of sebum, the buildup of dead skin cells, scarring from a breakout, using occlusive skincare products, and/or improper cleansing may lead to oil blockage.
Bacteria and acne breakouts go hand in hand. Therefore, you should follow a proper skincare routine and ensure that you do not touch your face; you may also want to ensure that everything that touches your skin – including towels, cleansing brushes, and pillowcases – are all clean.
Stress may make any existing skin condition worse than it already is. Therefore, if you had breakouts in the past and when you feel stressed, the breakout may reappear or become worse.
Studies show that some lifestyle factors – from diet to pollution and overexposure to the sun – may all cause a breakout.
What Gives You Acne?
Q: What Is the Main Cause of Acne?
A: Also referred to as acne vulgaris, acne is a common skin disease that affects men and women, irrespective of their ethnicity. This disease is so common that about 40 to 50 Americans experience it at some time during their lifetime.
Although it is commonly associated with puberty, pimples can strike at any point in your life. Therefore, there are skincare products tailored to deal with the condition. You will typically get acne on the shoulders, chest, back, neck, or face, although it may also appear on your scalp, buttocks, and other body parts.
Q: What Causes Acne in Women?
A: Although acne mostly affects teenagers and young adults, it can also affect those who are later in their life. Adult acne mostly affects women and tends to be stubborn and cyclical. It can be paired with skincare concerns like dehydration, enlarged pores, uneven skin texture or tone, and scars.
When you get acne after adolescence, it might be because of anything – from the products you normally use to your genes, stress levels, and hormonal fluctuations. Adult acne often affects the jawline, chin, mouth and – for women – worsens during menstrual periods.
Adult acne may present itself in any of the following ways:
Relapsing pimples will first occur during your teens, disappear, and then reappear in your adulthood.
Otherwise referred to as late-onset acne, this type of acne will show up in your adulthood. It affects every 1 in 5 women. The blemishes will appear for no reason or as pre-menstrual flare-ups.
Also called continuous acne, these types of pimples extend from teenage to adulthood. The blemishes will typically be constant in their presence.
Most adults who get acne tend to experience dryness – which may worsen if you use acne-fighting lotions, cleansers, and spot treatments. Further, whereas teenage breakouts tend to disappear after clearing, adult acne often causes scarring because the desquamation process may have slowed down.
This process refers to the natural shedding of the dead skin cells and their replacement by the new ones located underneath the skin’s surface.
Q: Can Periods Cause Pimples?
A: At times, you may notice pimples right before your menstrual period. Before you get your period, your body will produce excess androgens – which are a type of male sex hormone – and reduce its estrogen – female sex hormones – production.
The American Academy of Dermatology states that this hormonal fluctuation causes your skin to produce excess sebum, build up dead skin cells, and increase the number of pimples causing bacteria as well as skin inflammation.
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Q: Which Drugs Cause Acne?
A: Many types of medicine may aggravate your already unpleasant state of acne. These include anti-epilepsy drugs and corticosteroids. If you suspect that your acne is worsening due to the drugs you are taking, discuss the problem with your doctor. Never stop taking your medications before seeing your physician.
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What Foods Cause Acne and Why?
Q: Can the Food You Eat Cause Acne?
A: As you continue struggling with acne, you may start wondering whether your diet plays a part in the problem. While studies have shown that foods may affect how your complexion looks – including skim milk, dairy, and excessive sugar – there is still some debate about this issue.
Although there are no definitive proofs to show that diet has a direct correlation with food, it will not hurt you to eat healthier, well-balanced meals. You should also drink as much water as you can muster on any given day.
Q: What Foods are Good for Acne?
A: Eating foods that are low on the glycemic scale – including those that are made of complex carbs – might reduce your risk of getting acne. Here are some examples:
- Unprocessed fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
You should also add foods with the following ingredients to your diet because they are good for the skin and they reduce inflammation:
- Vitamins a and e
To this end, some food choices that are friendly to your skin include:
- Brown rice
- Leafy dark green veggies like spinach
- Lentils, beans, and peas
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole wheat bread
Q: What Not to Eat to Get Rid of Acne?
