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Understanding acne

We all have that one insecurity we can never seem to get rid of and if that insecurity happens to be your skin, fret not because you are not alone.

In fact, 1 to 9 billion people suffer from skin problems worldwide– acne being one of the most common skin disorders treated by doctors and dermatologists, with 90% of the world’s population having been affected by it at any one point of their lives. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not limited to teenagers, but could be a standing skin issue faced by men and women of all ages. Often, improper treatment of acne could result in severe scarring or recurring lesions. Read on for more information on acne, it’s symtoms, and how to treat it.


Acne is a recurring inflammatory skin condition caused by hormonal changes during puberty, which could be then further aggravated by other genetic, environmental, or physical factors. There are 3 main forms of acne: mild acne in the form of a few occasional pimples, moderate acne that results in inflamed, swollen papules, or severe acne where individuals suffere from stubborn, inflamed breakouts, nodules, and cysts.

Although acne is primarily a usual physiologic occurrence, certain factors may exacerbate the condition. Examples of such factors are:

  • Fluctuating hormonal levels during the time of menstruation
  • Excessively picking at or prodding acne lesions
  • Unclean environments
  • Unclean head/face gear

Acne may be treated in several different ways, from the use of special facewashes or topical lotions, to the use of specific lasers or pulse-light therapies.

The three most popular treatments for acne are:

Benzoyl peroxide

Recommended for mild acne, benzoyl peroxide is believed to destroy bacteria associated with acne. Like many   over-the-counter and prescription products, it does not affect sebum production or the skin cycle, and when you stop application, the acne comes back. It is available in many forms, such as creams, lotions, and gels. Benzoyl peroxide may cause dry skin, so consult a professional before application.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid helps unclog pores to resolve and prevent acne lesions. For maximum effect on acne, it must be used continuously, because when you stop application, pores clog up again and the acne returns. Salicylic acid is available in many acne products, including lotions, creams, and pads.

Topical retinol gel

 Retinol works to keep pimples from forming by affecting the growth of cells, causing increased cell turnover to unblock pores. In some individuals, their acne may appear to get worse before it gets better because it will work on the pimples that have already started forming beneath your skin. It must be applied continuously and may take 8-12 weeks for visible results.

Acne scarring

In some individuals, severe acne may lead to acne scarring. There are mainly 5 types of acne scarring.

These are wide, U-shaped scars that have sharp edges. They can be shallow or deep. The shallower they are, the better they respond to skin resurfacing treatments.

Ice pick
Ice pick scars are narrow, V-shaped scars that can go deep into the skin. They can look like small round or oval holes, like a chickenpox scar. These are the most difficult scars to treat because they can extend far under the surface of the skin.

These are wide depressions that normally have rounded edges and an irregular appearance.

Hypertrophic or raised scars
Hypertrophic scars are most common with chest and back acne. They stand above the surface of the surrounding skin and are caused by too much collagen when healing.

Dark Spots
Discoloration left behind after a pimple has cleared is not considered a scar. These purple, red, or brown marks will fade over a few months on their own.


Acne scars are often treated with acids (Alpha hydroxy, salicylic, or lactic), retinoids, or chemical peels.
Each treatment targets a different form of scarring. However, they can be harsh on sensitive skin and could possibly cause photosensitivity. Therefore, it is always important to consult a medical professional before applying or ingesting any form of medication.

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