Acne : Causes, Pictures, Symptoms and Treatment

Are you following the new Instagram acne trend? It promotes the self-love to help with body positivity. Along with acne marks, it also makes people love their imperfections like stretch marks, jiggly thighs, no thigh gap, different body shapes, etc. So, it urges acceptance in people to celebrate the body. But, irrespective of the body positivity, acne causes insecurity. It is a massive imperfection that mars the beauty of your face. Do you want to know more about acne that affects the majority of people all over the world? Then, read ahead!

What Is Acne?

Acne means distress, isn’t it? It is the skin inflammation, which is chronic. So, it can lead to getting pimples and spots on your face, neck, back, shoulders, upper arms, and chest. Most people around the world get affected by the skin condition. Therefore, it is quite common among people between the ages of twelve and twenty-four years.

Acne is a common condition that affects three in four people during puberty. Surprising? It is so common, so you need not get anxious. But, acne can result in severe scars reducing your self-confidence. Therefore, you need to take necessary action to avoid long-lasting ill-effects on your skin.

What Causes Acne?

Puberty is the time for changes. You can see changes in your physical appearance and the change in the way you think. It is also the time that causes hormone fluctuations. So, acne is a skin disease caused by the oil glands triggered by the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. It is present in both male and female. Hence, men and women are prone to acne. It is not dangerous but can mar the physical appearance. Severe acne can leave scars, which can affect the self-confidence of men and women alike. The main causes of acne are:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Oil-based makeups
  • Hot/Humid Climate
  • Squeezing the pimples
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Bacteria
  • Dead skin cells
  • Ingrown hair

It is caused due to hormone fluctuations. So, it is termed as a breakout. But, every form of acne does not spread across the skin. It is the most common skin condition that affects people of all ages. So, from kids to adults can get affected by the disease. With the different types of acne, you need to find the right type. It will ensure successful treatment.

Types Of Acne

It is important to identify the type to get good treatment to eliminate the distress caused by the skin problem. You can also get different types of acne the same. So, in such cases, it is significant to get necessary medical assistance. The different types are:

Non-inflammatory Acne

As the name implies, it has no inflammation. So, it has no swelling. It is the mildest form of acne. Therefore, it gets cured with over-the-counter treatments. Salicylic acid is the best treatment option to remove the non-inflammatory acne. It is divided into two subtypes.



Also known as open comedones, it has a black surface. It occurs due to the clogging of pores by dead skin cells and sebum. So, its top portions stay open while the rest is clogged.

Whiteheads (closed comedones)


It is formed by the clogging of pores of sebum and dead skin cells. It has its top part closed off (closed comedones). So, it has an appearance of a small bump.

Inflammatory acne

It is the type of acne that causes swelling. Your body’s immune system responds to the threat from acne bacteria. So, the pores get inflamed and have a reddish appearance. If you have read and swollen pimples then it means you have inflammatory acne

Causes Of Inflammatory Acne

The bacteria is the main culprit behind the inflammatory acne. But, the dead skin cells and sebum also contribute to the skin disease. It results in painful spots on your skin. Without proper treatment, you may find it difficult to clear the issue.

Types Of Inflammatory Acne

When you suffer from acne, you need to determine the exact type. It will make it easier to find the right treatment. Therefore, you can clear the issue with promptness.



If the skin around the pores is pink, then it is papules. It is caused due to the breaking down of the walls surrounding the pores. Severe inflammation is the main reason for getting papules. So, the pored get clogged and becomes hard. You may feel the pores tender to touch.



A pustule as the name suggests is filled with pus. It is formed as the walls around the pores breaks down. So, it looks like a bump coming out from the skin. It has white/yellow heads on top surrounded by red color.


Clogged pores can grow larger. So, it results in nodules resulting in irritation. It goes deeper underneath your skin. Therefore, you need to seek the help of a doctor to clear it. The doctor mostly prescribes Isotretinoin to prevent the nodules. The medication made from Vitamin A can decrease the oil gland size. So, taking the medication for 4-6 months can clear the issue.




It is the most severe form of the skin issue that occurs deep within the skin. It causes the clogs to appear below the surface. The clogging contains sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Hence, it is painful to touch. It has a red/white appearance. It can cause severe infection that can leave scars.

General Treatment For Inflammatory Acne

The society gives importance to looks. So, most time you can feel pressurized by the standards set by the society. Acne causes severe mental issues as it decreases your confidence. Therefore, you need good treatment to overcome the skin problems. The following treatment plan is opted for overcoming the issue:

  • Oral or Topical Antibiotic
  • Products with Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Topical Retinoids
  • Isotretinoin
  • Surgery (to remove the cyst)

Severity Of The Acne Types

The severity of acne differs with type. So, the treatment plan and duration varies with the type.

Mildest Form

The whiteheads and blackheads come under the mild category. It is easy to clear it with the over-the-counter medications. So, salicylic acid-based creams/gels, topical medications, or benzoyl peroxide treatments.

Moderate Form

Papules and pustules are the moderate acne forms. You need to seek help from a dermatologist to clear the issue. So, topical or oral prescriptions can clear the acne.

Severe Acne Form

Your dermatologist may suggest an ideal treatment plan for the nodules and cysts. You should never pick or pop the severe acne forms. It can scar the skin and cause permanent damage.

What Is The Next Step?

