The road to a smooth, pimple-free complexion starts with understanding your unique skin.
What is acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, resulting in the formation of blemishes, including pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and nodules. Acne commonly appears on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders – an often, can be stubborn to treat.
Types of acne
Understanding different types of acne is crucial for effective treatment and management. Acne comes in many variations, each with unique characteristics and severity levels, which can also differ from person to person.
Comedonal acne primarily consists of blackheads and whiteheads, characterised by non-inflammatory lesions resulting from clogged hair follicles.
Inflammatory acne includes red, swollen, and tender bumps, such as papules and pustules. It is caused by bacterial infection and inflammation within clogged pores.
Cystic acne is a severe form of acne characterised by painful, pus-filled pimples (or cysts). Cystic pimples can be large and are often quite painful. Whether it’s cystic acne on cheeks or hormonal cystic acne, a dermatologist should be consulted instead of trying over-the-counter acne products or product that could exacerbate your condition.
Hormonal acne and period acne
Hormonal acne is associated with hormonal fluctuations and is more common in women. It often appears as deep, painful cystic pimples, frequently occurring around the chin and jawline, and may worsen during the menstrual cycle.
Fungal acne is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. It can manifest as small, itchy, acne-like bumps and is often mistaken for traditional acne.
Nodular acne is a severe type of inflammatory acne that develops deep start below the surface and appear on the skin as hard and painful red bumps. These bumps usually don’t have a whitehead or blackhead at the centre, and can last for weeks or even months. A bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) becomes trapped under your skin in these nodules, leading to infection and inflammation. It’s best to seek treatment from a dermatologist or skin specialist for nodular acne to avoid permanent scarring.
Recognising the symptoms of acne is essential for effective management and treatment. When you have acne, you can develop any (or a combination) of these breakouts on your skin:
- Pimples: Small, raised red or pink bumps on the skin's surface.
- Blackheads: Small, dark spots on the skin, often found in clogged pores.
- Whiteheads: Similar to blackheads but with a white, raised appearance.
- Papules: Small, red, tender bumps.
- Pustules: Red bumps with pus at the top.
- Cysts: Large, painful, fluid-filled lumps beneath the skin.
- Nodules: Solid, painful lumps under the skin's surface.
- Scarring: Leftover marks and indentations from previous acne lesions.
There are four main factors than can cause acne, excess oil (sebum) production, hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells, bacteria and inflammation. And while the four main factors remain consistent, triggers vary and can worsen symptoms of acne. Stress, food and diet, hormones, genetics, makeup, skin care products and lifestyle can all impact your journey to clear, blemish-free skin.
It's not a one-solution-fits-all approach and it can often be a path of trial and error. But these common treatments can be a source of support on your skin healing journey.
Prevalent in acne-fighting skin care, certain topical formulation can aid in re-gaining your skin’s clarity. However, it’s important not to use in excess and listen to the guidance of professionals. Too many harsh chemicals on the skin can in fact damage your skin’s barrier, making it more susceptible to acne and breakouts.
Benzoyl Peroxide: Works to kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Salicylic Acid: Helps to unclog pores and exfoliate the skin's surface.
Retinoids: Promotes skin cell turnover and prevents clogged pores.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics can target bacterial infection in moderate to severe cases. However continued dependence on antibiotics is not recommended and should only be used as temporary support.
Hormonal Therapy: Working with a health professional or naturopath to regulate hormones in cases of hormonal and cystic acne can prove to be beneficial.
Supplements: Supplementation can be an effective and non-invasive solution to treating symptoms of acne. Vida Glow' Clear is scientifically studied to target acne - effectively working to reduce symptoms by 50%.
Life gets busy, and we may not always have time to prioritise skin care, diet or manage overwhelming feelings of stress. Most of us don't realise the impact this can be having on our skin.
Diet Modification: Try to reduce dairy, sugar, and processed foods, or checking for food intolerances with a gastroenterologist can provide helpful insight.
Stress Management: Stress reduction techniques can in fact help mitigate acne flare-ups.
Understanding your specific acne type, its symptoms and underlying causes is essential for effective management and treatment. By following a personalised approach and consulting with a dermatologist, you can achieve clearer, healthier skin and reduce the impact of acne on your life - even sooner than you may think.