Very few of us are fortunate enough to completely avoid a skin flare-up or two, and many people spend years trying to get rid of stubborn acne. What you may not realize is that there are three distinctive types of acne; they all have different characteristics, and they all require different treatment in order to successfully clear up your skin. Here we discuss the cause of acne, the three classes of blemishes, and the most appropriate treatments for each.
The Cause of Acne
The pores in your skin contain oil glands which produce a substance called sebum; this oil is necessary for keeping your skin lubricated and preventing it from drying out. However, when the oil glands work overtime, they can block the pores, trapping dead skin cells inside and attracting bacteria which cause inflammation.
Oil overproduction is common during times when your hormone levels are fluctuating, particularly during the teenage years, and for women, during menstruation.
Types of Acne
Blackheads and Whiteheads: These are the mildest acne blemishes, affecting only the outer surface of the skin. Blackheads appear as tiny dark spots on the nose, chin, and cheeks; whiteheads can show up anywhere on the face and are characterized by their whitish appearance.
To care for blackheads and whiteheads, wash your face twice daily with a mild, all-natural cleanser. A natural exfoliating scrub can help to remove the blemishes; avoid scrubbing too hard, or you may irritate the skin and make the acne problem worse.
Pimples: Pimples can occur singly or in clusters; they appear as reddened, raised bumps that are filled with a pus-like fluid. Do not squeeze or pop your pimples, because doing so can damage your follicles and cause scarring.
To treat pimples and reduce their frequency, clean your face twice daily and apply an over-the-counter acne cream such as benzoyl peroxide.
Cystic Acne: These blemishes reach far down into the underlying layers of skin cells and can be quite painful to the touch. They appear as large, raised bumps above the surface of the skin and can be extremely difficult to treat on your own.
For cystic acne that does not respond to treatment with over-the-counter medications, the care of a dermatologist may be required.
Where to Find Help
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