Category: Acne

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How To Find Good Acne Specialist And Avoid Mistakes

girl in front of the mirror and has acne
It’s difficult to tell whether it’s time to see an acne specialist. Why bother if it’s only acne, you could think.

Acne can be challenging to treat, especially if you are the only one suffering. You’ve reached the right place if you are ready to make an appointment with a doctor.

This article will discuss the various professional services available to help you manage your acne.

Your healthcare provider might be one who has learned about treating acne as part of their medical training.

Here’s how I can help you determine if that’s the case, and I will show you how to locate a dermatologist specializing in all skin conditions.

You will also receive some tips on how to get the most out of your experience with experts in managing your skin.

In addition, you’ll learn how to handle the initial appointment, paperwork, insurance issues, and prescription refills.

I’ll also tell you what to expect during your treatment and how to build a strong working relationship with your doctor.

The Basic Goals of Treatment

You can visit your primary care provider or a acne specialist to treat your acne. The primary goals of treating your skin are the following:

  • To prevent scarring from occurring or remove scarring that may already have happened.
  • To reduce acne lesions, pain, and discomfort.
  • To make you look better.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your goals. Get an idea of what you can expect from your treatment, what it will cost, and what to do in the event it doesn’t go as planned.

Also, you can get a sense of the worst-case and best-case scenarios. This plan can include seeing a acne specialist or another skin-care proffesional.

Visit Your Primary Healthcare Provider

Your primary care provider (PCP) is the best place to start. because they are often able, if needed, to write prescriptions for medication. They also have more tools than you to help with your acne.

Even if they can’t help you manage your skin, most insurance policies require that your doctor refer you to specialists, such as dermatologists.

Your personal care provider (PCP) may be:

  • A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in children.
  • A family practitioner is a generalist who sees patients of all ages for routine medical issues.
  • An internist is a doctor who is trained to treat adult acne conditions.

A PCP could also be a healthcare specialist, but not a doctor.

  • A physician assistant (PA), also known as a physician assistant, is a medical assistant who works under the direction of a doctor. They are interdependent and understand that the physician can be consulted whenever necessary. In most states, PAs can prescribe medicine and treat patients.
  • A nurse practitioner (NP), also known as a nurse practitioner, is a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree in advanced nursing practice. Some NPs work independently of physicians, while others work with physicians in a team setting. State laws determine their authority and scope of practice. Some states permit nurse practitioners to write prescriptions. Others don’t.

Some NPs and PAs have specialized training in dermatology. Some PAs and NPs may have more dermatology training than family physicians, internists, or pediatricians.

A physician assistant or nurse practitioner can be a great option. It may reduce the wait time for an appointment with a busy doctor.

The next question is whether your PCP can manage your acne. Asking your PCP is the best way to find out.

Your primary care provider will likely recommend one to two topical treatments for your skin if you decide to work together. You may also be prescribed oral antibiotics to treat acne.

Give the medication a chance to work. Be patient. It can take several weeks or months for topical acne medications to prove their effectiveness.

Remember that medication should only be taken as directed. You should make it a habit to take or apply your acne medications the same way you brush your teeth.

Acne can last for many years, so it is not uncommon for ongoing treatment to be required.

Your PCP may not be able to meet your expectations of improvement in your skin’s condition. You’ve tried all the prescribed medications, creams, and lotions. But your skin isn’t improving. Then a acne specialist is the best option for this situation.

Request a referral to an acne specialist

Your PCP is your best source of information if your health plan requires you to request a referral to a specialist.

If your health plan allows for appointments to be made without the need to have a referral from your doctor, your PCP can still help you find a qualified professional in your area.

Although you can refer to a specialist in many ways, most specialists will only accept referrals for specialized care.

  • Your PCP may recommend that you have a dermatology consultation. This means that the specialist will examine you and make recommendations. Then, they will send you back to your PCP to continue treatment. See the sidebar “What’s a consultation?” for more information.
  • Your PCP may request that your care for your acne-related issues be continued. Your primary care physician will continue to see you for routine issues such as injuries and illnesses, but your acne will be treated by a specialist.

You should bring or send the medical records from your past care to the dermatology specialist. This will allow her to examine pertinent information such as past treatments and medications.

Find The Right Acne Specialist Near You

Not all acne specialist are created equally. While some acne specialist are highly skilled and have the most up-to-date knowledge to treat your acne, others may be less capable.

Ask your regular PCP to help you find the best person to treat your acne. It might be a good idea to ask your PCP who he would recommend for someone with acne.

A doctor of medicine (DO) or medical doctor (MD) is required for a dermatologist. First, they go to medical school. Then they are enrolled in a residency program to further their training.

They are experts in diagnosing and treating skin diseases (including hair and nails) in children and adults.

A dermatologist can also be trained in one or more of these procedures, depending on their interest and specialty.

  • Lasers and other special light delivery devices can be used to treat acne.
  • Procedures for corrective resurfacing to reduce acne scarring
  • Many cosmetic procedures can improve the appearance of the skin, such as Botox or “filler” injections.

The following two sections will explain how to see an acne specialist and what to do once you are there. From now on, all of these professionals will be referred to as acne specialist.

Once you have compiled a list, contact each to verify that they accept your insurance plan. Ask yourself if your insurance plan covers the doctor.

Check If The Acne Specialist Is AAD Board Certified

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is the largest dermatologic organization in the United States. The website can help you find an acne specialist near you. You can find biographical information on many academy dermatologists.

This includes their education and office hours. They can also confirm if they are accepting your health insurance plan. It also has detailed maps that show how to reach their offices.

The American Academy of Dermatology can be reached at 930 E. Woodfield Road, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4927 or 847-330-0230.

Find out if the acne specialist you are interested in is board-certified. “Certified” refers to a doctor who has completed a dermatology training program and passed an exam (or “board”) that evaluates her ability to provide high-quality patient care in this specialty. This means that the doctor has passed all of the tests and training.

Many dermatologists hold teaching positions in academic centers, such as major hospitals or medical or osteopathy schools. Online research can help you find out about their academic credentials.

How To Prepare To See An Acne Specialist

It doesn’t matter if you are seeing a dermatologist or a physician assistant. You should be prepared for your first visit.

Review your medical history

Review your medical history before you go to your first appointment. It would be best if you were prepared to share any medications you are taking and any medical conditions you may have that could play a role in your acne.

These are some of the things that your acne specialist might want to know.

  • Allergies: Are you allergic to any medications?
  • Other skin conditions Have you ever had eczema (an allergic reaction to something that has touched your skin that causes itching and inflammation) or contact dermatitis? These conditions can make your skin more sensitive to certain topical treatments.
  • Do you use any medications, vitamins, or supplements? Your doctor should know if you have recently ingested it or rubbed it on your skin. The medications you have been using to treat acne should be brought into the exam room. Your acne specialist can read the actual bottles and tubes to help you make informed decisions about the best course of action. Write down the names and dosages of any medications you have, even if you don’t bring the tubes or bottles.

First-Day Visit to See The Acne Specialist

You have your medical history. Here are some additional steps.

Here are some tips to get the most from your first office visit.

  • It would help if you arrived 15 minutes early. On your first visit to any healthcare provider, you will be expected to complete a few forms. At a minimum, your name, address, and medical history will be required by your new doctor. Also, you will need to provide information about your current insurance coverage and how you plan to pay for your appointments (such as cash or credit card). You can address these issues if you arrive at the office before your appointment.
  • Bring a parent: Minors must bring a parent or guardian. A minor is someone who is under the legal age of consent. This is usually 18 years old. Some procedures and medications require parental consent. Ensure you have a legal guardian or adult present, especially when you first visit.
  • If you don’t have insurance coverage, bring your card. You should have at least the name and birth date of any cardholder you carry if you don’t already have one.
  • Take off your makeup when you visit an acne specialist. You can expect a thorough examination of your skin.

What An Acne Specialist May Inquire

These are some of my most common first-visit questions regarding acne. They will be asked all or some of these questions. You can ensure you don’t forget any questions and that you and your doctor make the most of your visit by spending a few minutes thinking about these questions.

  • What is your most prolonged period of acne?
  • Is it a family trait?
  • Are there any family members with severe acne scarring?
  • What are you doing to your skin every day? For example, how often do you wash it?
  • Are you taking or applying for any medication?
  • Are you able to pick at lesions?
  • What makes it worse? Diet, exercise, medications, stress?
  • What have you found helpful? What has been beneficial?
  • These old standbys will also be available if you are a woman:
  • Is it worse before or during your period?
  • Is makeup making it worse?
  • Are your periods regular for you?
  • Do you use birth control pills? Does it help or hinder your acne?
  • Are you noticing unusual hair growth or excess?

Recognize treatment recommendations

Your acne specialist will discuss your concerns with you and perform a physical exam. She will then recommend treatment options that will most likely include medication.

