Acne can affect more than just your skin— even mild breakouts can make you feel less confident, uncomfortable and embarrassed about your skin.
We know the feeling.
Everyone including friends, family, neighbors and strangers always want to start conversations with – Use this cream or that.
But little do they know that their pity, mocking jokes and unsolicited acne remedy advice gives you more self esteem issues. It could feel so bad that you hardly upload any bare faced pictures on Whatsapp or Instagram or even want to leave the house unnecessarily or even when you decide to go out putting on heavy makeup is a must.
We know you’re tired of hiding behind make-ups every single day for months and have tried everything from expensive tablets, organic creams, facials but nothing seems to work for your acne or sometimes it could feel like it’s working and after a week or two it’s back.
Don’t lose hope. This guide will help breakdown in details step by step what causes breakouts in the first place, how to know the type of acne you’re battling (because each type requires different treatments) and exactly what to do to finally get long lasting results with your acne issues.
The main thing that causes acne build up is a clogged pore.
To get rid of acne, you need to keep the pores clear, balance oil, and accelerate the shedding of dead skin cell.
So just how do we go about doing all of those things? Keep scrolling, This might be the most revealing post you’ll find on the internet today on how to get rid of acne breakouts and maintain a clear healthy skin.
But First, What Are Pores?
To defeat acne, you need to first understand what causes it and how skin pores and hair follicles contributes to acne build up.
Pores are tiny openings on the skin whereas hair follicles are like pathways through which oil passes from the glands where they are produced and comes out to the skin surface via the pore openings to lubricate skin.
How Healthy Pores Work
We’d use a simple analogy to explain better how pores work:
You’re familiar with gutters right? Most major roads around have them. The job of the gutter is to provide efficient passage of water into a canal or larger water body so stagnant water don’t spoil the road infrastructures.
When you pour more dirty water on the gutter and there is no way for it to move it fills up faster, stays stagnant and gets clogged up together with debris like sachet water, empty cans etc.
After awhile bacteria starts to flourish on the clogged stagnant gutter causing serious pollution and health risk.
Your pores have a very important job just like the street gutters. The skin’s natural oil, called sebum travels up the follicle carrying dead skin cells with it and (in a perfect world) comes out through the pores to help keep the skin supple, moisturized, and healthy.
You don't want to stop production of sebum or shrink away pores, but rather to keep them functioning normally to have healthy skin.
Blocked Pores and How Acne Forms
Acne is a disorder of the pores. All acne blemishes begin as a pore blockage.
Usually, your pores do a great job of sweeping out oil, dead skin cells, and other debris that may end up there. But sometimes things could go wrong. Instead of being cleared up and out of the pore, oil and dead cells become trapped in the hair follicle and clogs the pore.
As more oil gets produced, it remains trapped. The trapped oil mixes with dead skin cells and other debris creating a breeding and feeding ground for bacteria. The growing bacteria irritate the follicle and oil gland which triggers redness and swelling causing acne.
As you can see, acne doesn’t happen overnight. It has a lifecycle.
It actually takes about 30 days for a pimple to form. You read that right, 30 days for that pimple to brew underneath your skin without your notice so when you change something in your routine and then experience a breakout a few days later, it’s not the change that brought it on. That breakout has been brewing for weeks.
So it makes more sense now why Acne comes from the greek word meaning “facial eruption”
And the acne you can see is the top of the volcano. The real problem is happening below the surface.
10 Surprising Causes of Acne
There are triggers that makes it easier for pores to get clogged and cause acne. You want to pay extra attention to these 10 surprising triggers that could be some of the reasons why after treating acne it comes back.
- Hormones can cause the sebaceous glands go into overdrive, and the excess oil they produce can get blocked by dead skin cells, clogging up the pores and causing acne.
- In teenagers, the onset of puberty usually kickstarts the hormone rush that causes acne.
- Pregnancy, your menstrual cycle and starting or changing birth control pills can speed up oil production, causing pimples to form.
- Also, when you’re stressed (and who hasn’t been recently?), your body produces cortisol, which can stimulate the oil glands, leading to an outbreak.
- Your pores can also get clogged due to irritation or a reaction to a product or fabric (such as a hat or yes, a face mask)
- Cell Phones Can Transfer Acne-Causing Bacteria to Your Face
- A Diet High in Processed Food, diary products and Refined Carbs can cause overgrowth of yeast in the hair follicles which May Lead to Acne
- Heavier Sunscreens May Promote Acne Breakouts
- Hairstyling Products That Touch Your Skin Can Contribute to Acne
- Your makeup remover or not removing makeup and washing face properly
Thankfully, it's not hard to stop acne breakouts once you understand how it forms, works and it’s stages.
