Acne is caused by a change in hormones that cause oil glands to produce an excessive amount of oil or sebum causing hair follicles to become blocked with skin cells and then a bacteria grows. When blocked pores become infected they become inflamed which is when a pimple is formed. Something to note is that it has nothing to do with being dirty and is often hereditary. Acne is very common in teens so just know you are not alone!
Both blackheads and whiteheads are clogged pores that contain dead skin cells as well as the skin's natural oils known as sebum. The difference between the two is that a blackhead is an open pore while a whitehead is a closed pore. Therefore, blackheads are exposed to the air causing the melanin to turn a dark color although it essentially still contains the same dead skin cells that a whitehead has.
Both Papules and Pustules are inflamed red bumps that have distinct borders. Papules usually cluster together almost like a rash and pustules are usually larger, more painful bumps. Pustules also usually contain pus while papules do not.
Cysts and Nodules are deep and large painful bumps that are filled with blood/pus. A nodule is the large bump over the skin and a cyst is the bump under the skin that has a hair follicle over it. They can occur together or alone and must not be popped under any circumstances or a deep scar can result.
As a teen stress is very common and it causes oil glands to produces more oil which causes acne to flare up. Stress acne normally appears in the T-zone which is the oiliest area of the face and is accompanied by blackheads/whiteheads which makes it stand out from regular acne. Hormonal acne happens during puberty or during menstruation. During puberty it can appear in the T-zone but during menstruation it is common at the bottom of the cheeks and around the jaw.
Fungal acne is an infection in the hair follicles of your skin. It appears on the surface of the skin as tiny pimples that are often not too visible but lifted to the touch. Most of the time it is found on the forehead and it is caused by an overgrowth of yeast which is a type of fungus.
Causes: Due to an increase in hormones known as androgens the oil glands produce an excessive amount of oil and are enlarged. Since there is an increase in sebum production the hair follicles get clogged with skin cells and bacteria begins to form. Once the pores are blocked pimples start to form due to infection.
Tips: Clothing can worsen acne especially if it is on the back or chest area so try and wear lighter clothes. When heavy sweating occurs during exercise and warm climates make sure to always shower and change sweaty clothing to not cause bacteria to buildup in that area. Wash face with mild soaps twice daily but never scrub your face since it can cause irritation. Make sure to avoid touching face or popping pimples since this could lead to permanent scarring.
Treatment: Azelaic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, Retinoids, and Salicylic acid are all helpful in treating the occasional pimples that appear on the skin. If acne persists then antibiotics can be prescribed by a doctor but it is recommended to try and cure the acne with specified products rather than taking the medication.
Products: Visit the products page for recommendations on clean products for common acne!
Causes: Hormones cause skin to produce an excess of oil as well as dead skin which causes pores to become clogged therefore creating blackheads and whiteheads. They are known as "non-inflammatory" acne and both are caused from dead skin cell and sebum build up in pores. The only difference between the two is that whiteheads are closed pores and blackheads are open pores. Since blackheads are exposed to the air the chemicals are oxidized causing the dead skin and oil to be a black color. Therefore, whiteheads soon turn into blackheads when left alone since they all become exposed to the air at some point once the pore is over clogged.
Tips: Try to avoid pore strips since they tend to rip off skin cells without actually taking out any blackheads at all. Make sure to wash with warm water morning and night and exfoliate more often. Never pop or attempt to extract blackheads and whiteheads since they will fill with more bacteria and swell which will make it much worse. Try to avoid greasy and sugary foods and do not overdo the washing since your skin will produce more oil.
Treatment: Salicylic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, exfoliants, or low percent retinols can sometimes clear pores but make sure not to scrub too much or else it will lead to further irritation. Using black charcoal washes or soap help remove any blackheads or heating masks. Another way to extract blackheads is to apply steam to the face until the pores are open and then lightly scrub face to attempt to remove any blackheads. A prescribed retinol can also help with stubborn blackheads or getting facials to have a professional perform extractions.