Make sure you have all of your questions answered before leaving the exam room. You can always ask your doctor questions. It is essential to know what you can expect from your treatment and understand its goals.

Make sure you ask:

  • What side effects are there from the medication you’re prescribing?
  • What is the time it will take for the treatment?

If you are not happy with your treatment or have difficulty communicating with your acne specialist, remember that you can switch.

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Most Effective Acne OTC Treatments On The Market Today

home made acne treatment cream in a pleasing setting
While I normally advise seeing a doctor first, certain mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) products.

There is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry that aims to treat your acne and compete for your business. In this article, you will learn how to get rid of acne fast using over-the-counter products.

Look at the products that line the shelves in drug stores, supermarkets, and chain stores.

They come in fancy, eye-catching packages, as soaps, cleansers, lotions, pads, creams, gels, ointments, wipes, foams, and masks, and offer a treasure trove of preparations: oil-free, hypoallergenic, organic, non-comedogenic, herbal, radiant, protein-rich, dermatologist-tested, and so on. It’s no surprise that people who are trying to deal with acne OTC treatments often feel overwhelmed and confused when choosing the right product. I am here to help.

This article will discuss ways you can do it yourself, especially if your acne’s mild. I will help you identify which acne OTC treatment will work for you and help you choose the right ones. Self-treatment may not be the best option for everyone.

Topical acne treatments

topical acne treatments

Topical products are those that are applied to the skin. They can be creams, gels, foams, lotions, and ointments. Nearly all acne OTC treatments are topical and not oral. Topical therapy is safer than systemic (oral and injected) therapy. Both prescription and acne OTC treatments are composed of two types of ingredients.

The active ingredient: This is the part that does the grunt work. Because it is the most important component of any product, I recommend that you begin your search for OTC treatments by looking at the active ingredients. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the most common ingredients.

The inactive ingredient(s), also known as the vehicle, is the part of the medicine that keeps the medicine safe and fresh. It helps to make the acne OTC treatment easier to use and allows the medicine to move easily through the container. Because they deliver the medicine, inactive ingredients can sometimes be called the “inert ingredient” or the vehicle. When choosing the best topical acne OTC treatment for you, it is important to consider both active ingredients and inactive ingredients. Some active ingredients might be more effective for certain skin types, while others may be less beneficial.

Do not buy brand-name products if you can get cheaper generics. This way you won’t need to spend as much on packaging and marketing for your generic products. Once you have started to treat your acne, it’s important not to get into the habit of constantly checking your skin for signs of improvement. It can take up to six to eight weeks for the acne OTC treatment to begin to work, so be patient!

Inactive Ingredients

It’s better for the skin to be healthy and not too dry or oily. A moisturizing base (vehicle), is the best for dry skin. If it’s oily, choose a product with a drying base. If you don’t have oily or dry skin, you can choose a neutral product, which is neither moisturizing nor drying. The delivery vehicle they use determines which category most topical acne OTC treatments fall under. There you will find your skin type. Although the inactive ingredients won’t fight acne, they may be more effective for you than others depending on your skin type. One delivery agent doesn’t fit all. You may need to try different preparations if your skin is oily or sensitive.

Solutions for alcohol

Evaporate quickly. This acne OTC treatments is the most drying and can be irritating. You can easily cover large areas.

Solutions for water

They are water-based and non-alcohol. These are less irritating and drying than alcohol solu­tions. You can easily cover large areas.


They are generally more popular than ointments due to their less greasy nature. Patients often prefer them because they quickly absorb into the skin. They are more drying than ointments because of their water content.


They can be drying but are easy to spread, especially on areas with hair such as the backs or chests of males. They are very expensive.


They are almost oil-free and have a slight drying effect. The newer gel formulations include emollients like dimethicone and glycerin, which can help reduce the drying effects.


It may be moisturizing, but those that contain propylene glycol could dry out. It is easy to use.


Greasy. Greasy is more lubricating than gels and creams, and they are less irritating.

You might need to use different products for different areas of your skin if you have combination skin. I don’t think scrubs, cleansers, and washes are very important because they take up too much time.

They must be rinsed off before they can penetrate the skin and do their job. What amount of cream, lotion, or ointment should you use? For those of you who are old enough to recall the old hair cream commercial, a little bit will do.

Don’t think thick, but thin; a little goes a long way. Do not be tempted to believe that more is better. Only the skin’s thinnest layer is absorbed. The rest is either removed or rubbed off.

Active Ingredients

active acne treatment ingredients

You will be amazed at how similar the labels of all the drugs you see in the drugstore are. They all contain the same active ingredient plus some inactive ingredients.

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Sulfur
  • Resorcinol

It is much easier to find topical products that work than you might think. The type of acne you have will determine the active ingredient that you choose.

If you have acne that is mostly blackheads or whiteheads, look for a product with benzoyl peroxide. Then, if necessary, try one with salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide is sufficient to treat a few small zits. You will find information about salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide in the next sections.

Benefits of Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful antibacterial agent that kills P. Acnes, the bacteria responsible for producing acne. It’s the most commonly used acne OTC treatment. Benzoyl Peroxide dries the skin, peels it, and removes any dead cells. It also helps clear non-inflammatory comedones such as blackheads or whiteheads. Triple threat!

You can use Benzoyl Peroxide for many months or years, unlike prescription drugs and antibiotics. There are no long-term side effects, including tolerance (bacterial resistance).

Benzoyl peroxide can be found in many OTC brands, including Clearasil and Oxy, Clean and Clear, and PanOxyl. There are also generic and store-brand products. It can be found in creams and gels as well as lotions, creams, foams, and soaps.

These are some little tips to remember:

  • Creams, lotions, and pads, out of all the options for benzoyl peroxide, are more effective than soaps, scrubs, and washes.
  • Prescription benzoyl peroxide is also available. However, prescription benzoyl peroxide formulations do not have the same effectiveness as OTC products. They just cost more.

Using benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide extremely popular acne OTC treatment that deals with onset acne and prevents future breakouts. Even if your skin is clean, it’s a good option for acne vulgaris sufferers. It can be used regularly by women to reduce or prevent hormonal-related acne breakouts.

There are a variety of strengths for benzoyl peroxide, with some products ranging in strength from 2.5 to 10.0%. The lower strength of benzoyl peroxide, like 2.5 percent, is less irritating than the higher concentrations (5 percent and 10 percent), and they are equally effective for most people. They are also cheaper. You should start with the lowest possible dose and increase in strength as needed. This will reduce irritation and save you money.

You should start by using benzoyl peroxide products sparingly and then increase your frequency. Follow the instructions on the package. If you are unsure, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse to explain them. These are some guidelines:

  • This should be done every other night. After washing your face, apply a thin layer of moisturizer to any areas that are prone to acne. Avoid sensitive areas such as your lips and the corners of your mouth.
  • If you feel comfortable with it, increase the dosage to twice daily or more if you aren’t making enough progress. These are the things to keep in mind when you’re considering a benzoyl-peroxide acne OTC treatment.
  • Benzoyl peroxide can cause skin irritation. Avoid using harsh, abrasive, or drying cleansers when you use benzoyl peroxide. You don’t want your skin to become more sensitive by rubbing it.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is a bleach that can be used to bleach hair, sheets, and towels. It contains peroxide which is a powerful bleach. An old T-shirt can be worn to prevent the bleaching effect of benzoyl peroxide on acne. Be sure to dry the benzoyl peroxide completely before you touch towels, clothing, bedding, or towels.
  • It is possible to apply makeup and other skin-care products over benzoyl peroxide.
  • It takes time to treat acne. You may not see a significant improvement in your skin for several months. You can prevent new lesions from forming by continuing to use benzoyl peroxide after your acne has cleared.

Side effects

The area treated can experience some dryness, but it is generally mild. Apply a light moisturizer that is not oily such as Eucerin Daily Care Moisturizer, Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, or Olay Oil-Free Active Hydro Hydrating Beauty Fluid to your skin if it appears dry.

When you first apply benzoyl peroxide, you may feel a slight burning sensation or reddening. Burning and irritation are normal, but they usually go away in two to three days. Reduce the amount of time you apply the preparation to your skin. Stop using it if necessary.

Contact dermatitis can also be caused by allergy or irritation using benzoyl peroxide-based products. You can treat it with a topical steroid, such as 1-percent hydrocortisone cream. This is available without the need for a prescription. You can find the brand names Cortaid and Cortizone 10 or equivalents in-store brands.

Salicylic acid

salicylic acid

Salicylic acid, even in low amounts, isn’t effective at treating acne. It is believed to be able to absorb benzoyl peroxide, as well as other prescription-based acne medications.

Beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) include salicylic acid and sorbic acid. Because beta-hydroxy acids are natural substances that come from plants, fruits, and sugar, they’re often called “fruit acids”. These acids are found in many over-the-counter products.