It is important to understand that not every acne has the same life span. Knowing which type of acne you’re suffering from will help determine the most appropriate treatments to get rid of it fast.
Regardless of what kind of blemishes you’re experiencing, our Salicylic Acid Range consists of targeted skincare solutions beneficial for people with oily acne-prone skin
Because there are so many types of acne and several treatment options, knowing the differences can be tough.
Categories & Different Types Of Acne
There are two main categories of acne – Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory. Together, both categories are made up of 6 different types of acne. We’ll discuss the 6 different types of acne, how they form, what they look like and exactly what you can do to get rid of them.
Non Inflamed Acne
Non-inflammatory acne occurs when pores become clogged or closed, which leads to two types of acne blemishes: blackheads and whiteheads.
This type of acne is usually easier to treat, so over-the-counter (OTC) treatments may work.
Types Of Non Inflamed Acne
This type of acne develops underneath the skin and appears when excess oil and dead skin cells clog the opening of the pore. If the pore closes up, you’ll notice a small flesh-colored or white-colored bumps. These are whiteheads.
It’s important to note that whiteheads can’t be removed or fixed by squeezing them, so don’t try to pop them on your own. Otherwise you may end up with scars.
These are similar to whiteheads, but when the debris clogging the pore pushes through and becomes exposed to the air, it reacts with oxygen and turns black.
The black dots aren’t dirt, so resist scrubbing. It will only worsen your acne.
Blackheads aren’t covered by skin like a whitehead. Instead, they rise to the skin’s surface.
How To Treat whiteheads and blackheads
Treatment options for blackheads are the same as treatments for whiteheads.
Just like keeping gutters clean and functioning requires proper timely sanitation.
To get whiteheads and blackheads under control, a treatment that keeps pores clear on a consistent basis is a must.
Dermatologists recommend using a retinol. You can Get a proven and tested Retinol cream and Retinol serum here. You’ll also want to use a Salicylic Acid Face cleanser. It can help get rid of excess bacteria on skin, control excess oil and unclog pores.
Other powerful treatments like Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Serum and Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Clay Mask can be applied to the whitehead or blackheads directly or as an entire facial treatment. They help remove dead skin cells and excess oil, with Salicylic acid being one of the most effective and recognized treatment options that works. Salicylic acid also helps prevent non-inflammatory acne from returning in the future. Check out this article to learn how salicylic acid can be useful to oily acne prone skin.
This is a more severe type of acne.
While non-inflamed acne is caused by two factors - sebum and dead skin cells which clogs pores, Acne becomes inflamed when a third factor, Bacteria joins the party.
When usually harmless bacteria becomes trapped inside airless clogged pores, Inflamed acne develops. As the bacteria multiplies, your skin may become red, tender, swollen and uncomfortable. Sometimes, you may notice several large inflamed acne lesions develop close to each other.
Because it’s so visible, inflamed acne can have a serious effect on both your appearance and your self-confidence.
It can vary in severity from small papules and pustules to severe cystic or nodular acne which all could cause scarring and dark spots that may affect your skin’s appearance after your acne breakouts clear.
Luckily, inflamed acne can almost always be treated. In fact, with the right combination of acne medication, self-care and good habits, it’s possible to treat even the most severe inflamed acne breakouts and enjoy clear, blemish-free skin.
Below, we’ve discussed 4 types of inflamed acne, as well as the symptoms you may notice if you’re prone to inflamed acne breakouts.
We’ve also shared science-based, proven treatment options that you can use to get rid of severe acne and prevent it from coming back.
Types Of Inflamed Acne
When excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells mix together, they cause inflammation (redness and swelling), which forms small, red bumps. The medical word for this type of acne blemish is a papule. They feel hard but do not contain pus. If you have a lot of papules, the area may feel like sandpaper.
Papules is more like the early stages of inflammation
How To Treat Papules
To clear this type of acne blemish, try washing your face twice daily with an acne face wash that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If you have a lot of papules, it can be helpful to see a dermatologist.
Additionally, you may want to combine a topical retinol cream, antibiotics, or birth control pills (for women whose acne aligns with their menstrual cycle) to help combat inflammatory acne. Antibiotics may help get rid of C. acnes bacteria, and birth control pills can help reduce oil production by decreasing androgen levels. Androgens are male sex hormones, but they are found in both men and women. They can increase the production of oil on your skin.
The medical term for this type of acne blemish as shown in image above is pustule (Pus-filled pimples). These blemishes are a lot like papules, except that pustules contain a yellowish fluid. You’ll often see a yellow- or white-colored center.
Pustules form when a blocked pore gets infected, but they can also be caused by hormonal changes in the body.
