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How to get rid of acne?

The problem, cause & treatments.


  1. What is acne?
  2. How is acne caused?
  3. Who is at risk of acne?
  4. What happens in acne?
  5. What are the different types of acne?
  6. What are different stages or grades of acne?
  7. What are the types of acne treatment?
  8. The best and safest acne treatment
  9. What are the common acne myths?

What is acne?

Acne, in general, is one of the most common medical problems in the world. In general, about 17 million Americans, alone, have acne. According to an estimate acne affects more than 90 per cent of young people. While it afflicts about 79% to 95% of the adolescent population, men and women older than 25 years, 40% to 54%, also have some degree of facial acne, Similarly, it is estimated that 12 per cent of women and three per cent of men aged 40 and older have acne. As acne is mainly a “skin” disease. Therefore, before you read and discover more about acne and how to get rid of acne, you first need to know what skin is.

The outermost covering of your body, the skin is a unique and remarkable organ. One square inch of skin contains millions of cells as well as many specialized nerve endings for sensing heat, cold, and pain. The skin is nourished by blood vessels and contains numerous oil glands, hair follicles, and sweat glands.

Acne can be defined simply as “an inflammatory skin disorder”. The pimples, the redness, the infections, are all visible signs of skin that is inflamed or highly irritated.

How is acne caused?

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Acne can occur singly or as a result of a combination of multiple causative agents or factors such as:

Sex hormones: Dermatologists (skin specialists) believe that acne is partly the result of the action of hormones on the skin’s oil glands and the hair follicles. Increases in sex hormones called androgens that occur in both boys and girls during puberty. Androgens cause sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum in hair follicles. It has been also believed that changes in hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women 2 to 7 days before their menstrual period starts can aggravate acne

Pregnancy: Hormonal changes related to pregnancy or to starting or stopping use of birth control pills can also lead to acne, although indirectly.

Family history: At times, acne occurs because of genetics i.e. when you are prone to it because of heredity

Bacteria: In many cases, bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) can be present also, which can contribute to the redness, swelling and pus that can accompany lesions.

Drugs: Some medicines (e.g., some birth control pills, cortisone, dilantin) can also cause short term acne as their side effect.

Who is at risk of acne?

While acne can affect anyone from any gender, race, ethnicity or occupation, the following people are generally considered to be at higher risk of developing acne:

Teenagers: Though acne is common in teen years, it can affect people of all ages. However, acne affects almost all teens.

People with family history: If you have parents, grandparents or first / blood relatives with the history of acne, you are more vulnerable to the development of acne in your body as well

People at stress: People facing increased mental and / or physical stress are also at risk.

People using oil-based skin products: Oil from skin products (moisturizers or cosmetics) or grease encountered in the work environment can also make acne worse. Similarly, hot, humid climate and oily makeup also contributes greatly to the severity of the problem.

People using “pressure” products: pressure from sports helmets or equipment, backpacks, tight collars, or tight sports uniforms can increase the severity of acne

Those using irritants or friction-causing stuff: Environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity, squeezing or picking at blemishes and hard scrubbing of the skin, all can lead to acute and severe form of acne

What happens in acne?

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In acne, the pores of the skin become clogged with oil. At puberty the oil glands in the skin begin producing an oily material called sebum.  Bacteria become trapped in these pores and irritate the skin and hair follicle. The irritation around the plugged pore and hair follicle forms a red bump called acne. A black plug, or blackhead, is formed when the dead skin comes to the surface.

What happens in acne

Which body zone is most affected by acne?

While acne typically and most commonly appears on the ‘T-Zone’ (forehead, nose and chin), it can occur elsewhere on the face, the scalp and also on neck, shoulders and chest.

acne face t zone

What are the different types of acne?


1- Acne Vulgaris

The most common form of acne is known as acne vulgans (Vulgaris, a Latin word, means common or ordinary). When you simply refer to ‘acne”, you should almost always mean “acne Vulgaris”. This type of acne occurs under the skin on the face, neck, chest, or upper back and is the least severe form of acne. It usually begins in puberty and affects about 80% of adolescents in some form. Males are affected more often; however, females have more severe and more prolonged cases. It manifests as blackheads, whiteheads and inflammation (redness).