Salicylic acid exfoliates, which is a process that removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Salicylic acid breaks down the gluelike substances that hold the skin cells together, allowing for the skin to be loosened. It is oil-soluble, so it can penetrate oily pores. These actions aid the skin to renew itself quicker and decrease the likelihood of pore blockage or a subsequent breakout.

OTC products that only contain salicylic acid (or any other form of salicylic acid) are at best minimally effective for treating non-inflammatory acne lesions. Salicylic acid does not affect sebum production. It just removes excess sebum from the skin surface and makes the skin feel smoother. This is why you may also find salicylic acid in makeup remover products.

Plastic surgeons and dermatologists often use stronger salicylic acid preparations for acne OTC treatments, wrinkle removal, and skin rejuvenation. High concentrations of salicylic acid are more effective in clearing blackheads and whiteheads than OTC products.

Salicylic acid, like benzoyl peroxide, comes in a variety of forms and is used in Clearasil and Oxy, Clean and Clear as well as in cheaper generic brands.

Salicylic acid can be found in concentrations ranging from 0.5 percent to 2.0 percent in lotions, creams, pads, cleansers, and astringents. These are agents that dry out oily skin. You can use it as a single agent or in combination with other ingredients like sulfur.

Salicylic acid creams, lotions, and pads are more effective than other options.

Many of the skin-care products offered by companies that sell benzoyl peroxide products also include products containing salicylic acids. They may be packaged together to form a “total treatment system” for your acne.

You can’t trust the expensive mail-order OTC combination systems that you see in TV infomercials. They aren’t tailored for your skin. If you do really want to try one, you can find a cheaper version at your local Wal-Mart or drugstore. Pay attention to the labels!

Salicylic acid products

For children who have just begun to get mild comedonal skin conditions, salicylic acid products can be used as a starter acne OTC treatment. These products are not recommended for use alone on other types of acne and more severe cases.

Apply a thin layer of salicylic acid to the areas affected by acne, just as with benzoyl peroxide. You can substitute the salicylic acid or add a benzoyl peroxide product to your routine if it isn’t working well.

Side effects

The area treated can experience some dryness, but it is generally mild. These products can cause irritation and dryness if they are combined with benzoyl-peroxide formulations. If the skin appears irritated or dry, use a light, non-oily moisturizer, such as the one listed in the section “Using Benzol peroxide”.

Other OTC medicines

other otc medicines

This section will briefly discuss the most effective acne OTC treatments. Some are quite costly.

Alpha hydroxy acids and retinol

Vitamin A is the base of vitamin retinol. The term “retinol” is often used in advertising to describe products that claim to reduce wrinkles and fine lines by increasing cell turnover (sometimes called revitalization).

Sometimes, retinol can be used in combination with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Glycolic acid, which is the most commonly used AHA for facial acne OTC treatment in this area, can also be used. However, citric and lactic acid can also be used. (AHAs most often come from fruits. This is why they are sometimes called “fruit acids.” However, lactic and citric acid doesn’t come directly from the fruit.

OTC products have very low levels of AHA. This acts as an exfoliant. AHAs and retinol were initially marketed for aging skin. However, both are being promoted as acne OTC treatments.

Chemical peels are popular for anti-aging and facial rejuvena­tion procedures. However, they can also be used to treat acne scars. This involves using strong acid solutions, such as AHAs and BHAs (betahydroxy acids), to cause the skin’s peeling off. It also encourages the regeneration of new skin. Your skin type and acne activity will determine the acne OTC treatment that works best for you. These AHAs and BHAs are stronger than the ones that can be applied by doctors.

Resorcinol, sulfur

These agents can be used to treat various types of acne, although they aren’t very effective. These agents have been around so long that I included them in my list to preserve their history and tell you how to save money if they are on a label.

  • Resorcinol is a still-really-popular ingredient that is often paired with sulfur in OTC products. After a few days, your skin might become reddened and peeling.
  • Sulfur: For more than 50 years, sulfur has been combined with other agents such as alcohol, salicylic acids, and resorcinol. It can be found in many acne OTC treatments. The skin reacts to sulfur in such a manner that it causes it to dry out, turn red and then peel. Sulfur is not recommended for use alone in acne OTC treatment due to its unpleasant “rotten egg” smell.

Multi-ingredient products

There are many products that contain various combinations of benzoyl peroxide and resorcinol. There are herbal remedies that contain lemon oil, aloe vera, and other fruit-derived ingredients. These products can be difficult to test scientifically.

Avoid these products with so many ingredients. You will pay more and be better off. OTC products that are classified as “herbal”, “organic,” and “natural” should be avoided. Their effectiveness has not been proven in clinical trials or scientific studies.

These acne OTC treatments are generally not of any value. Don’t try to experiment with old home remedies like rubbing papaya, a paste of roasted pomegranate skin, or fresh-cut cloves of garlic. Vegetables and fruits don’t work. Although they taste great, they are best used in your stomach rather than on your face. I am not sure how pomegranate skin tastes.

Acne soaps, cleansing strips, exfoliants, and masks

soaps and cleansing strips exfoliants and masks

Some products can physically, rather than chemically, agitate your skin. They remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, but don’t treat acne. Although a clean, clear face is great, these scrubby products can often only irritate or redden already inflamed skin. These are the most popular acne OTC treatments for physical acne:

  • Pore cleansing strips: These sticky pads temporarily lift dead cells and solidified sebum from your pores for about a day. Sometimes they can cause mild irritation. They are not very useful.
  • Acne soaps are available in many sizes and shapes. Some soaps contain benzoyl peroxide while others contain salicylic acid. Others have triclosan which is an antibacterial chemical cleanser that eliminates excess sebum secretions. They won’t stay on your skin for too long to make a difference in your acne. You can make them even more effective by leaving them on for 5-10 minutes before you rinse them off.
  • Exfoliants are skin products that remove dead skin cells. If you have inflammatory skin conditions, exfoliants can be harsh on your skin. They can also cause irritation if they contain salicylic acids. There are many types of exfoliants: scrubs, pads, pads, sponges, cosmetic scrubs, and masks. If you have sensitive skin, avoid these products.
  • Masks: These masks are self-indulgent and can be used to treat mild acne. There are many ingredients in masks, including salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide as well as vitamins, aloe vera, lemon juice, and vitamins.
  • Loofah sponges are almost as harmful as sandpaper if you have inflammatory skin conditions. They won’t harm you if you have clear skin and non-inflammatory acne.

These acne OTC treatments work best when they are used sparingly and in conjunction with other antibacterial treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide. My final words on these products are: Don’t spend too much! If you want to treat your acne yourself, make sure you use proven acne OTC treatments such as salicylic acid preparations and benzoyl peroxide.

Evaluating advertisers’ claims

evaluating advertisers claims

Although there is a wealth of excellent, well-researched, and useful information available about acne and products that can help, you should be careful with what you read. Pay attention to the following when you are browsing the acne aisle in your local drugstore, browse the Internet, go to your local bookstore, and watch the infomercials.

  • People who sell products: Many people who claim to be experts have a financial incentive to promote their products. This often outweighs the interest they have in helping you. Learn to read between the lines, and avoid all the nonsense. You should be skeptical about phrases and keywords such as magic, revolutionary, our laboratories, overnight, and others.
  • These claims are just too good to be true: Any product or book with the words cure or 24 hours or 5 weeks time to clear your skin should make you suspicious. I don’t know how you can cure acne, and I am a dermatologist with powerful drugs at my disposal. There is no cure for acne. In most cases, even with the strongest acne OTC treatment, it can take months to control it and many years to maintain clear skin.
  • Unsubstantiated claims about scientific testing: When a product says it was dermatologist-tested, it wasn’t necessarily approved or recommended by dermatologists. You could have one dermatologist who tested it. Or maybe the dermatologist didn’t like it. The manufacturer could still claim that it was dermatologist-tested. It’s difficult to discern the truth from the hype when a high-paid TV actor/doctor or your favorite movie star/pop star endorses a product. This book is not for the faint of heart. Your best guide.
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7 Common Acne Myths Exposed

7common acne myths
You’ve probably heard a lot of claims about acne remedies, but how can you know whether they’re true? We’ve come to put things right.

Since the beginning of time, people have tried to figure out what is causing their acne. This includes diet, stress, makeup, and sex.

While dermatologists and researchers aren’t 100% certain what causes acne, they have made great strides in the last decades, and most doctors agree that hormones and heredity are the main sources.

This article examines the role of diet and stress in causing or making existing acne worse, and debunks common acne myths. I also discuss some over-the-counter acne medications and “tripwires” that have been linked to acne-causing or worsening effects.

Let me end by examining the relationship between makeup, acne, and skin. We will also examine some historical acne myths. You’ve likely been told not to eat too many chocolates.

These acne myths can be passed on from one generation to the next, shared with you by a friend, or published in beauty magazines. Acne myths are hard to swallow, and sometimes there’s an underlying truth that can explain how and where they originated. Other times, they’re just silly folklore.