How To Treat Pustules
To treat, wash your face with an acne product that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Resist the temptation to pop these. It can worsen acne. If you don’t see results from treatment in six to eight weeks, see a dermatologist.
Popping pustules may cause the bacteria to spread, so don’t try to pop or squeeze or burst them. Only qualified doctor can safely drain pustules.
The same OTC and prescription treatment options used for papules apply to pustules. Antibiotics are almost always recommended in order to get rid of the bacteria-filled pus.
Nodular acne consists of flesh-colored or red bumps that are deep under the skin’s surface. Nodular acne is usually a result of the C. acnes bacteria causing a painful infection deep within the pore.
Since OTC (over the counter) treatments work on the surface level of your skin, they aren’t as effective for nodular acne. A dermatologist can help you get rid of acne nodules with prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, antibiotics, Retinoids, or birth control pills (for women).
If medications don’t work, your doctor may drain the nodules by hand or use a laser or chemical peel, a process that removes the outer layer of skin.
This is the final phase of acne where bacterial infection keeps multiplying which causes inflammation into deeper layers of your skin and forms hard bumps without pus and are considered one of the most severe forms of acne.
Cystic acne is the worst and most severe form of acne and is also the result of an infection very deep within the skin. Acne cysts are large, red, inflamed, painful, boil-like and pus-filled bumps. Cysts are softer than nodules because they are pus-filled and often burst, infecting the surrounding skin.
Cystic acne is the most difficult acne to treat. Your dermatologist can help you fight cysts with medications like isotretinoin (an oral retinoid also sold under the brands Claravis, Myorisan, Zenatane, and others), antibiotics, topical retinol cream for acne, birth control pills (for women), or spironolactone (Aldactone). Spironolactone, like birth control, can help reduce androgen levels. However, it is only used to treat acne in women because it can cause unwanted side effects in men.
You may require multiple medications in order to get rid of cystic acne. Your provider may recommend injecting stubborn cysts with steroids in order to treat them directly and get rid of the inflammation.
When cystic acne occurs with nodular acne, it’s referred to as nodulocystic acne. Both of these forms of severe acne can potentially damage your skin and leave behind permanent acne scarring.
The Best Skincare Routine to Prevent Acne Build Up
The first thing you should do is take a good look at all the products you use on your skin (including makeup) and hair styling.
Don’t make same mistakes most people make in their acne routine by using too many products without checking the labels for ingredients.
Look for the words like non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic or oil-free or non-greasy on the products you use, which indicate that there are no oily, pimple-causing ingredients.
Or better still look for ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinol, Niacinamide, Alpha hydroxyl acids in your skincare products.
One more important secret for maintaining clear skin especially if you have oily acne prone skin is be consistent with an acne prevention routine.
You should not wait until you sight a pimple before get into panic mood. Get a good acne cleanser at least and a salicylic acid exfoliating serum that would be used on an ongoing basis to Guarantee clear pores and if you can also use a detoxifying clay mask made with salicylic acid weekly. This combination won’t disappoint you. You can Get the Salicylic acid Kit For Clear skin containing salicylic acid cleanser, serum and clay mask here at 5% OFF right now.
In any case, Here are seven dermatologist-recommended skincare product recommendations to prevent future breakouts and maintain clear skin:
Step 1: Wash your face — gently!
Though you may be tempted to scrub away at your face like you're trying to scrape mud off your favorite pair of shoes, that can actually make things worse. Don’t do that. Acne is not necessarily as a result of excess dirt or oil on the skin so over-cleansing and over-exfoliating is not the answer.
Although routine cleansing is important, acne is an inflammatory condition, which means over-cleansing could actually irritate the skin and further worsen the whole thing.
It’s important to not over strip the skin, as this compromises the skin’s protective barrier, which can lead to further breakouts, irritation, redness and uneven skin texture and tone."
Go for a Purifying Gel cleanser that contains an acne-fighting ingredient. If you have whiteheads or blackheads, look for a cleanser with salicylic acid to slough off the damaged top layer of skin, clearing away dead skin cells before they can get lodged in your pores (try Neutriherbs Salicylic Acid Purifying Gel Cleanser, which also includes antibacterial and anti-inflammatory tea tree oil).
If you have oily skin and you're looking for a budget-friendly option, you will love love and love this purifying cleanser, which uses 2 percent salicylic acid to wash away dead skin cells. Dealing with back acne? You can also use this face wash as a cleanser for pesky body breakouts.
You can even just use your hands, splashing on enough water to rinse the cleanser off. But it has to be lukewarm water, as hot water can irritate the skin — though a splash of cool water afterward can balance the skin, tighten and refresh it.
