Acne

Everything You Need to Know about ACNE

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Everything You Need to Know about ACNE

Original Author: Fira Syafiqah
instagram.com/firasyafiqah

What is ACNE?

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells and it can be divided into two: inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. While acne is typically related with teenagers, what dermatologists are finding is that it is becoming increasingly common in women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s.

Certain things may trigger or worsen acne:

  • Hormonal changes. Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum than usual. 
  • Diet. Researches show that consuming certain foods — including carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread, bagels and chips — may worsen acne. 
  • Stress. Stress doesn’t cause acne, but if you have acne on your face already, stress may make it worse then now, so know how to control your stress level.

Causes and Types of Acne

Image source: https://www.reddit.com/r/coolguides/comments/ca24zr/different_types_of_acne_and_how_to_treat_them/
TypeDescriptionTreatment
Whitehead (Non-Inflammatory)Dead skin cells and sebum clogging the pore
  • Retinoid
  • BHA
  • AHA
Blackhead (Non-Inflammatory)Dead skin cells and sebum that block the pore oxidizing
  • Retinoid
  • BHA
  • AHA
Pustule (Inflammatory)Inflamed spot with a small amount of pus. Pore walls break down and start to be filled with pus. 
  • Seek for dermatologist treatment
  • Antibiotics
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
Papule (Inflammatory) A swollen small spot but with no pus inside. Pore walls are inflamed and start to break down.
  • Retinoid
  • BHA
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
Nodule/Cyst (Inflammatory)Inflamed large spot with or without yellow or white head. Can be painful. Seek for dermatologist treatment 

Mechanism of Inflammatory Acne

Since inflammatory acne is a total nightmare to most of us, understanding the mechanism of how the acne fighting ingredients help to fight your acne is really important. Basically, there are 4 mechanisms in which these acne treatments target to combat your acne.

REMOVE DEAD SKIN CELLS

As acne can be also caused by dead skin cells clogging the pores, using ingredients that can help to deep cleanse your pores is very essential to make sure your pores are not clogged and will look less visible than before! Find these ingredients:

  • Retinoid 
  • AHA/BHA
  • Physical scrub (no microbead)
  • Sulfur

CONTROL SEBUM PRODUCTION

Along with dead skin cells, excess sebum production can clog your pores and makes your skin oilier, leading you to have an oily skin. If you don’t favor too much sebum on your skin, start searching for these ingredients to reduce your sebum production:

  • Retinoid
  • Niacinamide
  • Green Tea
  • Centella Asiatica
  • Zinc
  • Witch Hazel
  • Clay Mask
  • Charcoal

FIGHT BACTERIAL ACNE

Most acne is caused by bacteria so fighting the bacterial acne is possibly the best way to prevent acne from occuring. Ingredients that can help in fighting bacterial acne include:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Retinoid (Adapalene)
  • Green Tea
  • Resveratrol
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Zinc
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Centella Asiatica

REDUCE INFLAMMATION

Since acne is usually comes in reddish to purplish colour, we will definitely want to soothe the inflammation and redness that appear on our skin as we do not want it to ruin our day. Some ingredients include:

  • Retinoid
  • Niacinamide
  • Vitamin C
  • Licorice
  • Ceramide
  • Aloe Vera
  • Centella Asiatica
  • Green Tea

How Do Spot Treatment Work?

How does spot treatment work?

Direct delivery of ACNE FIGHTING INGREDIENTS to the targeted offending blemish to reduce redness, itchiness and pain.

How to do spot treatment?

Pump and dab small amount of acne treatment directly on the pimple (early or active) once or twice daily.

For whom?

  • Acne-prone skin
  • Person dealing with breakout
  • Person who cannot tolerate certain ingredients in the formulation

Acne Myth and Mistakes

MAKEUP CAUSES ACNE

It will only cause acne if you are not removing your makeup properly. Cleansing wipe can irritate your skin barrier and if you don’t remove before sleeping, it can potentially clog your pores.

SKIN MAPPING

Can you really depend on this stuff? I am sure most of us know this where people where this specific area of face is caused by certain factors when the truth is, acne is a complex medical condition.

DRINKING WATER WILL HELP COMBAT ACNE

Drinking enough water is important for overall well-being but if it is easy as that, everyone won’t get acne on their face then.

ONLY TEENAGERS WILL HAVE ACNE

Acne is common among teenagers but acne doesn’t even recognize age. It will affect anyone regardless age.

CAUSED BY BEING DIRTY

People always relate acne with cleanliness. It is true at certain extent but do you know that over cleansing can damage your skin barrier, leading to acne?

FOOD CAUSES ACNE

Some sugary food can only trigger acne to appear but there is really no research associated with food-causing acne. 

Most of the myths mentioned above have been clearly explained by one of great international esthetician, Justin Spracklin on his Instagram @maximumskin) that most of the activities can only trigger acne but doesn’t mean it will cause acne to appear.

He also mentioned about top mistakes that had been done by acne-prone skin in one of his instagram post.

  1. PICKING

If you pick or pinch your pimple, you are one step forward to get hyperpigmentation, redness or scars.

2. MENTALITY OF IT WILL GO AWAY

Don’t let it just stay there. Hydrate your skin and soothe the acne instead. Leaving it there will actually worsen your skin condition.

3. HARSH SCRUB

The microbead will slowly slough away the top layer of your skin barrier, leaving your skin flaky and prone to getting breakout.

4. DRYING YOUR ACNE

Acne is less about drying but more to soothing the inflammation. Hydrate your skin and don’t use astringent that can further dry out your skin.

5. OVER DOING YOUR ROUTINE

Over cleansing, over exfoliating and too many actives in one routine can irritate your skin barrier. Do the basic and remember that LESS IS MORE.

6. SEEK FOR DERMATOLOGIST TREATMENT

If your acne worsen after trying many products, go see dermatologist for further treatment. Don’t suffer alone.

Dermatologist Tips to Treat Acne Effectively

Dr Davin Lim, Dermatologist
  1. Cleanse using cleanser with Salicylic Acid
  2. Apply acne treatment like Adapalene or Benzoyl Peroxide (with caution!)
  3. Use a good moisturiser (that your skin is comfortable with) to reduce dryness from cleansing and usage of acne treatment
  4. Stick with this routine for 6 weeks

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Acne Treatment

 
  • PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash with Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Differin Gel
  • CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser
  • Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment

Product Recommendations

ProductIngredient

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

with Salicylic Acid

The Ordinary 10% Niacinamide + Zinc 1%

with Niacinamide, zinc

The Inkey List Retinol

with retinol

ZarZou Repairing and Soothing Facial Serum

with 1.3% Niacinamide and Centella Asiatica extract

SHOP HERE

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 

with Clay


Having acne does not make you ugly. They are normal like freckles and stretchmarks – they just come and go. Don’t feel like it’s a big burden to you that it makes you less worthy or beautiful. Everyone is beautiful in our own way. Start the war and fight your acne now!

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