Your blackheads may appear to be filled with dirt, but they are actually melanin. This pigment gives your skin its natural color. Contrary to what you might have heard or seen in commercials, acne doesn’t happen from the top. Most of the action that causes your pores to become blocked is inside your hair follicles.

It’s amazing, don’t you think? It’s possible that dirt is a major cause of acne in some people. We would see gazillions upon gazillions of pimples and blackheads on our faces and the faces of those who do manual labor like coal miners, ditch diggers, and construction workers. It happens that doctors, teachers, office workers, and even dermatologists get acne.

Oil is the most important aspect of acne. Although there is a correlation between the severity of the condition and how much oil the skin produces, not everyone with acne has oily skin.

A face with acne should not be rubbed. It will only irritate and worsen an already reddening complexion. The best thing for your face is to wash it twice a day. Use a mild cleanser.

The Cause Of Acne

You are not always what you eat. Despite some personal anecdotes and persistent cultural acne myths about acne, it is not likely to be significantly influenced by diet. There have even been studies where people were paid to eat chocolate. Yum! The acne of the chocolate-eating sub-jects didn’t get any worse.

Several substances in chocolate have been found to be mood-lifters. These chemicals are chemicals that lower pain and increase mood. Chocolate is good for your skin, and it may help reduce your stress levels.

Your waistline could get larger. There is still some debate about the relationship between diet and acne. However, many researchers believe that some dietary factors may have an impact on acne. Some dairy products and refined sugars found in Western diets are being investigated as possible acne triggers.

This is a controversial issue. If you are certain that certain foods are making your acne worse, avoid them! If your acne is being properly treated, there’s no need to worry about it. Be skeptical of any books that promote salmon as a treatment.

You may have been advised to avoid junk food in order to prevent pimples. It contains too much fat and grease, which can make your skin oily and cause you to get McPimples.

Studies have shown that it is the oil in the sebaceous glands, not the oil in French fries or in your stomach, that causes problems. It is sensible to eat healthy, which means avoiding greasy foods, but it doesn’t guarantee clear skin.

Common Acne Myths

Can Beef And Milk Cause Acne?

To build muscle, many cattle are fed androgens. As you might have read, the body’s androgens can often be what causes an overproduction of oil. Researchers are investigating whether eating beef can cause androgenic stimulation or acne.

However, cooking may cause the androgens to be less effective in reaching our sensitive and acne-prone hair follicles. Some investigators, though a minority, believe that dairy products, especially skim milk, may make acne worse or even cause it.

The androgenic hormones that are injected into cows in order to increase milk production cause pimples. It is not clear if the hormones found in milk can survive high levels of stomach acidity (our stomach acid) and be absorbed into our bodies.

This debate is my take. I have seen many vegetarians choose to not eat flesh foods (fish and chicken), as well as a few vegans (pronounced “vee-guns”), people who completely avoid any animal products, including eggs and dairy. Guess what? Vegans and vegetarians both get acne just like everyone else! (And, by the way, when was the last time you saw a cow with pimples?)

Although no one knows the answer, for now, I believe you can trust your gut instincts and continue to drink your milk. (Unless you have an allergy to milk.) The same applies to eating steak. The jury is still out on the cow-androgen-acne issue.

Are Sweets A Cause Of Acne?

A study of two societies, the Kitavan Islanders in Papua New Guinea and the Ache hunter-gatherers in Paraguay, found no evidence of acne until the groups were exposed to a Western diet.

This article was published in the Archives of Dermatology’s December 2002 volume. It suggested that acne could be caused by the consumption of refined sugars in Western diets.

The bottom line: other than diet, climate, and sun exposure, many factors could be responsible for the lack of acne in these individuals.

Teenagers probably had the same amount of acne 30 years ago as they do today, even though American diets were lower in sweets.

Modern-day stress, anxiety at work, too many hormones, nuclear threats, obesity, too many hormones, too little or too many hormones—all of these things can lead to severe acne. While most investigators believe stress does not cause acne, many would disagree that stress can worsen it.

Ask college students during exam time. Teenagers are getting ready to go to prom or interview for their first job. It is well-known that the body releases excessive amounts of glucocorticoids (the body’s natural steroids) when it is under stress.

Some believe that glucocorticoids have an androgenous effect (see next section for details about glucocorticoids taken orally) and cause the sebaceous to produce more oil, which can worsen or cause acne-like eruptions.

Regular stress-reducing activities (such as knitting, yoga, and other such activities) may help to reduce the levels of glucocorticoids and their effects on the sebaceous glands. Many pundits recommend getting more sleep and meditation. These measures are not proven to reduce acne like diet and acne. But, these healthy habits may help reduce stress.

Acne-Causing Drugs

Most medication-related acne reactions are self-limiting. This means that they disappear once the drug is stopped. The same medication can be used to treat acne-like lesions if the drug is required to be taken for a prolonged period.


Oral corticosteroids are synthetic derivatives of the natural steroid cortisol (which is produced by the adrenals). These steroids are pre-prescribed for many serious inflammatory conditions. These steroids are called “systemic steroids” when they’re administered by injection or mouth. They are not as effective as topical corticosteroids, which can be applied directly to the skin.

Examples include prednisone and methylprednisolone. Sometimes, these drugs can cause inflammatory acne lesions. These are usually papules and pustules that appear on the chest or back. After the medication has been stopped, they disappear. Steroid-induced acne is generally free of comedones, which are blackheads and whiteheads.

A condition similar to acne can be caused by the excessive use of topical corticosteroids, which are used for many skin conditions. This is called steroid-induced rosacea. This sounds contradictory. Because oral corticosteroid drugs have anti-inflammatory properties, it would seem that they could be used to treat acne.

They are sometimes used to treat acne under certain circumstances. They can be used to treat acne scars and nodules by injecting them. We dermatologists may prescribe corticosteroids orally to treat acne for short, three-to five-day, low-dose “bursts”.

These are used for special occasions such as weddings, proms, and other special events. Although they can effectively eliminate acne quickly, they are only effective for short periods.

Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids

These hormones can cause acne and other serious health issues. Besides legitimate medical uses of androgens such as testosterone for hormone deficiencies, widespread use and abuse of these compounds exists, particularly the anabolic-androgenic steroids, as performance-enhancing drugs.

This type of acne is more common in males and occurs primarily on the chest, back, shoulders, and chest. However, in female athletes who use these drugs, lesions can also appear on the forehead, back, shoulders, and neck. A problem with acne might get worse, or it may be exacerbated.


Androstenedione, also known as andro, is a hormone that’s produced by the adrenal glands and ovaries. It is a precursor hormone that can be normally converted by the body into testosterone or estrogen in both men and women.

Andro was in the news after Mark McGwire, a former baseball player, admitted to taking Andro during his record-breaking home run season. Advertisements claim that andro-containing supplements increase muscle mass.

However, research has shown that andro poses similar health risks to anabolic steroids. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns young people about the potential risks of taking andro. These include acne, early puberty, and stunted growth.

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)

This hormone is sometimes called the “fountain of youth” hormone. It’s also a steroid hormone, which is a chemical cousin to testosterone and estrogen. DHEA can cause excessive facial and body hair, as well as acne because it is converted to testosterone.

Other oral medications

The following drugs have also been shown to be acnegenic:

  • Lithium
  • Iodine
  • Isoniazid
  • Diphenylhydantoin
  • Several androgen contraceptive pills
unsatisfied unhappy young woman looking her self mirror black studio background problem skin acne concept

Learn How To Deal With Adult Acne

an adult man is dealing with an an adult acne
Inflammation and blocked pores cause nearly all adult acne. Adult acne is a common skin condition that can be treated effectively.

Many people, mostly women, get acne as adults. Teenage acne can sometimes persist into adulthood.

This article will prepare you for unexpected situations when acne can rear its ugly head, including pregnancy, adulthood, and menopause.

How To Identify Adult Acne

Adult acne occurs after age 18 years. This is different from the common teenage form of acne. It can appear in a woman’s 20s or 30s, but it is also possible later in life. Adult acne is mostly a problem that affects females.

Adult acne is more volatile than teenage acne vulgaris. However, teenage girls begin to notice those premenstrual “ups and downs” as they get older. Many women know that lesions can appear and disappear more quickly than with teenage acne.

Describe The Symptoms

Post-adolescent skin is different from teenage acne.

  • It is less common to see blackheads or whiteheads (comedones).
  • Most breakouts are mild to moderate.
  • It is rare to see significant scarring. However, the term “significant” can refer to a relative.
  • Lesions are more common on the lower cheeks, the chin, and along and below your jawline. While some women may experience breakouts on their chest or back, most people have only blemishes on their faces.

Most breakouts are limited to small inflammatory nodules (pimples, bumps, zits, zits), pustules, and inflammatory papules. For an example of adult-onset breakouts, see the color section in this book. You can have superficial or deeper papules and pustules.