Acne Vulgaris


2- Acne Rosacea

Sometimes called as “adult acne”, Acne Rosacea affects millions of people, most of whom are over the age of 30. The condition occurs more often in women than in men. It may appear as a red rash which is normally confined to the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin and covers the spaces in between pimples and other blemishes. Blood vessels may also become more visible on the skin. Blackheads are not a part of Rosacea. It is more prevalent in women, but often more severe when found in men. Left untreated, it can cause swelling of the nose and the growth of excess tissue, a condition called rhinophyma. Treatment is often different for rosacea than for acne, and it is important that you consult a doctor can determine if what you are experiencing is acne vulgaris or rosacea. Acne Rosacea can look similar to the aforementioned acne vulgaris, and the two types of acne are sometimes confused for one another.

Acne Rosacea


3- Acne Conglobata

Acne Conglobata is more severe as it occurs as interconnected lesions that are dotted with pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. This form of extreme acne is generally characterized by the appearance of large and numerous nodules. The age of onset for acne Conglobata is usually between 18 and 30 years of age and it is more likely for males to get the condition than it is for females. It should also be noted that acne Conglobata can stay active for many years, lying dormant until something causes it to resurface.

Because of the severity of the condition, this often leads to scarring.

Acne Conglobata


4- Acne Fulminans

This type is actually similar to Acne Conglobata except that it occurs suddenly. The acne oozes out and the body is even affected, frequently resulting in, fever, aching muscles and joints. Males are more affected by this than women and the disorder is often brought on by the use of testosterone.

Acne Fulminans


5- Pyroderma Faciale

This type is also often seen in women who are 20 to 40 years old. This type can be quite severe as it often involves the presence of nodules, sores and some pustules, which all lead to scarring. However, fortunately, if treated well, the condition will rarely continue or last for longer than a year.

Pyroderma Faciale

What are different stages or grades of acne?

The following table will help you understand various stages or grades of acne based on the degree of severity of lesions and their sites.

Acne Stage or Grade

Type of acne lesion

Site / location of lesion

Mild acne Blackheads: The black color is due to the oil reacting with oxygen in the air – it is not dirt.Whiteheads:  Stay below the skin’s surface. Generally found on the face. They do not cover large areas of the face or body.
Moderate acne Papules: Raised and inflamed lumps.Pustules: Raised and inflamed lumps with white or yellow centers. Widespread across the face or oily parts of the body, such as the back, chest or shoulders.
Severe acne Cysts and nodules: Large, solid, painful lumps under the skin. Cover large areas of the face and body.

What are the types of acne treatment?

On the basis of their nature, composition and mode of action, most acne treatments can be classified into the following types:


1-    OTC acne therapy (non-prescription treatment)

For mild to moderate cases of acne, one can try over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments before turning to his / her doctor for help. OTCs are usually milder than prescription-strength products and are readily accessible. OTC acne treatments can include medicated cleansers and topical creams and gels. Topical OTC medicines are applied to the skin and come in many forms, including gels, lotions, creams, soaps, and pads. Typical OTC treatments for mild acne include benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, and sulfur.
Benzoyl Peroxide: Topical antimicrobials (antibiotics) such as Benzoyl peroxide help to reduce skin bacteria and provide good results in mild acne (pustules/pimples). However, it has limited benefit for inflammatory lesions such as pustules or cysts. Benzoyl peroxide can be obtained over-the-counter (Clearasil being the most common, although there are other brands in the market today) or by prescription (Persagel and others). Benzoyl peroxide gets to work on acne-aggravating bacteria that are on the surface of the skin. Side effects such as irritation or redness may occur and there is also a risk of allergy or skin irritation as a result of the continued use.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is especially helpful in treating acne because of its ability to penetrate the follicle. It encourages the shedding of dead skin cells from within the follicle, helping keep the pores clear of cellular debris. In this way, it reduces the number of pore blockages and breakouts on the skin and also helps prevent them from being blocked again.

Resorcinol: Resorcinol helps prevent comedones by removing buildup of dead skin cells. Found in about a 2% solution, resorcinol acne treatment is meant to serve as a way of unclogging pores. It is also a mild antiseptic used as a topical disinfectant.