A: Diet affects the health of your skin. This is because certain foods tend to raise the sugar in your blood faster than others. When this happens, your body will release the insulin hormone in excess, which can cause the oil glands on your skin to start producing oil in excess. This will increase your risk of getting cancer.
Foods that might trigger insulin spikes include:
- White rice
- White bread
These foods are considered high glycemic carbohydrates and are made from simple sugars. They also include chocolate.
The traditional Western diet or standard American diet may also cause acne. It depends on the following:
- High-glycemic carbohydrates
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
These foods will stimulate the production of hormones which will cause the oil glands in your skin to create and secrete excess oil. This diet is also linked to inflammation which may contribute to your acne.
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Q: Does Chocolate Cause Acne?
Studies, for instance, show that women who take dairy in large quantities are particularly susceptible to acne. The problem often arises from hormones found in cow’s milk.
Q: Do Fried Foods Cause Acne?
A: You might have heard that eating fatty and greasy foods can cause you to break out with acne. Although there are links between acne and diet, this relationship is not what most people think it is.
If you have pimples, your skin might be oily. Therefore, people used to think that greasy foods were to be avoided. Today, this has been confirmed to be true. Fat and greasy foods like cheeseburgers and French fries do have a direct impact on the health of your skin.
Additionally, getting the grease on the surface of your skin may worsen your oily complexion, clog your pores, and lead to a breakout of pimples.
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Why Do People Get Acne?
Q: Is It Bad to Cover Acne with Makeup?
A: Makeup is among the best tools you can use to hide your acne. However, you need to get the right type of makeup. As far as possible, only use non-comedogenic and oil-free formulas that will not clog your skin pores.
Luckily, most of the makeup formulas you will come across have acne-fighting ingredients that may help to clear your skin of the bothersome blemishes even as you hide them from plain view.
You might also want to get color correcting concealers – particularly in green tones – if your pimples are red and a bit hard to hide. These types of corrects will neutralize the red appearance and create the illusion that your skin is clear, especially when you wear it under foundations and concealers.
However, you should ensure that you remove the makeup right before you get into bed at night. This is because even the best type of acne makeup may clog your pores and make your breakouts worse if you leave it on your face overnight.
Q: Is the Sun Good or Bad for Acne?
A: At present, there isn’t evidence that your acne will improve after exposure to the sun.
Q: Is It Good to Sweat When You Have Acne?
A: Both sweating and humidity can make your already bad acne condition worse. They cause the swelling of ductal blockages and hydration, which may precipitate acne’s inflammatory phase. However, it is not the act of sweating that is the trouble but rather how you treat yourself after experiencing such circumstances.
Q: What Is the Best Way to Wash Your Face If You Have Acne?
A: Yes, most of the acne treatments you buy over the counter (OTC) are good. This is with respect to those that contain alpha hydroxyl acids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. They are especially effective at controlling mild cases of acne. However, you should ensure that you still treat your skin gently. Excessive scrubbing will only inflame and irritate your skin further.
Q: Can Toothpaste Get Rid of a Pimple?
A: If you use toothpaste to try and clear your acne, it will only dry and irritate your skin. You would be better off looking for more effective products to fight your pimples. Get a gentle cleanser that is pH balanced and soap free and stay away from products with significant moisturizing or emollient properties (particularly if your skin is oily).
Q: Do Birth Control Pills Help Control Acne?
A: Specific hormone combinations found in oral contraceptives help some women deal with acne. However, other hormonal contraceptives (such as progesterone only pills and depot injections) can make your pimples worse.
Low dose pills, on the other hand, may improve your acne condition and tend to come with lower rates of adverse effects as compared to the older pills that were used against acne some years back.
Q: Can Teenage Acne Lead to Depression?
A: Studies show that acne may cause depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, and poor self-image. In fact, the worse the case of acne, the worse the resulting consequences.
The best way to deal with these consequences is to invest in effective acne treatments. They will reduce the psychological and emotional consequences commonly associated with acne.
Even mild pimples may significantly leave a psychological impact. Therefore, if your acne has been affecting your day to day life, you should try to get treatment as soon as possible.