Some women refer to certain papules as “deep ones,” those that feel like they are under the skin. If you have them, then you will understand what I mean. Deeper ones are often palpable and more perceptible than the visible ones.

These are papules or pustules that don’t reach the skin’s surface and could never. These deep lesions can grow larger and are called cysts (or nodules). Nodules can be tender, hard lumps that can persist for several weeks or even months.

They can grow up to an inch in size and may leave scarring after healing. Adult acne is rare. However, scarring and nodules are not common. It is not always easy to diagnose adult acne. Adult acne may be confused with other similar disorders by your healthcare provider.

  • Rosacea is characterized by facial lesions containing acne-like pustules and red papules. Both rosacea and acne can be present together.
  • Pseudofolliculitis Barbae and Keratosis Pilaris: These conditions affect hair follicles and can sometimes look a lot like acne.
  • Sometimes, what appears to be a simple case of acne vulgaris or adult acne can be due to an underlying hormonal abnormality called endocrinopathy (pronounced en-de-krin-op-ath-ee). Sometimes, this can make it difficult to control acne. Your doctor should evaluate other options, such as blood tests to determine if there are higher or lower levels of hormones.

Emerging at Any Age

Acne develops in the teenage years due to an increase in androgens, male hormones present in both men and women.

These hormones stimulate the glands and cause them to enlarge. They also produce excessive oil, which promotes acne lesions. The vast majority of adult-onset women with acne aren’t affected by elevated levels of testosterone.

They respond to normal levels of estrogen and, to a lesser extent, to progesterone. Both of these hormones have androgen effects. Estrogen, the other major female hormone, has the opposite effect (or estrogen) and tends to reduce acne.

In addition to a woman’s own hormones, adult acne may be related to and heightened by the ingestion of external hormones and drugs that have androgenic effects, such as those contained in certain oral contraceptive medications, food products, and performance-enhancing drugs.

The sections below will discuss common areas in your life where acne may be an issue, as well as the reasons why.

Adult Acne And Your Menstrual Cycle

You probably already know about the little red bumps that pop up on a monthly basis. You are probably familiar with those unsolicited visitors that appear and disappear like clockwork during menstrual cycles. These unwanted visitors usually disappear after a few days, but can sometimes persist for up to a month. It’s not fun!

Pimples are most common right before your period. This is when estrogen levels drop and progesterone levels increase. It’s usually about two to seven days before your period. With this extra oil, acne can occur.

You may not notice a connection between pimples and your period. They will sometimes erupt spontaneously right before an interview, a wedding, a party, or a public speaking engagement. That’s great! Great!

Acne And Pregnancy

Acne can be unpredictable during pregnancy. Some women are blessed with clear skin and the “glow” of pregnancy. If this is you, enjoy it! But don’t get overconfident. It is common for acne to recur after pregnancy, even though it has almost disappeared.

Existing acne can get worse. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can be quite dramatic. Your estrogen and progesterone levels are increasing, which means your skin is more sensitive to changes in hormones. Some women may develop acne when they are pregnant.

This is even though they have never suffered from acne in their youth. No matter how many times you’ve had acne in the past, pregnancy is a normal time for it to occur. It is impossible to prevent acne from developing during pregnancy.

However, patience will help your skin heal and return to its pre-pregnancy condition. Most lesions that occur during pregnancy are inflammatory and appear as papules or pustules. When hormone levels are rising, acne tends to get worse in the first trimester (the first three months of pregnancy).

Progesterone, which is more male hormone-like than estrogen, causes your skin to secrete more. This can cause more acne. Your sebaceous glands can also go into overdrive during the first, second, and third trimesters.

This can lead to more severe and frequent breakouts. Breastfeeding can trigger some hormones that cause acne. You may want to continue treating those pimples. As I will mention, certain medications that you take or apply to your skin could end up in your breast milk.

Pregnancy And Safe Acne Medications

If you are pregnant or nursing, it is best to say no to unnecessary drugs. You want to make sure your baby is safe from any potentially harmful substances. A topical acne-fighting cream is the best option for treating acne during pregnancy.

Talk to your doctor about your acne treatment options if you are planning on getting pregnant. If you’re not pregnant, you should not use certain medications to treat acne. They could be harmful to the developing fetus. Your doctor might recommend the following topical treatments during pregnancy:

  • Erythromycin is a topical antibiotic that can be found in many products.
  • Benzamycin Gel is a gel that contains erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide.
  • Azelaic acid is a natural chemical that yeast produces. It is the active ingredient of the prescription drugs Azelex and Finevin.

Azelaic acid is classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a pregnancy-category B drug. This means that animal reproduction studies have not shown a risk to the fetus. However, there are no well-controlled and adequate studies on pregnant women.

This drug should not be used during pregnancy or by nursing mothers, as it is possible for the drug to pass into the mother’s milk.

I would recommend you avoid any oral medications that are used to treat your acne while you are pregnant. If your acne is severe, you can take oral erythromycin if you are not allergic. Your dermatologist might recommend another oral antibiotic if you are allergic to it or if it isn’t working.

Drugs That Could Be Dangerous For Developing Fetuses

Some topical and oral acne medications are classified as pregnancy category C drugs by the FDA. The FDA categorizes some topical and oral medications as pregnancy category C drugs. This means that it is not known if the medication will cause harm to unborn babies.

However, benzoyl peroxide and sulfacetamide have been around for years, and there has never been any evidence that they are harmful to a fetus. There is no definitive evidence to support the use of some of these drugs, so it’s best to avoid them, unless your dermatologist or healthcare provider tells you otherwise. These acne creams have been around for many years. They are safe to use during pregnancy and nursing.

Benzoylperoxide: This drug is known for its long-lasting effectiveness. It is very effective in treating adult acne and can also be bought over-the-counter. There have been no reports of any problems with benzoylperoxide in pregnancy. Although benzoyl peroxide is generally safe for use during pregnancy, it’s not known if it passes into breast milk.

The FDA did not require testing of this product, as it has been in use for so many years. You should not use benzoylperoxide topical if you are pregnant or nursing your baby. Then you can decide if the risks and benefits are acceptable. If you are pregnant or nursing, it is best to use a combination product that contains erythromycin, such as Benzamycin Gel, instead. I will discuss this later.

Topical retinoids include tretinoin and Retin-A as well as Differin, Tazorac, and Tazorac. Although there is very little absorption of topical steroids that could reach a fetus and no evidence that they can cause harm to an unborn baby, it’s best to stop using them once you become pregnant.

Clindamycin: This antibiotic is available as prescription products such as Cleocin T and several generics. It has not been proven that clindamycin can cause pregnancy. Combining clindamycin with benzoylperoxide can also be found in Duac Gel and Benzaclin Gel. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is not recommended to use products that contain clindamycin.

Aczone Gel: This gel contains dapsone. When dapsone has been applied topically, there is very little absorption into the bloodstream. However, when administered orally, it is known to be excreted in milk.

Birth Defects Have Been Linked To Oral Drugs

If you are pregnant, I advise against taking any oral medication to treat your acne. If your adult acne is severe, you can take an oral penicillin derivative such as amoxicillin if you are not allergic. Your dermatologist might recommend another oral antibiotic if you are allergic to penicillin or if it isn’t working.

Your unborn baby can be affected by oral drugs. These cases are a clear indication that your baby may be at risk of serious birth defects if they take oral drugs. If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, you should not use the following medications:

Tetracycline: Tetracycline (and its derivatives, minocycline or doxycycline), may inhibit bone growth and discoloration in a fetus.

Hormones: Anti-androgens like spironolactone, which is often used to treat adult acne, may block testosterone and interfere with the normal development of a male fetus. This can lead to feminization.

Oral isotretinoin, also known as Accutane (or-so-treti-ne), is a powerful medication that is used to treat severe adult acne nodularis in carefully chosen patients. This drug can cause serious fetal abnormalities. Oral isotretinoin has many restrictions, which are understandable. Infants born to mothers who have been exposed to oral isotretinoin may develop serious birth defects.

They should not be taken during pregnancy. Problems can still arise even if a woman becomes pregnant within a month of stopping taking the drug. Pregnancy is also associated with an increased chance of miscarriage, premature births, and infant deaths.

Recently published Swedish research showed that certain heart defects were more common in children born to mothers who took oral erythromycin during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, it is not certain that other factors contributed to the increase in malformations. These malformations did not increase after penicillin treatment.

You’re Never Too Old

Many women go through menopause with their adult acne not getting worse. Yes, acne can occur during and after menopause. You may have thought that your years of acne and memories were over, but they are back just when you think your skin is clear.

You’re not experiencing second adolescence. It’s the pesky hormones! While hormonally-influenced acne usually begins between 20 and 25, it can continue to affect women after 40, and even into menopause.

Acne can be a side effect of all the changes you experience during this period. Although adult acne is rare after menopause, it can occur when estrogen levels decrease and testosterone becomes the dominant hormone.