2- Medical / drug therapy (prescription treatment)

Depending on the severity and type of acne you may be prescribed a medicine to be applied topically, taken orally, or both. Some of these medicines commonly include:

Topical retinoids for treating comedones (blackheads). However, they have limited benefit for inflammatory lesions such as pustules or cysts.

Antibiotics: Antibiotic therapy is generally done in moderate to severe acne.  Topical antibiotics (e.g. Cleocin-T, Benzamycin) are often helpful for mild cases of acne.  Oral antibiotics (tetracycline, erythromycin) have been used for years but have various side effects. While the more common side effects of antibiotics are nausea and an upset stomach, other side effects are possible: yeast infections (for women), recurring headaches, and sensitivity to the sun. It is also a generally accepted fact that people who take antibiotics frequently will, at a later time, no longer experience relief because the antibiotics are no longer working. There are also certain strains of bacteria that resist antibiotics.

The best and safest acne treatment

One of the most advanced and research-based and “home based” treatment options for acne has recently arrived in the form of natural & herbal products. These anti-acne kits or solutions actually comprise of a “system” consisting of several treatments that all work together to address various issues related with your acne simultaneously. Therefore, while it is true that there has been no “medical cure” available for acne to date, various other options are rapidly emerging in the market with promising results. However, while one can find many brands of both natural or herbal and over the counter anti acne skin care creams, lotions, supplements and oils, there are hardly few which even work and come any close to whatever they promise. Most importantly, even the most frequently bought and used products have their own share of undesirable effects and unwanted interactions within the body. The key here is, therefore, to select the safest and yet more effective natural skin care system that will comprise of multiple components and will, therefore, address the acne problem on multiple levels.

On the basis of their effectiveness, composition, mode of action and components, the best and safest natural or herbal and herbal + synthetic acne therapies can be ranked as follows:


Number 1 recommendation: Exposed Skin Care

Exposed Skin Care is a unique two-in-one acne-specific supplement that comes with both herbal as well as synthetic science-based ingredients that are best known to treat all kinds of acne lesions and provide rapid and yet sustained relief in mild to moderate acne as well as more serious acne that creates nodules and cysts. Being composed of two types of ingredients i.e. natural as well as synthetic scientific ingredients, Exposed Skin Care consists of a synergistic system that combines ingredients from science and nature to create a product that renews and penetrates the skin to clear clogged pores of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The ultimate goal of Exposed Skin Care is to clear up troublesome acne, create an even skin tone and prevent new acne from forming. Most users’ testimonials do show that they have been able to achieve such goals after regular and continuous use of Exposed Skin Care. Furthermore,

It is generally considered suitable and safe for all skin types and for all types of acne

Can be easily and securely ordered online without leaving the comfort of your own home

It is a multi-component, multi-step product that can be used to treats all kinds of acne lesions and relieves mild to moderate acne as well as more serious acne that creates nodules and cysts

With no continual side effects for its users; men and women using Exposed Skin Care system will see no excessive dryness to the skin while treating redness, irritation, itching, inflammation and scarring

Why number 1?

Exposed Skin Care’s suitability for all skin types and all stages / categories of acne and established safety with no reported serious side effects even after long term use clearly make it an optimistic and highly recommended choice for acne-sufferers.


Number 2 recommendation: Zenmed

Zenmed anti-acne and skin care system seems to have a unique mode of action that specifically targets both the root “cause” (internally) and the “effect” (externally) to reduce redness, pimples and lesions and prevent any additional breakouts. Zenmed is a blend of both herbal as well as synthetic prescription-grade nutrients that have been long-used for the successful treatment and prevention of acne.

According to a survey done of majority of ZenMed reviews, Zenmed removes the excess oil and bacteria that causes body acne without using the artificial colors or fragrance that irritate skin. It is basically done through a simple two-step process that treats all steps of the notorious acne cycle:

1-By preventing pimples: Alpha and beta hydroxy acids present in all of the Zenmed products prevent dead skin build-up from happening in the first place, hence preventing pimple formation and also clearing the existing pimples faster.

2- By healing existing lesions: Alpha and beta hydroxy acids reduce redness and remove scars, also healing any discoloration or damage.

