I’ve been having all sorts of acne drama lately, I used to be one of the lucky teenagers when It came to escaping social death by acne, but as I ease into my twenties, those little demons finally realized that they are yet to pay me a little visit! I guess the only “bright side” about this is that I am currently under quarantine. 😐
Nevertheless, I started doing research about acne and other related topics and I made some really interesting discoveries, through that, I was able to minimize drastically the number of acne spread across my face.
In today’s post, I will be exploring 3 very common types of acne, and how to go about laying death to them with minimal battle scars!
Some personal note: whether the information shared here today will be of any use to you depends on the degree of severity of acne you currently have, especially when comes it comes to using OTC products or the classic DIY approach. You may need to see a dermatologist.
3 most common types of acne
Having acne is no fun, regardless of what kind of acne it is. But knowing what type of pimples you are dealing with is one of the first steps you can take in addressing the problem and working with your dermatologist to figure out how best to treat it. You can start by reading over the three most common kinds of acne and see if what you are dealing with fits into any of these categories.
Although there are numerous types of acne out there, these are the three most common type of acne afflicting the average person
- Hormonal acne
- Whitehead or blackhead
This type of acne is fairly easy to recognize as it usually follows a distinctive pattern that corresponds with your hormonal cycles. In females, it often gets worse right before or after your monthly period, when your hormones are fluctuating. It may also flare up right around the time that you ovulate each month. Hormonal acne is also common in males, and may occur at any age. This type of acne is often found around the mouth area, including the chin, jaw and lower cheeks.
Nevertheless, your monthly cycles aren’t the only things capable of influencing your hormonal balance. The kind of foods you chose to consume, the level of toxic chemicals present in our everyday products, as well as your general stress level, play a major role.
Not too long ago, the facial mapping system became popular as a means of deciphering what acne in certain areas of the face meant as a way of predicting the state of various aspects of our body. The philosophy behind this is that every part of our body is connected and the state of one area could directly influence the state of another.
When bacterial infections clog a pore of your skin, this reaction can trigger cystic acne, which often feels like it is deeply rooted far beneath the surface of your skin. Cystic acne may take longer to develop and longer to go away once a pimple has risen to the surface and created a head. This type of acne is often linked to oily skin.
Cystic acne is the most serious type of acne. It develops when cysts form deep underneath your skin. This can result from a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells that get trapped in your pores.
Although anyone can develop acne, cystic acne tends to occur in people with oily skin. It’s also more common in teens, women, and older adults with hormonal imbalances.
Usually, cystic acne can improve with age. However, the stubborn and painful bumps won’t go away on their own. If you suspect you have cystic acne, your dermatologist is your best line of defense. They can prescribe the medication necessary to help clear your skin.
Whiteheads or blackheads
These two types of acne are very common and may occur anywhere on the face or body. Both types are the result of oil clogging up pores, which results in bacterial infections and then creates pimples, pustules or nodules. While whiteheads are the product of white blood cells rising to the surface to combat infection, blackheads may be due to oxygen rising to the surface of the skin.
There are some common misconceptions about whiteheads. Understanding what can and can’t cause acne is important for getting rid of whiteheads. The following factors have little to no effect on acne:
- Excessive washing and scrubbing doesn’t prevent whiteheads.
- Dirt doesn’t cause acne.
- Washing your face too hard can irritate the skin and worsen existing acne.
- Greasy foods don’t cause acne.
How to treat
Different acne types require a treatment approach especially when the end goal is to not only cure and stop further recurrence, but to also prevent scaring.
Hormonal acne treatment
Skincare products can be used to treat mild to moderate cases of hormonal acne. Some natural ingredients that you should consider having in the products you buy should include
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil works by decreasing inflammation that can contribute to acne. One study found that 5 percent of topical tea tree oil relieved symptoms in participants with mild to moderate acne.
Tea tree oil is available in many of skin care products, such as cleansers and toners. You can also use tea tree essential oil as a spot treatment.
You should always dilute tea tree essential oil with a carrier oil before use. Popular carrier oils include coconut, jojoba, and olive. The general rule is to add about 12 drops of carrier oil to every one to two drops of essential oil.
It’s also important to do a skin patch test before using diluted tea tree essential oil. To do this, apply the diluted oil to the inside of your forearm. If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation within 24 hours, it should be safe to apply elsewhere.
Alpha hydroxy acid
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are plant acids derived mostly from citrus fruits. AHAs can help remove excess dead skin cells clogging pores. As a bonus, AHAs can help minimize the appearance of acne scars.
AHA can be found in many OTC masks and creams. As with retinoids, AHAs can increase your skin’s sun sensitivity. You should always wear sunscreen when using products with AHA.
Green tea is known for decreasing inflammation in the body. For a more holistic approach, consider drinking a few cups per day besides practicing your topical skin care regimen. Lotions and gels containing at least 2 percent green tea extract may be beneficial.
Hormonal acne dietary tips
As your skin is a direct reflection of the state of your internal being, Research has shown that changing certain dietary habits can significantly reduce acne symptoms.
The following are the most evidence-based ways to control acne through your diet.
- Watch the amount of sugar in your diet, this transcends added sugar, therefore this includes high glycemic index foods, these include white bread, ice cream, pasta, etc.
- try cutting out dairy and whey protein
- Eat mostly whole and nutrient-dense foods. One rule of thumb is to ” eat the rainbow”.
Treatment for cystic acne
- Whatever you do, do not try to pop it, not only because it is impossible, but because you’d only end up making the matter worse!
- when you first notice the presence of cystic acne, try to apply an ice pack to it as it helps constrict the small blood vessels feeding the cyst, thereby drastically reducing the size and redness of it.
- The best way to treat acne is to use different ingredients that work differently and complement each other, That’s why I typically advise people to use both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
- To maximize the efficacy of both of these active ingredients in your skin-care routine, a salicylic acid cleanser, followed by an oil-free moisturizer, topped off with a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment should be ideal.
- Applying an over-the-counter, 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, which contains a low dose of topical steroids, can help reduce redness and calm inflammation.
- When your cystic acne persists despite your very best efforts, try using makeup with a slight green tint to help mask redness and blend your pimple into your natural skin tone.
Whitehead or blackhead acne treatment
A person affected by whiteheads can try boiling some water, putting it in a bowl, and then holding the affected area of their body over the bowl.
In the case of the head and neck area, they can create a steam tent by putting a towel over their head, to concentrate the steam onto their upper body. Some people find using apple cider vinegar useful, but I do not recommend it, rather you can try applying other natural ingredients listed below either in its concentrated form or contained in other skincare products.
- Witch hazel
- salicylic acid
- alpha hydroxy acid
- Tea tree oil
- A mild retinoid cream
Tips for preventing and treating whiteheads include:
- trying not to touch the area
- avoiding cosmetic, laundry, and cleaning products with irritants, such as fragrances or dyes
- using only non-comedogenic (not pore-clogging), oil-free cosmetics and skin products
- not squeezing, picking, or trying to pop whiteheads
- avoiding places with high air pollution or increasing skin hygiene if exposed to heavy air pollution
- washing skin thoroughly when in humid areas
- avoiding tight-fitting clothes, uniforms, or sports equipment
- trying not to scrub or aggressively cleanse the skin
- avoiding sunburn
- washing the face before bed and remove any makeup
- avoiding the use of hair products on the skin
- showering or bathing regularly
- keeping long hair pulled back from the skin
- Not obsessing over it
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