Acne As An Adult Man

For most men, acne that appears after the age of 20 is not common. The bad news is that adult acne lesions tend to be more common on the back and chest in men over 20. It’s often called “backne” when it appears on the back.

If you’re a man with acne, chances are one of two things is happening: The teen version Although most teenage acne disappears by the age of 20, some can still persist. A man who is an athlete: Acne has been more prominently seen on the backs and chests of athletes in recent years.

Many believe that friction and sweating can cause adult acne, as the primary areas affected are often found under clothing. You’ve used performance-enhancing drugs. Another, more likely, source of chest and back acne may result from the use of performance-enhancing preparations that contain such ingredients as creatine, colostrum, and, of course, anabolic steroids such as testosterone and andro.

There is no reason to believe you have acne. A dermatologist may be able to tell you if you aren’t suffering from rosacea or folliculitis. This can occur when you shave your head, chest, and back. Men are more likely to suffer from severe adult acne scarring than women. Men may have scarring from acne lesions, particularly if they had severe acne as teens.

close up portrait man squeezing pimples

Learn Types Of Acne And How Pimples Form

young woman with clearly visible pimples on her face
Pimples occur when dead skin cells and oil combine. This combination clogs the pore and causes swelling. Learn more below…

Ah, the pimple. It is the bane of many a school photo and wedding day. Pimples are a good thing for photo retouching. Pimples are not just a nuisance that appears at the wrong time for most. They are a reminder of the uncontrollable forces at work in our skin every day.

This article will explain what is required to cause acne lesions. A lesion is a dermatologist’s term for any skin abnormality or mark. A lesion is a pimple. A blackhead is a lesion. A lesson is not your nose if you don’t have two.

I will walk you through the various conditions that can cause a lesion to develop and grow, including blocked hair follicles, overworked oil glands, and bacteria. Next, I will help you to categorize your acne so that you can understand which over-the-counter acne treatment option is the best.

Oil At A High Price

The hair follicle is where acne lesions begin and mature. A blocked follicle is essential for acne development. Although a blocked follicle may not be the only thing that causes acne, it is a critical condition.

I will detail other conditions in the sections below. To get to the root of acne, we must first look at the hair follicle. Technically, the pilosebaceous (PSU) is the hair follicle. This article will be simple and refer to the entire thing as the “follicle” (or “hair follicle”) for simplicity.

Three components make up the hair follicle (actually, the PSU).

Sebaceous gland (pronounced “see-bum”): This gland looks like a cluster of grapes. It produces and pumps out an oily substance called sebum, which coats and conditions hair and skin. Sebum is a rich mixture of different lipids (fatty chemicals).

Sebum is a liquid that rises to the epidermis and protects your skin. Sebum also makes your skin waterproof. Sebum also helps to transport dead skin cells from the hair follicle to the outside skin so the body can eliminate them.

Sebum production is high in acne patients. Sebum is an important part of the acne story. It plays a significant role alongside its producer, the gland that produces it, as well as its co-star, the hair follicle, and its director, testosterone (an important hormone).

Sebaceous tube: This tiny tube guides the sebum and the dead skin cells from the gland to the hair canal. The hair canal is the area through which the sebum travels onto your hair before it is carried out to your skin’s exterior.

Hair: This is the hair that grows out of your pores. Sometimes, hair is called strands or hair shafts. Hairs can be found almost everywhere on our bodies. I hope there is no hair on your hands. The hairs carry the sebum to our skin.

What Is The Role Of Hormones?

The central role of hormones in the acne drama is their importance. Hormones act as the body’s chemical messengers. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. But, without hormones, you wouldn’t get acne.

Both males and females have acne-causing hormones called androgens. Androgens refer to hormones with more masculinizing characteristics. Androgens play a role in the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males, such as facial hair, muscle mass, reproduction, and so forth.

The main male hormone is androgen, or testosterone. If you are a female, however, androgens exist too. However, they are produced in much smaller amounts and are weaker than their male counterparts.

Progesterone and estrogen are the main female hormones. They regulate menstrual cycles and control pregnancy. These hormones, although less powerful than androgens, can also have an impact on acne.

The androgenic hormones regulate the amount of sebum (the healthy oil that I described in the previous section) that our glands produce. These androgens aren’t produced more in acne sufferers than in others. It’s simply that their glands are sensitive to the hormones’ message to increase production.

The glands react by producing excessive amounts of sebum. The highest concentrations of sebum glands are found on the back, chest, and face. This is why acne is more common in these areas. Adolescence is the most problematic time for acne.

This is because androgens increase steadily in adolescence and signal your glands to produce more sebum and grow larger. The amount of androgen secretion decreases as teens reach the age of 18 or 19. Some women, and less often men, retain a higher sensitivity to androgens and have continued acne after adolescence. Many women get acne as adults.

Congested Pores and Narrowed Hair Canal

Millions of skin cells are lost every day. Your body constantly creates new skin cells and gets rid of the old ones. These dead cells can be removed by your body in many different ways. Your skin is one example.

The dead skin cells are carried by sebum to the outside, where they fall off. Excess oil can block the exit route for dead hair cells. The obstruction causes your hair canal’s opening to narrow and the pores in your skin, which are the exits for your hair, to become clogged.

A process known as abnormal follicular Keratinization can also block oil’s exit. This is a fancy way of saying that the oil doesn’t evaporate as quickly from the skin as it normally does.

Instead of breaking down with the sebum at the skin’s surface, dead skin cells and keratin stick together with the oil to further block the hair canals and sebaceous glands.

It is possible to get acne by not washing the oil off or by neglecting to do so. Eating a lot of junk food and greasy French fries is a bad habit. It’s not about the oil. It’s either on your stomach or on your skin.

Blackheads or Whiteheads?

Sebum, cells, and keratin are trapped together, creating a sticky mixture that blocks exit routes. The plug works in the same way as a cork in the bottle. It locks in all the stuff inside and makes it impossible for it to escape onto the skin’s surface.

Microcomedo is the name of the plug (pronounced my-krohm-e-doe). A microcomedo is too small to be seen with the naked eye. The microcomedo becomes visible when the trapped sebum builds up over time. There are two types:

Blackheads: A blackhead is a comedone that appears darkened on the skin’s surface. It’s not dirt that causes the darkened color. Instead, melanin builds up in the skin and turns it black. Also known as open comedones, blackheads can also be called open comedones.

Whiteheads: A whitehead is a comedone that remains below the skin’s surface. It’s light-colored and appears like a small, whitish bump. Closed comedones also refer to whiteheads.

The medical term for the process of creating whiteheads or blackheads is comedogenesis.

Combating Bacteria

Microcomedos can develop into and stay comedos. Sometimes, it can become an inflammatory lesion. Inflammation can be caused by skin injury or disease. In the case of acne, inflammation is due to bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes.

An inflammatory lesion is characterized by redness, swelling, heat, and sometimes even pain. These bacteria do not necessarily indicate that your acne is caused by poor hygiene. Here are some common causes of acne inflammation:

  • Papule: a small red bump that is firm and red. A pimple, zit, or pimple is another name for a pimple.It is composed of inflammatory blood cells but doesn’t contain any pus.
  • A pustule is a papule containing pus. It’s a white, whitish, goopy substance that looks like a lot of white blood cells. Also known as “pus pimples”, pustules can also be called “pus pimples”.
  • Nodule: a pus-filled, tender, often lumpy, inflamed papule or pustule lodged deeper in the skin. A cyst is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to a “nodule” due to the similarity of a cyst to a nodular acne lession.

What Exactly Is P. Acnes?

To make comedones move up the inflammation chain to a full-blown lesion, they require the aid of certain bacteria. You may be wondering how yeast is added to cakes to make them rise. What you need is Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that helps to make zits grow.

He (or is it she?) will be my new nickname. P. acnes is short for P. acnes. P. acnes can be described as an anaerobe. It prefers to live where there is little oxygen, such as in a low-oxygen environment in a hair follicle. P. acnes tends to be independent.

Although they are generally harmless and friendly bacteria, they can cause problems if they are allowed to thrive in the right environment (such as a clean, oily hair follicle). They are never bored and never hungry because they eat the oily, fat sebum that serves as food.

This culinary feat is possible because they produce enzymes, chemicals that are responsible for a variety of chemical reactions. Enzymes are proteins that cause chemical changes in other substances, but they don’t have to be changed. P. acne enzymes work in the same way as knives and forks to help us chop our food into smaller pieces that are easier to digest.

P. acnes makes the enzyme lipase. This enzyme can break down certain fats (triglycerides) into smaller pieces (free fatty acids) that can be digested by the body. P. acnes can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The force of the trapped oil can cause ruptures or leaks within the walls of their comedo. This allows the free fatty acids to enter the surrounding dermis.

What Is The Role Of White Blood Cells?

The bacteria will use their lipases in order to make free fatty acids. This causes chemical 911 signals to be sent out to your white blood cells. The skin is very sensitive to free fatty acids. The body reacts to irritation by creating an army of white and red blood cells.