It must be remembered that Zenmed has been specifically designed to treat generalized (body) acne and not just acne of the face. It covers acne cycle at levels and with full impact i.e. not only treats but also prevents future acne flare-ups. Also, no significant side effects have been reported so far. It is worth mentioning that Zenmed not only stimulates skin circulation and eliminates toxins of acne but also leaves your skin looking refreshed, brighter and more toned. Last but not least, these components also support skin collagen formation, and tissue strength and elasticity which eventually lead to progressive but powerful healing, removal of scars and bad spots from your face, neck and even arms.


One of the best recommendations – Clear Skin Max

Clear skin max is one of the newly emerging anti-acne and specific skin care branded products that is reportedly used for improvement, resolution and healing of the pimples-affected skin. It is an “all herbal” product with “scientifically proven” ingredients that works gradually and yet consistently over a period of time to product long lasting results. It is also a true multi-components skin care system to not just address acne treatment but also its prevention and effecting healing

What are the common acne myths?

When it comes to explaining acne to adolescents and some adults, it is necessary to separate fact from fiction, because having acne can tax a person’s nerves and send him off to an emotional roller-coaster. The teenage years are a great time to meet new friends and start dating and be accepted by one’s peers; being misinformed about acne is due to certain myths.

Following are some of the most common myths associated with the “causes of acne” today:
First myth: Eating too much chocolate will cause acne

Reality: Chocolate does not cause acne or make it worse. Even the most renowned doctors will insist, and can prove, that there is no direct link between chocolate and acne. However, even if there is no direct link between the two, you must still adhere to a healthy lifestyle that decreases the amount of sweets, salts and fat from your diet. Ensure you consume foods that are rich in nutrients, especially vitamin A.


Second myth: Dirt will cause acne

Reality:  This is a myth that is widely held but while it is certainly important to keep the skin always clean because oil and dirt can block pores, dirt does NOT bring about the clumping together of skin cells against the follicle wall. This phenomenon occurs very deep in the skin where cleaning won’t reach it.


Third myth: Acne has something to do with sex

Reality: Some adolescents actually believe that once they’re married or give birth to their first child, their acne will disappear. A variation of this myth is the other side of the argument: that an active sex life causes acne. This link was made only because adolescence is that period in a person’s life when sex is of great concern. This particular myth became less popular in the 1940’s when the medical community finally declared that sexual activity and acne are not related.


Fourth myth: Hot climate causes acne

Reality: Some people think that people who live in cold climates are less likely to get acne, while those who live in the tropics are more prone to it. There is no link between where one lives and the incidence of acne. Nor is the color of one’s skin a precursor of acne, although it has been observed that dark-skinned people tend to have less severe acne compared to light-skinned individuals. Larger glands and more defined pores are common characteristics of dark skin, and these two attributes are known to protect against acne. Note though that hyper-pigmentation tends to occur more frequently with dark skin after acne is cured, so care must be taken to not irritate dark skin after a bout with acne.


Fifth myth:  First time shavers will get acne

Reality: When a boy reaches the age of puberty, one of the first signs is hair on the face, especially above the lip and on the chin. The hairs are at first sparse but over time, a beard and a moustache appear, making boys want to shave them. After the initial shave, the hair grows back, this time thicker. As the hair grows back after each shave, it grows thicker and is denser resulting in repetitive shaving. Frequent shaving can cause the skin to dry out, because as more hair grows, the shaving becomes more frequent and more forceful. Some of these hairs could turn inward and grow internally which can cause acne. The inside growth, combined with the production of oil in the sebaceous glands can result in frequent skin breakouts. The myth that shaving causes acne is indeed a myth, but it is true that shaving too often and too close to the hair follicles may contribute to the growth of acne.

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2 comments… add one
  1. Good stuff! I especially enjoyed the good information you talked about.

    I’m very happy to find this awesome blog, anyway I want to talk about the relation between acne and chocolate because I have suffered from cystic acne for many years and thank God I have recovered from this disease. The main cause of my aggravation was chocolate, but when I stopped eating it quickly faded naturally with the medication.
    I want to make sure that chocolate is a major cause of acne

  2. Hi,
    Acne is really horrible and sometimes scary. Everything is well explained in this article about acne. Thank you for sharing.


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