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Acne & Pimples


A skin disease in which the oil producing glands become clogged and infected, leading to formation of pimples, especially on the face. It is commonest during adolescence and can occur even during adulthood.

This is often caused by the action of hormones on the oil glands. The glands become

overactive and pimples develop, often accompanied by inflammation. If an oil gland is

 blocked by sebum(oily secretion) below skin then it appears as a white head.

 If the external opening of the duct is on the skin, it will appear as a blackhead.

The oil, or sebum, produced from the sebaceous glands is not harmful to the skin. It is the overproduction of this oil or sebum that fuels acne. The excess oil combines with dirt, debris, dead skin cells, and even pollutants that are present in the air. This mixture then clogs pores, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. This is what causes acne outbreaks.

Types of Acne

Mild Acne

The most common type of acne. Characterized by:

Whiteheads - Occur when a pore gets completely blocked. Oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped inside. This causes a white acne pimple on the surface.

Blackheads - Occur when a pore is only partially blocked. Oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells still get trapped, but some seep to the surface, reacting with oxygen and turning blackish in color. Contrary to popular belief, the color has nothing to do with dirt being trapped inside.

Moderate Acne

The most common type of acne. Characterized by:

Papules - Tiny, sensitive, tender, and inflamed bumps on the skin. Can cause scarring if you attempt to pop or pick these.

Pustules - Similar to a whitehead, pustules are pus-laden, and inflamed. Looks like a red circle with a white or yellow dot in the middle.

Severe Acne

Scarring is more common and severe with this acne type. Severe acne is characterized by:

Nodules - This severe type of acne consists of large, hard boils deep under the skin. These boils are much larger than the lesions you typically see in mild forms of acne, and can be painful.

Cysts - Known as cystic acne, looks like a nodule. The cysts are filled with pus. Cystic acne is known for causing scarring.

Hormonal acne

Acne whose onset is mainly caused by hormones goes by the specific name of hormonal acne. Hormonal acne may not respond to traditional acne medications and treatments. Topical retinoids and systemic or topical antibiotics may not have any effect or limited effect on the acne.

There are several signs that can be used to tell if acne is hormonal acne:

  • Getting acne mainly as an adult. If a person did not have acne or very little acne as a teen, and then gets a huge acne breakout later in adulthood.
  • Acne breakouts or flare-ups before the menstrual cycle.
  • Unresponsive treatment from normal acne medications.
  • Worsening of the acne during pregnancy or menstruation.
  • Irregular menstruations.
  • Increase in oil on the face
  • Excessive hair growth or hair growth in unusual places. This is known as hirsutism.
  • Acne flares up again after it was cured over 6 months before.
  • Darkening of the skin around the armpits and body fold.
  • An increased level of androgens in the blood.


Acne Do's:

  • Do exercise regularly.
  • Do be aware of the side effects the medications you are taking may have.
  • Do gently wash your face 2-3 times a day with a mild cleanser.
  • Do use only water-based moisturizers to keep the skin soft, smooth and hydrated.
  • Do keep hair off your face.
  • Do change your pillowcases and towels frequently.
  • Do use sunscreen. Use a full spectrum UVA/UVB. This prevents hyper-pigmentation and preserves skin elasticity.
  • Do keep your fingers and hands away from your face – they are carrying bacteria.
  • Do eat plenty of fiber rich foods.
  • Do shampoo your hair often.
  • Do stay patient ! You are not going to get rid of acne overnight.

Acne Don'ts:

  • Don't squeeze .
  • Don't smoke. There are many reasons to stop smoking, and here is another one to add to the list.
  • Don't drink alcohol.
  • Don’t eat foods with processed fat.
  • Don’t fight acne alone.
  • Don't use toothpaste as an acne treatment.
  • Don't go for a facial more often than every 6 weeks.
  • Do eat plenty of fiber rich foods.
  • Don't scrub hard when washing.
  • Don't take drugs that were not prescribed for you by your doctor – especially steroids.
  • Don't use too much make-up.
  • Don't use oil-based creams, ointments and cosmetics.
  • Don't scratch or rub an acne infected area – no matter how much it itches.



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