Products: Visit the products page for recommendations on clean products for blackheads/whiteheads!
Causes: The main cause is clogged pores which leads to an increase in trapped bacteria in the skin leading to infection. Pustules appear on the skin when clogged pores are broken down and spill out into surrounding tissue which causes it to look like a larger pimple. Rather than papules, pustules are more painful and are larger since they ate filled with pus. Papules do not contain pus and they form together to look almost like a rash.
Tips: Make sure to wash with cool water and soap twice a day. Apply a warm compress to the affected area for around 10-20 minutes which will allow any trapped bacteria to rise to the surface. Use spot treatments that contain acids helpful in drying out the affected area.
Treatment: Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids found in any creams, cleansers, or spot treatments typically clear most outbreaks but results vary based on skin type. Antibiotics can be prescribed by a doctor but only as a last resort.
Products: Visit the products page for recommendations on clean products for Papules/Pustules!
Causes: Cystic/Nodular acne begins like a normal pimple but occurs when the infection goes deep into the skin and a large bump is formed that hurts or itches. It often appears on the bottom half of the face and is more likely to occur if one or both parents had cystic acne as a child since it can be passed genetically. The major difference is that cysts are filled with pus.
Tips: Since these pimples can be painful and leave significant scarring do not pop these pimples no matter what and avoid touching face with dirty hands. Cysts/Nodules are both so deep within the skin that often regular acne treatments are not effective and a doctor should be contacted before acne becomes more severe.
Treatment: Most of the time a dermatologist should be contacted to treat this type of acne but over the counter topical medicines work on less severe cases of cystic/nodular acne. Chemical peels are often very helpful to remove scarring and dark spots that are deep within the skin when a facial is done by a professional.
Products: Visit the products page for recommendations on clean products for Cysts/Nodules!
Causes: When stress hormones are increased it causes more oil to produce which leads to acne flareups. Hormonal acne is when the androgen levels are increased causing more oil production. The main difference between the two is timing as hormonal acne occurs during menstruation and stress acne is caused after a high period of stress. Stress Acne usually appears in the oiliest area of the skin that being the T-zone but Hormonal acne occurs in the same place every month and usually is located at the jawline or chin.
Tips: If stress acne is consistently occurring try switching up skincare routine as the products could be the cause of the breakouts as well. Always stay hydrated and ensure that you are doing your best to manage your stress and take time out of the day to breathe or get more sleep. Limit the amount of sugar, dairy products, carbs, and red meats consumed. Also wear sunscreen everyday and only use noncomedogenic products to reduce clogged pores.
Treatment: Topical spot treatments such as salicylic acid can reduce the blemish in a short period of time. A warm or cold compress also helps to decrease redness or pain. For stress acne make sure that you are taking time to relax and breathe and reduce the amount of time spent on the phone or computer. For hormonal acne Tea Tree oil helps to reduce inflammation as well as Alpha Hydroxy acid and green tea.
Products: Visit the products page for recommendations on clean products for stress/hormonal acne!
Causes: Fungal acne is caused by an overgrowth of yeast which is a type of fungus that causes pimple-like bumps on the surface of the skin. This yeast is always on your skin but sometimes the balance is thrown off then an overgrowth causes infection of hair follicles that appear like acne. Staying in sweaty clothes, wearing tight clothes, and warm environments can increase yeast growth as well as medication, suppressed immune system, and diet changes.
Tips: Use dandruff shampoo regularly and eat a balanced diet since fungi thrive on sugar and carbohydrates. Try implementing many vegetables, fruits, and proteins to help restore the balance. Do not use acne treatments on fungal acne since it will not help the bumps go away but in turn it will dry the skin out.
Treatment: Shower more regularly and wash after the gym or sweating. Wear looser clothing and try to utilize dandruff shampoos made with zinc which are labeled as body washes but can be used on the face and be very effective depending on skin type. Antifungal treatments are also available over the counter or can be prescribed by a doctor if need be.
Products: Visit the products page for recommendations on clean products for fungal acne!