This sounds like the Russian Revolution! Seal the area where bacteria and free fatty acids are found. Your body’s natural defense system, white blood cells, They are accompanied by red blood cells to help clean up the mess.

Sometimes, despite their best intentions, these little cells can overdo it and cause inflammatory acne lesions. Red, swollen pustules and pimples may result from the cleanup effort. This can lead to larger lumps, papules, and nodules.


Fibroblasts, cells found in the dermis, are responsible for repairing any injury. These cells produce collagen. Your dermis is responsible for repairing any skin damage. The appearance of a firm scar is caused by the excess production of collagen.

Scarring can also be caused by the P. acnes bacteria, which releases tissue-destroying chemicals that can cause damage to normal collagen.

Acne scars can be seen as a visible reminder of the body’s inflammation against acne outbreaks. Scarring is more likely if an acne outbreak has become deeper than usual.

How to Classify Acne

Dermatologists need to be able to describe different types of acne. This helps us understand our patients better and allows us to communicate with each other. It allows us to track the progress of our treatments. These are the main categories of acne. You’ll likely come across them in your doctor’s office.

  • Non-inflammatory acne: A person’s acne lesions are predominantly whiteheads or blackheads. Because it is characterized by comedones, it is sometimes called comedonal.
  • Inflammatory acne is distinguished by the presence of red or purple papules and macules.

One patient may have both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. This combination is more common in teens than in adults. Inflammatory acne is more common in adults. Your type of acne will determine how you want to treat it.

  • We use retinoids to treat acne that is predominantly comedonal, with whiteheads and blackheads. These drugs are comedolytic, which means that they break down comedones.
  • For inflammatory acne, you may need to use benzoyl peroxide more often.
  • We use benzoylperoxide when you have both types of acne.
confident young woman with acne close up

Acne Prone? How To Take Care Of Your Skin

a man using cleansing wipes for acne treatment
It may appear that controlling your acne is impossible at times. The good news is that common skin issues can be prevented and treated. Here are a few pointers.

Are you aware of the largest organ in your body? It’s not in your brain and it’s certainly not in your large intestine. Don’t give up!

Your skin is an organ, just like your heart, liver, and lungs. The average adult’s skin would cover 20 square feet. That’s about the same size as a twin-sized sheet of paper.

This article will explain the inner workings of your skin and show you where your acne is originating. I will explain the functions of your “largest organ” and give you some tips on how to care for it.

Explore your largest organ.

The skin may not be considered an organ like the heart or lungs. Many people view skin as a cover that protects their internal organs from being exposed. An organ is an independent body part that performs a specific function.

Once you understand this, you will see that the skin is an organ because it performs specific functions in addition to other functions.

  • It protects your body against infection.
  • It acts as a barrier that keeps the outside world from getting in your face.
  • protects your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
  • It protects you against injury by providing cushioning, similar to a shock absorber.
  • It insulates your body and maintains your temperature at a comfortable 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37.6 degrees Celsius).
  • It serves as an energy reserve.
  • Your sensations of pain and touch alert you to possible harm.
  • Repairs themselves (that’s why cuts heal).
  • Vitamin D is produced.

Your skin performs many functions, so you might not be surprised to learn that it has a complex structure with many parts. There are hairs with their own oil glands and small muscles. I bet you didn’t even know hair had muscles!

The skin contains sensory nerves that can sense temperature, pressure, touch, and cold. It is also home to blood vessels and lymph vessels, as well as sweat glands. Your skin also contains microscopic pigment-producing cells, which are cells that help you fight infection and protect your skin from harm.

You might be surprised to learn that your skin does not have a zip code. Human skin has three layers. The epidermis and dermis are the two top layers. The subcutaneous layer is the third and final fatty layer on which the epidermis, dermis, and bask lie.

The prefix epi means “upon”, while derm means “skin,” so they together form the epidermis (upon skin). Dermis is “skin,” so the epidermis (upon the skin) is formed. You will be taken on a guided tour through each layer in the sections below.

About Your Epidermis

The epidermis is very strong. Keratinocytes make up most of the epidermis cells. Keratin is a fibrous protein that is extremely tough and durable in keratinocytes.

The Latinword for cells is “cytes”, so keratinocytes are cells made up of keratin. Cellular motion is constant within these layers, just as in the skin, which has multiple layers (epidermis and dermis).

The outer layer, also known as the horny or stratum corneum layer, is the epidermis’ outermost layer. This layer protects your body from infection and damage. This is actually a layer of skin made of dead cells.

Dead cells also make up your hair and nails. When you look at your skin, you can see dead cells. These dead skin cells don’t stay around for very long. They will eventually fall off. It happens all the time. We lose between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells every day.

The middle layer is also known as the stratum spinosum. Scientists first described these cells as looking kind of spiny.

Inner layer: Also known as the basal layer, the inner layer acts as a production facility for new skin cells (keratinocytes). They eventually move up through the stratum spinosum to reach the outer stratum corneum to replace any older cells that have been lost from the surface.

The basal layer’s keratinocytes stand tall like soldiers when they see the basement membrane. This barrier separates the epidermis from the dermis and acts as an anchor. Because the epidermis is deficient in blood, the underlying dermis keeps the keratinocytes alive.

They begin to die as they move higher up the ladder. They have lost almost all their cellular content, except for the tough keratin fibers. They become more durable and resilient as they age and eventually become the flattened cells of the stratum corneum.

It takes approximately two weeks to one month to complete this one-way trip. Scarring can occur when an injury or a pimple from acne penetrates the basement membrane. You can now see your dermis!

Your epidermis and your dermis have an intimate relationship. It is equipped with sensory nerves and blood vessels. It provides oxygen and carbon dioxide to the epidermis, which is then absorbed through the basement membrane.

Because it lacks nerves and blood supply, the epidermis cannot survive without the dermis. The dermis is home to collagen and elastin fibers. Collagen, a strong protein that gives the dermis rigidity and strength, is resilient.

Elastin is composed of a protein structure that can coil and retract like a spring. This protein gives the skin its elasticity.

The hair follicle is also located in the dermis. The hair follicle is a hair-containing channel with a tube-shaped sheath surrounding the area of hair below the skin. It is located in the epidermis as well as the dermis.

Blockage of hair follicles is often the root cause of acne. It seems that the hair follicle is the main focus of the entire book. All of these things have their roots in the hair follicle.

Subcutaneous Layer

The subcutaneous layer is home to fat cells, also known as lipocytes. The subcutaneous layer is not where acne is concerned, so we will only be visiting it briefly.

If you are interested, the subcutaneous layer is where your outer layers of skin rest. Your body’s natural shock absorber, cushion, and insulator is the fatty layer. It also keeps the diet industry afloat!

Subcutaneous layers contain arteries, veins, and lymph vessels that are larger than the ones in your dermis. You’ll find muscles and perhaps some of your inner organs if you dig deeper. This is a far-reaching view! The anatomical tour will end here in Fat City.

How to Take Care of Your Skin

Different skin types and people need different skin care routine for acne. An old saying in dermatology still holds true: “If your skin is dry, wet it.” If your skin is fair, shield it. If it’s dark, you are probably very lucky”.

Your melanin protects you against skin cancer and wrinkles. If your skin is fair, you should use sunscreen and wear hats. You may also have other reasons to protect your skin from the sun if you have dark skin. Some people with darker skin, such as those from Asia or those with complex skin, may be more sensitive to the sun and more prone to irritation.

The ultimate operating instructions: No matter if you have oily, dry, or regular skin or a large breakout, there is something that will keep you looking your best. It’s guaranteed to make you more attractive and help you influence others. You can simply smile and exercise your facial expression muscles.

Wash Your Face

Is this rocket science? Perhaps not. As a dermatologist, there are a few reasons why I am offering a tutorial on how to wash your face. Many people make mistakes. Don’t worry, I’m here for you. If you’re like most people, my face-washing routine will simplify your mornings, evenings, and even save you money. Society is all about soap these days.

The cleaner, the better! We are taught to scrub our skin with lots of soap and water as children. Teenagers use more soap to combat oily skin and acne. Even though our skin is different, adults tend to use the same soaps and routines as teens.

There are so many soap options available: super-fatted, deodorant and rejuvenating, oatmeal, avocado, sandalwood, wintergreens, peppermint, patchouli, vitamin E, and more. There are many cleansers available. Some clean as they exfoliate, while medicated ones contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in different concentrations.

These products can cause irritation if you use them too often. These products will dry out your skin and cause irritation, especially if you are already using a topical antibacterial medication. Your acne can be improved by not washing your skin with soaps too often, such as regular soaps, antibacterial soaps, and soaps with abrasives.

If you have acne, your skin might be reddened and inflamed. Frequent washing will only make it worse. No matter what skin type you have, washing your face twice daily with mild soap is the best way to go.

