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  /  Acne   /  What is Acne?
What is Acne

If you’re anything like me, you’ve struggled with acne at some point in your life. Maybe it was a mild case, or maybe it was something more severe. Either way, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with. So, what exactly is acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It can range from mild to severe and typically affects the face, neck, chest, and back. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects up to 50 million Americans annually.

Severe acne can be heartbreaking, causing social discomfort, isolation, self-consciousness, embarrassment, and even permanent scarring.

Be it teen acne or acne of the more pernicious adult variety, it’s all the same and it’s not fun. If you’re wondering what causes acne and how to prevent it, keep reading! I’ll provide you with some tips and tricks to help keep your skin looking its best.

what is acne
The Stages of Acne

What Causes Acne?

Now that we know what acne is, let’s talk about what causes it. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of acne, including hormones, genetics, certain medications, and diet. Hormones play a big role in the development of acne, as they can cause the oil glands in the skin to produce more oil than usual. Genetics also play a role, as some people share skin types that make them more prone to developing acne than others. More and more talk about diet and how it can also contribute to acne.  Additionally, certain medications can cause acne as a side effect.

While we can’t change our genetics, there are steps we can take to help prevent acne. The most basic steps are: Cleansing, Moisturizing, and Protecting.  One of the most important things you can do is to keep your skin clean. This means washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and avoiding harsh scrubs or abrasive products that can irritate the skin. Moisturizing your skin is also important.  If you are oily opt for a gel base but don’t skip this, even oily skin needs to be moisturized. Now repeat with me, SPF, SPF, SPF, yes this is also very important, protect your skin daily and reapply when in direct sunlight.  You will thank me later. Find one that you like, you have to like it so you can wear it and opt for an acne-safe one.  Additionally, using non-comedogenic makeup and skin care products can help to prevent clogged pores and breakouts.

How Does Acne Begin?

Acne begins as a blockage of hair follicles and oil glands on the skin surface. The tiny hair follicles and oil glands, called sebaceous glands, secrete sebum which waterproofs and lubricates the skin and hair. When combined with an abnormal amount of dead skin cells in your pores, it creates a blockage.  This is the beginning of a comedo.  The occurrence of acne is most commonly seen on the face, back, neck, chest, and shoulders. Acne is caused by the presence of oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells in the pores, which creates inflammation on the skin surface leading to pimples, zits, or whiteheads. Acne vulgaris is the medical term used to describe common acne, which can be papules, pustules, blackheads, or whiteheads.

Types of Acne: Healthy skin, Whiteheads and Blackheads, Papules, and Pustules

The presence of blackheads on the skin’s surface is due to the dark-tipped plug that forms when the hair follicle is exposed to the air. This occurrence of oxidization happens when the oil and dead skin cells clog the hair follicles. These blackheads are sometimes mistaken for sebaceous filaments. Whiteheads, also known as closed comedos, are non-inflamed lesions with a white center. The term comedo refers to dilated hair follicles that are plugged with keratin and sebum. Cysts and nodules are painful acne lesions that are deep under the skin’s surface and consist of infected pores that can lead to scarring. P. acnes is a type of acne-causing bacteria that thrives in blocked pores with excess sebum and dead skin cells. Papules are small, firm bumps on the skin’s surface that are typically red. Pustules, on the other hand, are inflamed lesions that look like a whitehead surrounded by irritated skin. Rosacea is a condition that is not technically acne but can be characterized by red pimple-like bumps on the skin and at times can be mistaken for acne.

How Can You Treat Acne?

If you’re currently dealing with acne, you’re probably wondering how to treat it. The good news is that there are a variety of treatments available, depending on the severity of your acne.

My best advice is to start with the basics as mentioned before and if you have already tried that.  See an esthetician.  We are here to help and some like myself do specialize in acne.  Do not try to follow others’ routines: every one is very different.

 In severe cases, we will continue to help and treat you, however, we may refer you out to a local dermatologist if we feel you may need a different course of treatment.

Additionally, there are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and treat acne. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and reducing stress can all help to keep your skin looking its best. And, of course, it’s important to avoid picking at your skin or popping pimples, as this can cause scarring and further breakouts.

Additional Causes of Acne Breakouts

Different people have different triggers that cause the body to create acne. Hormonal imbalances, including monthly hormonal changes that affect women, as well as pregnancy and menopause.

If you are experiencing skin problems it may be a good idea to avoid dairy products which can interfere with healthy hormone levels, creating inflammation in the skin.

There is a huge connection between our gut microbiome and the health of our skin. When our gut bacterial flora becomes disrupted (a syndrome known as dysbiosis), it can seriously impact the immune system.

Food sensitivities, stress, and changes in diet… all can result in skin inflammation and breakouts.

Other culprits that potentially contribute to acne are certain medications or the use of cosmetics, lotion, or hair care products that contain pore-clogging ingredients.

When Should You Seek Professional Help for Acne?

There is no right or wrong answer here.  I always say, if you are concerned enough to be researching this, then it’s time to seek a licensed esthetician.  It can be minor or maybe a little worse, it doesn’t matter.  Find someone that listens to you and can help you through it.

While many cases of acne can be effectively treated with minimal skincare, there are some cases where it’s important to see a professional skin care specialist to help you create a healthy plan for skin care and in- office treatments.

In an industry flooded with a lot of information, you may find some comfort with someone that takes the time to get to know you, your skin, and your lifestyle and customizes a regimen just for you.  That is always better than trying to figure it all out by yourself.

While there’s no surefire way to prevent acne from occurring, there are steps you can take to help keep your skin looking its best. By keeping your skin clean, using non-comedogenic products, and seeking treatment when necessary, you can keep acne at bay and enjoy clear, healthy skin.

Everyone’s skin is different and what works for one person might not work for another. My recommendation for you is to be gentle with your skin, avoid harsh products that could damage it further, and don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert who can help you create a personalized skincare routine that’s tailored to your skin type and needs. Don’t be discouraged! Acne is a common skin condition and it may seem inescapable but with the right approach, you can heal your skin and body and improve your appearance, boosting your self-confidence in the process.

Contact Us

If you are at your wit’s end fighting acne and need help, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an expert consultation.

At Pure Skin Studio Makeup & Skincare Studio, we customize all treatment plans. Our acne program is completely individualized, and tailored to the needs of the unique individual.  As your Acne Specialist, we will help you toward the ultimate goal of “healthy clear skin!” Results are not only physical, but we also seek to build your emotional self-esteem and reduce the stress most acne clients face. 

Not local? No problem. We offer virtual consultations and can provide you with amazing skincare products to help you through your healthy skin journey.

At our studio, we will provide you with guidance and support. My goal is for you to never feel alone. I truly understand what you feel and what you are going through. I’ve lived it and it is one of the reasons I got into this field. I am very grateful that I get to help others and build amazing relationships on a daily basis.