Once you have detected the skin disorder, you may feel confused. Your mind may have conflicting ideas about the next step you need to take. The ideal solution is to get the suggestion from a specialist doctor to identify the right treatment. It will also give you a clear picture of the swelling and bumps caused as a result of acne. So, you can get the accurate diagnosis and treatment plan from your dermatologist.

The treatments can have different effects on different people. Therefore, some may see results in a short time while some take longer duration. But, do not use several products. It results in dry skin or causes more acne issues. The right treatment can give you a clear and healthy skin.

Acne Treatments

The different types of treatments depends on the persistent nature and severity of the condition. So, the treatment varies accordingly. The diverse options available to you to overcome the skin condition are:

Mild acne

Mild acne is easy to treat using creams and gels. It is available in two different types that can effectively treat the skin condition:

  • Steroidal
  • Non-steroidal

The main advantage is you can buy it over-the-counter (OTC) without any prescription. It is available in the form of soaps, gels, lotions, pads, etc. So, you need to apply it directly on the skin to get rid of the embarrassing condition. You need to choose the ideal one that suits your skin type.

  • Sensitive Skin: Creams and lotions
  • Oily Skin: Alcohol-based gel

When you choose a product, it contains man ingredients that can confuse you. Hence, you may wonder about its effects on the skin. So, here is the detailed description of the ingredients and its effects. The over-the-counter acne remedies may contain the ingredients like:

Benzoyl Peroxide

It is effective in killing the bacteria. It also slows the sebum production and accelerates the replacement of old skin cells.


The ingredient is effective in breaking down the whiteheads and blackheads in your skin.

Salicylic acid

It is the popular ingredient that is present in many skin creams and gels. Therefore, it is helpful in reducing the swelling and inflammation. It also assists in the breakdown of blackheads and whiteheads. So, it is good for achieving a smooth skin.


Also known as tretinoin, it can unblock the pores. Therefore, it reduces the number and severity of the skin problem. It influences the skin cells growth. So, it prompts eradicates the pimples and heals the skin.

Azelaic acid

The ingredient is helpful in strengthening the skin cells that line the follicles. It reduces the bacterial growth. It also avoids sebum eruptions. So, it is highly effective in healing acne.

You need to start the remedies at low doses. So, it will not cause any skin irritation, burning, or redness while using it for the first time. But, you can experience some side effects that will subside after continuous use. If you see the side effects for a long time, then discontinue is use and see a doctor.

Moderate To Severe Acne Treatment

You need to consult a dermatologist or a skin specialist to overcome severe cases of acne. The specialist can recommend stronger over-the-counter medications in different forms like:

  • Gel or Cream
  • Oral/Tropical Antibiotic
  • Injections

Your doctor may check the symptoms and decide an ideal treatment. Therefore, your dermatologist may suggest the best treatment plan for the skin disorder.

Corticosteroid injection

Severe acne is a cause for concern. The cyst can become inflamed leading to its rupturing. Therefore, it will leave scars on your skin. The specialist doctor can treat such conditions by injecting diluted corticosteroid. The treatment is ideal for reducing the inflammation, prevent scarring, and speed up the healing process. So, using the injection can break down the cyst.

Oral antibiotics

Your doctor can prescribe oral antibiotics for a period of up to six months. So, it will help you lower the moderate to severe acne. The initial dosage is high to control the problem. Hen, your doctor may slowly reduce the dose as the problem starts to fade away.

You need to understand that the acne can become resistant to antibiotic with continuous use. So, you need to opt for another antibiotic to show effects. In most cases, the skin disorder is more resistant to topical compared to the oral antibiotics. Therefore, the most common antibiotics to cure the issue are erythromycin and tetracycline. It can fight the bacterial growth. Therefore, it reduces inflammation effectively.

Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives can help control the skin problem in women by suppressing the overactive gland. They are commonly used as long-term treatments. But, the doctor may not prescribe the medication for women with the following issues:

  • Suffer from blood clotting disorder
  • Have a smoking habit
  • Are aged above 35 years
  • Have a history of migraines

So, women need to talk to their gynecologist before using the pills.

Topical antimicrobials

The topical antimicrobials can also treat the skin problems. The common antimicrobials used for the treatment are:

  • Sodium Sulfacetamide
  • Clindamycin
  • Topical retinoids can also unclog the pores. So, it will prevent the whiteheads or blackheads on your skin. The Vitamin A derivative is available in different names like:
  • Adapalene
  • Tretinoin
  • Tazarotene


Severe acne is treated with the strongest dose of oral retinoid called isotretinoin. It can treat issues that does not respond to other treatments or medications. It is a good treatment option for cystic version of the skin problem. But, before using it, you need to know the side effects. It is a strictly controlled medication. So, your doctor will prescribe it after signing a consent form. The common side effects associated with the medication are:

  • Dry skin
  • Parched lips
  • Nosebleeds
  • Mood Swings
  • Fetal Abnormalities

If you take isotretinoin, then avoid Vitamin A supplements. It can cause toxicity leading to fatal effects. So, maintain caution while using the medication.


Fight the most common skin problem with determination. Never allow it to get the better of you. So, provide the adequate attention that your skin requires. It will help you achieve an problem-free skin, which will enhance your self-confidence. Win the fight against acne by gaining good knowledge and taking the required steps.

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