Step 2: Apply an acne treatment medication
If you chose to use a simple cleanser in step 1, here's your chance to attack the acne directly with a more powerful stuff. After washing, let your skin dry — pat gently with a soft towel rather than rubbing — and then try an over-the-counter treatment, such as Salicylic Acid Serum.
This BHA exfoliating serum might look simple, but it's super effective. It relies on 2 percent salicylic acid combined with Glycolic acid, tea tree oil and soothing camellia japonica to treat a number of skin concerns, like irritation, dullness, wrinkles, and acne. Not only is it one of Neutriherb's Newly launched serums, it's also on it’s way to becoming a top-selling Customer’s favorite. Are you sold yet?
It can take an over-the-counter treatment at least six to eight weeks to work— at that point, if you're still not seeing any results, you should consult with a dermatologist, who can prescribe a stronger medication, such as Dapsone gel.
Step 3: Apply an oil-free moisturizer with acne fighting ingredients
When you're worried about oily skin and clogged pores, moisturizer may seem unnecessary, but the opposite is actually true: Moisturizers help keep the skin's oil production in balance. It also helps acne patients tolerate acne medications, which are often drying. The key is to stick to oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers.
Now, there are different types of acne prone skin. We have acne prone dry skin, acne prone sensitive skin, acne prone oily skin and so on.
Different acne prone skin types would require different types of moisturizers. This is key.
If you have acne prone dry or sensitive skin, one of our all time favorites is Neutriherbs Hemp seed Oil Rescue Cream.
This cream rejuvenate, soothes and nourishes dry, irritated, acne prone and sensitive skin all while visibly clearing acne and fighting signs of ageing! The formula contains allantoin for anti inflammatory benefits and retinoic acid for younger, smoother skin.
On the other hand, if you have an acne prone oily or combination or normal skin then Neutriherbs Pro Retinol cream is what you should use.
This Retinol cream helps accelerate cellular turnover for wrinkle free, acne free and younger smoother skin. Upon application, retinol cream binds to your DNA and immediately begins directing the skin’s proteins and enzymes to cast off dead cells from your skin’s surface.
Step 4: Don't forget sunscreen
Sunscreen is a crucial step to protect skin from UV damage, but when you have acne-prone skin, you should choose a sunscreen that won’t clog pores or make your breakouts worse. So Use Neutriherbs vitamin C Broad Spectrum spf 50 because it contains anti-inflammatory niacinamide, which reduces redness, it’s non-greasy and has a lightweight feel.
Step 5: Double Cleanse at night
When you cleanse at night, you'll want something that can gently remove the makeup, oil and debris your face has accumulated during the day like the mild foaming Neutriherbs Vitamin E Gentle Cleanser which contains salicylic acid and is a favorite of the Neutriherbs Team of editors.
Pro Tip: Use the salicylic acid cleanser first at night after which you wash face again with this Vitamin E Gentle cleanser.
Step 6: Apply a retinol product before bed
Before you go to bed, there's one last important step to achieving clear skin. smoothing on a retinol product. What is retinol? It's the over-the-counter version of the vitamin A derivative Retin-A, which reduces wrinkles and — key for acne control because it unclogs pores.
Retinol is a great multi-tasking acne treatment for adults. It helps speed up cell turnover and regeneration and exfoliates keratinocytes, the cells on the outermost layer of the skin. It also works to unclog pores and keep skin looking youthful while minimizing and preventing fine lines and wrinkles. " One to try?
Start off slowly with any retinol product. Try it one or two or at most three nights a week to build up a tolerance and avoid irritation. Gradually, move up to four times a week, and then daily if needed.
Step 7: Exfoliate regularly
The trick is to remove the layers of dead skin cells and dirt that are blocking your pores — and your skin's natural glow. Products with alpha-hydroxy and lactic acids exfoliate gently to make you look radiant.
Best Exfoliating Products To Have:
Try Neutriherbs Saliclylic acid exfoliating clay mask made with Niacinamide, allantoin and a combination of AHA and BHAs. It works to soothe and purify skin, remove excess oil, gently exfoliate pores and reduce acne blemishes.
This leave-on water soluble exfoliating serum dramatically improves signs of aging, refine rough bumpy texture, unclog congested pores and treat hyperpigmentation with a powerful multi-acid blend of Glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid and tartaric acid which deliver gentle, multi-level resurfacing to the skin.
The bottom line:
Be patient and consistent with your regimen and don’t give up. It takes time to clear and fade existing blemishes while preventing future breakouts. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. However even when the acne is under control you don't want to lose guard, keep up with acne preventive skincare to maintain clear skin.