Acne 101

If you are wondering whether the red, pus-filled bumps on your skin are acne (and how to get rid of them) you need to read this guide. Simple and straightforward, it will help you understand acne and provide actionable steps to clear your skin. The best part? Reccomendations for products and where to find them. Let’s dive in.

What is Acne?

The Mayo Clinic defines acne as “a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples.” Acne is more than just a skin condition, however; it can contribute to depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Acne ranges in severity and there is no simple cure.

1. Where Does Acne Occur?

Acne commonly occurs on the face, neck, chest, and back.

2. How Does it Manifest?

Acne usually takes the form of:

  • Whiteheads: closed clogged pores
  • Blackheads: open clogged pores
  • Pimples: papules with pus at the tip
  • Nodules: large, solid lumps under the skin
  • Cystic lesions: painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin

Acne is a degenerative condition, which means it can get progressively worse if left untreated.

3. Treatment Options

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments fall into two categories: bacteria killers and chemical exfoliators. Bacteria killers include salicylic acid and benzol peroxide. I highly recommend Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength Acne Kit, which combines the two to pack a powerful punch. If you are looking for a more affordable option, Nixa Skincare offers a 10% benzol peroxide wash that helps unclog pores and heal active acne.

If you are looking for a more natural product, give manuka oil and tea tree oil a try. Manuka oil is extremely antibacterial and great for severe or stubborn acne. For milder acne, tea tree oil does the trick.

Chemical exfoliators do a different job. Instead of killing bacteria, these products kill dead skin, which helps keep pores clean. Retinol is a chemical exfolitor commonly used to treat acne. Retinol can be drying, and it is best used with a moisturizing cream, like this one from Simplified Skin.

Internal Treatments

Internal treatments can range from prescription antibioitics to over-the-counter supplements. Antibiotics that treat acne include minocycline, doxycycline, and bactrim. You have to go to a doctor for those, but there are lots of over-the-counter supplements that can improve acne dramatically. For instance, Vitamin A, C, and E help strengthen skin and heal acne and oregano oil supplements kill bacteria inside your body when taken internally.

That’s it! I hope this was helpful.

~Taylor

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