Acne is a skin disease that affects almost 80% of Indians between the age of 13 (onset of puberty) and 30. That is equal to millions of people, and you might be one of them .
Acne can bite on your self-esteem & confidence. It causes physical as well as psychological discomfort. Acne is a skin disease, but it can feel like a curse to you. We understand, so we’re going to tell you exactly what acne is, its types, what you can do to treat it, and SkinQ’s expert opinion on acne.
Acne and its types
There’s a myth that acne is another name for pimples. Acne and pimples are not the same things. Pimples are a form of acne. ‘Acne’ as a whole refers to pimples and other pore-related skin issues such as blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
Acne starts to form when a combination of excessive oil, dead skin cells, sebum, pollutants, or dust particles gets caught in your pore. This causes the pore to get clogged or blocked. That’s how acne begins.
Acne can show up anywhere over your face, shoulders, back, and chest.
Not all forms of acne are the same. There are, in general, two types of acne — Non Inflammatory and Inflammatory.
Acne that does not hurt: Non-inflammatory Acne
Non-inflammatory acne is when your pores get clogged with dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria. This type of acne does not cause pain because there is no infection or inflammation.
Non-inflammatory acne has two types — Blackheads and Whiteheads.
Blackheads are clogged comedones. These are pores clogged by sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Blackheads are slightly open pores, so oxygen enters this pore and causes oxidation, which gives the blackhead its characteristic black color. Blackheads are a menace, as they look like dirty skin which nobody wants.
Whiteheads are also clogged comedones. These are also clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, but this time, the pore is closed. Oxidation cannot happen as the pore is closed, so it turns into a small bump on the skin, which is what we call a whitehead!
The bad kind of acne: Inflammatory Acne
When a clogged pore gets infected, it can become inflamed too. Once it becomes too infected, the pore cannot hold everything in so the infection spreads outside the pore. That’s how a pimple-like bump is born, and inflammatory acne starts.
There are 4 kinds of inflammatory acne — Papules, Pustules, Nodules, and Cysts.
Papules are raised red or white-colored bumps which are less than 1 centimeter in width. These bumps are not pus-filled, but are infected with a specific kind of bacteria, called Propionibacterium acnes. As the bacteria multiply, the papule grows in size. If irritated, this papule can grow into a pustule.
Pustules are the next form of papules. When a papule gets irritated and infected, it grows in size. As the bacterial infection grows, the body sends white blood cells to fight off the infection, and those WBCs turn into pus. A pustule is now formed. Pustules appear red and inflamed and are tender to touch.
When a pore gets blocked, gunk starts to build up inside the pore. When the gunk builds up to such an extent that it penetrates deeper layers of your skin, a nodule is formed. The area around the nodule can get inflamed and turn red. Nodules are painful to touch.
When a nodule becomes so infected that the body needs to send white blood cells to fight off the infection, pus builds up. The nodule then turns into a cyst. Cysts are the worst kind of acne because they are huge in size, hurt like hell, and can give you the worst form of acne scarring.
Nodules and Cysts are severe forms of inflammatory acne. They can leave behind ugly acne scars. If you have a severe form of acne, please don’t try to treat yourself. It is best to give your dermatologist at least one visit.
How to treat acne?
Acne can be treated with the right products and correct skin care practices. Different types of acne call for different kinds of treatments. Let’s dive into it!
To treat non-inflammatory acne, i.e blackheads, and whiteheads, use peel-off masks and exfoliators. Peel-off masks work for blackheads, as the mask extracts the gunk caught in your pores and effectively ‘peels’ the blackhead away when you remove the mask. Exfoliators with ingredients such as glycolic acid and azelaic acid can be used to treat whiteheads.
To treat papules and pustules, which are also called pimples, use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid removes the dead layers of your skin and also prevents clogging of pores. Benzoyl Peroxide kills the bacteria that causes acne.
You’ll also need to kill the itch to scratch your face because scratching can spread bacteria all over the face. And don’t pop pimples, as that’ll also cause the infection to spread all over the face. Just leave the pimples alone. They’ll disappear if you follow the correct face cleansing regime.
Nodules and cysts, which are severe forms of inflammatory acne, cannot be treated at home. These are blocked pores, so you cannot use general OTC products. You’ll need a treatment that works on deep levels of your skin. So please visit a dermatologist for treatment of nodules and cysts. Don’t try to treat severe acne on your own. You may end up with permanent acne scars!
Treatments works, but who wants acne in the first place?
Can you prevent acne? Yes, you can. A good cycle to follow is clean, exfoliate, moisturize, hydrate, repeat. Every part of your skincare routine is as important as the other. Preventing acne means you need to follow your skincare routine religiously. But first, you need to create a personalized cleansing routine.
Did you know there are 5 types of skin? That’s true. There are products available for each type of skin, so you want to use skin-specific products if you want to prevent severe forms of acne.
What do dermatologists say?
Experts say that acne is a major skin issue many Indians have. Extremely hot summers and dry winters add more possibility of breakouts and zits. And if you live in a metropolitan city, you have the added problem of air pollution, dust, and an improper fast-food-based diet.
If you want smooth and supple skin and don’t want to be worried about all those external factors hunting your beauty, you need to deep cleanse. Deep cleansing cleans the skin, removes the gunk caught in your pores, and prevents further acne. Using products with active ingredients like salicylic acid, azelaic acid, and benzoyl peroxide will help with deep cleansing.
It is about time to start using dermatologist-formulated products. Start deep cleaning your skin once a month with SkinQ’s Acne Control Mask
today. It is specially formulated for Indian Skin and contains actives such as Salicylic Acid, Niacinamide, Colloidal Sulfur, Zinc PCA, etc. It helps heal acne and even prevents future breakouts.
So, don’t wait for the next breakout. Take action to prevent it, today!