I recommend these soaps and cleansers depending on your skin type. These tried-and-true suggestions may not be as appealing as Provencal honey-lavender and grape seed soaps, but they work.

Oily skin: Dove soap. Skin that is sensitive or reacts to soaps: Use a non-soap cleanser like Aquanil, Cetaphil, or Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser.

Use lukewarm water to get the soap wet. Use your fingertips or a soft cloth to apply the soap to your skin. Rub it in a circular motion. Please do not use loofah sponges or brushes.

Dry Skin

You may experience xerosis, which is a dry skin condition that is more severe when it is cold or the humidity is low. This is most common in northern climates during the winter months. Our modern Western lifestyles emphasize overbathing, which only makes the dryness worse.

We also often live in and work in extremely hot environments. Use mild soaps and soap substitutes to keep your skin moist. Consider moving to a warmer climate, such as the rain forest. If you are already using mild soap and assume that a move to Amazon is not possible for you, moisturize your skin regularly.

It may take some trial and error to find the right moisturizer. You should look for moisturizers that are non-comedogenic. Oil of Olay is my favorite, but there are many great products out there. If you feel you are in need of sunscreen, you can use a moisturizer with sunscreen.

To hydrate your skin, you can also use room humidifiers. You may have dry skin or acne. These symptoms can be made more bearable by using moisturizers instead of your topical acne medication. You can use makeup over moisturizers.

You shouldn’t rely on these “remedies” to treat dry skin. Treat your dry and acne-prone skin with gentler methods and TLC. Your skin doesn’t need to become flaky or scaly to avoid wrinkles. Although some of the topical remedies can make your skin dry and scaly, others can prevent wrinkles.

How To Deal With Oily Skin

Your skin may be producing too much sebum, which can lead to excessive oiliness. If you have acne, this is often the case. Here are some tips to care for oily skin.

  • You’ll be happy to save some money on moisturizers.
  • You will feel happier as your skin will look younger and more youthful.
  • You will be happier as your skin will become less sensitive.

You may want to know more, so here are some tips:

  • Don’t over-irritate your skin, even if it’s oily. It should only be necessary to wash your face two times per day. Although you may have been advised to wash your face 77 times per day with strong soap, this will only irritate and make your skin redder. If you have acne, all that scrubbing can only make it worse.
  • You can wipe off oily areas of your face with mild alcohol-and-water astringents such as Neutrogena Clear Pore Oil-Controlling Astringent, Noxzema Triple Clean Astringent, or Clean & Clear Advanced Acne Pads.
portrait young woman being confident with her acne

Acne Condition Overview And Treatment Options

acne condition overview and treatment options
While it’s best to talk to your doctor about food and skincare, our experts say salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and topical retinoids are the best ingredients for treating acne.

Benjamin Franklin stated, “In the world, nothing can possibly be certain except death and taxes.” I’d add another certainty: acne.

Acne is a common, almost universal experience that most people go through in their teens. It is also something many people will revisit as they get older.

This article will show you that you are not the only one who wants clear skin. You’ll discover that acne can be treated, and many treatment options can be tailored to your specific type of acne.

Acne Explained

Acne is the most prevalent skin condition in the world. Acne can cause blemishes and other skin conditions such as papules or pustules. Acne affects between 45 and 55 million people in the United States and Canada at any given time, with the majority of them being teenagers.

At least 80% of young people will have at least one acne breakout. Young men and women both suffer from acne, although young men are more likely to experience severe cases. Acne is caused by events in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

Although the exact cause of acne is not known, it is caused by clogged hair and sebaceous glands. These glands attach to hair follicles. They produce sebum, an oily substance. Add some dead skin cells, which can block pores and become “sticky,” and you’ll have a recipe for a breakout.

This article will give you a complete story about your skin. This article provides a detailed explanation of the formation of pimples. Both these events and acne are thought to be caused by several factors.

For example, hormones can increase oil production and heredity. This is because acne can often be passed on by parents or other relatives. Sometimes, acne can be caused by reactions to drugs or chemicals.

Other factors could also contribute to the problem. This article will address all these issues, as well as the myths and misinformation surrounding acne.

I will also review several hormonal disorders that can cause acne. However, I will be putting one myth to rest right now. Pizza, French fries, and other greasy foods don’t cause or worsen acne. You are welcome.

Waking Up With Whiteheads, Blackheads, And Zits

Most cases of acne begin between ages 10 and 13. It usually lasts 5–10 years. Teenage acne, the term I use here to describe it, is mostly due to your body’s increased hormone production. The good news? Those embarrassing blemishes often disappear and can be gone for good by your 20s.

The bad news is that acne vulgaris can sometimes persist into some people’s late 20s, 30s, or beyond. The good news is that there are many things you can do to get rid of acne and improve the appearance of your skin.

Acne Later In Life

While acne is often thought to be a condition of youth and a sign of aging, a growing number of adults are developing acne. Acne is not a condition that affects teenagers. Acne has been on the rise among adult women in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. There are some differences between adult-onset and teenage acne.

One, adults have fewer blackheads than whiteheads. Two, adult acne is more common on the lower half of a woman’s face. The appearance of adult-onset female acne can be closely linked to a woman’s hormonal cycle, increased sensitivity to hormones, pregnancy, stopping or starting birth control pills, or other hormonal abnormalities.

If you are really unfortunate, you may have adult-onset and possibly some of your teenage acne. This article will cover all aspects of adult acne in women.

Create Your Own Acne Treating Program

You’re lucky to have acne in 21st-century America. Why? There are so many ways to deal with it, and many more to follow. There are no quick fixes for acne.

Treatment is designed to help manage your acne, control it, reduce scarring, and make you look your best. Although acne will heal over time, the right treatment can improve your skin’s appearance.

There was little that anyone could do for acne treatment until the last few decades. We’ve come a long way from the “dark age” of arsenic, puppy blood, and other methods. The future is brighter because we now have many excellent ways to treat acne. There are many options for treating acne.

Should You Treat  Acne Yourself?

You may find the OTC a DIY route. What I have described in this article is the best option for you if you are just beginning to experience breakouts or have mild acne with just a few small blemishes. Take a look in the mirror.

You can likely find ways to cure them yourself if you notice a few whiteheads and blackheads. There are many products available at your local pharmacy and cosmetic counters for acne. If you are a teenager with acne, there are many ways to improve your skin’s appearance without the need for a prescription.

You can also find products that are geared towards adult women on the shelves. You can also use some of the skin-care tips and other ideas I offer throughout the book. These include the face-washing tips I give in this article, tips for healthy skin, and the list of things that you shouldn’t do to your skin.

While going to the doctor will cost more than buying cream from your local drugstore, you’ll probably save money and get better results by visiting a doctor.

Rely On The Experts

Acne can be very serious for some people. More than 40% of teens have severe acne by their twenties. Adult women with severe acne problems need to see a doctor. No matter your age, it is important to have your skin evaluated by a qualified acne specialist if you don’t see results with home remedies, diets, herbal medication, facials, soaps, OTC acne treatments, or any other non-prescription OTC treatments.

OTC products are not suitable for your skin. Your acne is severe and affects your chest and back. Your acne is already scarred or beginning to scar. Your acne is getting worse. Females with irregular periods or facial hair may have more severe acne. You are not a “do it yourself” person and want professionals to manage your acne.

Your skin is darker than normal, so you may see patches of darkened skin after your acne scars have cleared. This article will discuss treatment options for people with darker skin. The latest innovations in dermatologic surgery use lasers, chemical peels, and lights to improve the appearance of your skin.

Removing the emotional scars from acne: Although it has not been widely recognized, many studies have shown its devastating psychological effects. There is now a greater focus on healing and preventing acne’s inner scars.

Avoiding Fake Cures

You may be desperate to get rid of your acne because it is visible on your face. Although it isn’t life-threatening, it can be difficult or embarrassing to tell your healthcare provider. Some people will benefit from this knowledge.

may be sold expensive, over-the-counter “cures” for acne that won’t work, or you might be tempted to buy them after reading testimonial-filled infomercials. Most of the people who give those “testimonials for acne” are professional actors reading a script.

those stories that seem “real” are often empty. You can find one or two success stories while ignoring the other 99.9%. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true, even if it appears on television, radio, or in magazines.

There are many false promises and snake oil in the world of acne-fighting. There are false and fake promises about acne-fighting.

You can also visit, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to combat health-related fraud and myths. Its main focus is on information related to quackery.

Recognizing Impostors

Many skin conditions can look like acne. But it’s not. Rosacea and keratosis pilaris look very similar to acne.

Another acne-like condition, pseudofolliculitis barbae, also known as razor bumps, is also closely related.

These conditions can sometimes fool doctors into believing they are actually acne.


  • The Basics Of Acne. (2021, May 17). WebMD.
  • Skin Conditions By the Numbers. (n.d.). Skin conditions by the numbers.
  • @. (n.d.). Acne: Treatment, Types, Causes & Prevention. Cleveland Clinic.