What Is the Best Treatment for Acne?
Q: Is There A Cure for Acne?
A: Irrespective of the type of pimples you get, the goal is to treat them. However, getting rid of these blemishes will not happen overnight. You first need to reduce their appearance by following a dependable skincare routine.
Start by ensuring that your skin is always clean. Wash every morning and night to remove all impurities from the surface of your skin – including makeup residue, the buildup of dead skin cells, and excess oil.
Cleaning your skin daily will ensure that your pores do not become clogged.
You should also use spot treatments that contain acne fighting ingredients. This will fight any flare-ups. However, ensure you never pick your skin or pop your pimples since this may push the bacteria further into your skin and worsen the acne (or cause long-lasting scarring).
After you cleanse your skin and use a spot treatment, ensure that you moisturize your skin. Although it seems counter-intuitive to add extra hydration to your skin, skipping this step may dehydrate your skin and cause your sebaceous glands to start producing excess oil.
As far as possible, get lightweight oil-free moisturizers.
Q: What Is the Best Ingredient for Acne?
A: While shopping for products to deal with acne and reduce the number of breakouts, you should look for the following gold standard and FDA approved ingredients in the treatment’s formula:
Otherwise referred to as AHAs, alpha-hydroxy acids include lactic and glycolic acids. They will chemically exfoliate your skin’s surface, unclog your pores, and remove the buildup that may clog your pores in the future.
Benzoyl Peroxide is available in different product formulas – including but not limited to spot treatments and skin cleansers. It will kill the bacteria that is responsible for your acne flare-up and remove the buildup of dead skin cells and excess oil that often clogs your pores and results in pimples.
This beta-hydroxy acid is commonly added to spot treatments, scrubs, and other acne care products. It chemically exfoliates the surface of your skin and unclogs pores. Acne products that are formulated with this acid will reduce the redness and size of acne blemishes.
Sulfur is used in face masks and spot treatments. It reduces excess oil, clogged pores, and acne-causing bacteria.
Q: What Is A Good Skin Care Routine?
A: Of every non-negotiable with skincare, cleansing is at the very top. This is especially so if you get acne. However, if your skin is oily and prone to acne, you may feel that you should cleanse it more often than the recommended number (twice a day).
However, before you start going crazy with acne cleansers, remember that over cleaning your skin may strip away all-natural oils that give you a hydrated complexion. Once your skin has been dehydrated, the oil-producing glands will create even more sebum to overcompensate for the perceived loss of moisture. Therefore, washing your face to remove the excess oil may cause you to get even oilier skin over the long term.
Q: How Can I Stop Getting Pimples on My Face?
A: Some things may aggravate your already bad acne condition. They include, but are not limited to:
- Antiseptic scrubs
- Antiseptic soaps
- Exfoliating implements
- Granular scrubs
- Oily cosmetics, including preparations that make your face and skin look shiny when you apply them
- Picking, scratching or squeezing skin lesions
- Topical cortisone that contains urea or salicylic acid preparations
Q: What Is the Best Acne Treatment for Sensitive Skin?
A: Depending on what treatments you use, you might experience some minor dryness or irritation. In many cases, this dryness/irritation should go away once your skin gets used to the new acne treatment.
Q: What Is the Best Medication for Acne?
A: Like with anything else, expensive does not always mean effective. In fact, as you shop for acne products, you should look for something with salicylic acid in the face wash. Cleansers with light moisturizing action are also effective while silicone is a good ingredient if you are buying a light moisturizing lotion or gel.
Q: What Is the Best Thing to Use to Clear Up Acne?
A: Vitamin A, tea tree oil, and zinc are all beneficial against acne. However, you should be careful with natural products. This is because there is a large variety of products out there that claim to have natural ingredients.
In fact, if you use a poorly made natural therapy, it may cause irritation and/or allergies. You should also avoid high doses of vitamin A if you plan to become pregnant in the next few months.
Q: How Can I Get Rid of a Pimple In 5 Minutes?
A: Unfortunately, you cannot. The process of treating pimples tends to take time – even in cases of mild acne.