What causes Acne & How do you treat it?


Acne is the most common skin condition in the world, and it will affect almost everyone at some point in their lives. While acne isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can be very painful in some serious cases and can really affect one’s confidence.

Facial acne especially, can really affect your self-esteem and may also cause permanent or semi-permanent scarring or discolouration in some cases.

Our skin has tiny holes called pores that secrete oil and sweat daily, and sometimes, when these pores get blocked by oil, bacteria, dirt or dead skin cells, it can turn into a pimple.

Our skin has tiny holes called pores that secrete oil and sweat daily, and sometimes, when these pores get blocked by oil, bacteria, dirt or dead skin cells, it can turn into a pimple.

This is because your skin’s sebaceous glands will continue to produce oil – leaving the pore full of oil. And when skin bacteria come into the mix, the pore can become irritated and cause the pore’s follicle wall to break down and turn the area red and swollen.

Types of Acne

Inflammatory Acne

They are many types of acne but the most commonly known one is inflammatory acne, which is a pimple with a red head, or just a red bump on the skin, this is called an acne papule. Over time, this acne papule may develop a white or yellow pus-filled top. If it does, it’s now called an acne pustule. However, not all acne papules will turn into acne pustules.

Comedonal Acne

Another type of acne is called comedonal acne; blackheads and whiteheads fall into this category. Similar to inflammatory acne, comedonal acne starts with a blocked skin pore. However, the main difference is that comedonal acne develops at the skin’s surface and not deeper within the pore so its likelihood of breaking the follicle wall is much lower.

Blackheads, just as its name implies, has a black head. It is essentially an open and exposed blocked pore that turns black because it is oxidized by the air. Whiteheads on the other hand, are closed blocked pores and will look like small flesh coloured papules, which look more like bumps.

What Causes Acne?

Now it’s normal to get a pimple, blackhead or whitehead now and then but when you skin is repeatedly affected, you likely have acne. Acne can occur almost anywhere on your body, but it is most commonly found on your face, back, neck, chest and or shoulders.

There are many reasons as they why someone may develop acne, but the most common reason is hormonal changes caused by puberty or pregnancy. This is why acne is heavily associated with adolescents.

However, not all adolescents will develop acne and not all adults will have clear skin. In truth, acne can also be genetic, so if you’re wondering why you’re having trouble with your skin, it could be because your parents also struggle with acne.

Besides these two reasons, studies have also found that diets high in refined sugars and carbs are also associated with an increased risk of acne. So it might be best to reflect on and change your diet if you’re affected with acne.

How do you get rid of acne?

There are many ways to treat acne but for the most part, drug intervention is often recommended as it is the quickest way to clear acne. Some common medications for inflammatory acne are: Benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids, topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics, oral medications like spironolactone and isotretinoin, and birth control with erythromycin (only for women).

However, like most western medications, these treatments are generally not recommended for long-term use due to its extensive list of side effects.

Instead, here are some natural at botanical extracts that can help soothe and reduce acne breakouts.

Willow Bark Extract

Willow Bark is often used in cosmetic products due to its astringent, anti-inflammatory, soothing and conditioning properties. This natural acne treatment also contains salicylic acid, a natural exfoliant that helps with acne by causing the skin to shed dead cells and clear pores. It also contains phenolic acids which aids in skin rejuvenation and scar reduction by stimulating new cell formation.

Witch Hazel Extract

With strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, Witch Hazel is perfect for those suffering from inflammatory acne as it can soothe inflammation while also killing off harmful skin bacteria that end up inflaming blocked pores. The botanical extract also has some astringent properties which helps your pores to contract.

Mahonia Aquifolium Root Extract

Commonly known as “Oregon Grape”, this botanical extract has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that can help treat and reduce acne breakouts. The extract can also be used to help with psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract

Like Willow Bark, this botanical extract is a natural source of salicylic acid which helps to reduce acne breakouts and improve the appearance of acne scars. It also has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects which helps to calm, sanitise and soothe active acne breakouts.

Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract

Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract is most commonly used in oral supplements due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects. However, when used topically, the extract can also help to soothe skin irritations while also providing a strong anti-microbial effect to help curb skin infections and acne breakouts.

Allantoin Extract

Allantoin extract is commonly used in cosmetic products due to its soothing and moisturising properties. The botanical extract can soothe irritated skin or pimples while providing anti-irritant properties to help prevent skin irritation and breakouts. These properties also help to quicken wound healing and reduce acne scars. Besides this, the extract also has strong moisturising properties as it has the ability to soften the keratin of the skin, allowing it to absorb and retain moisture more effectively.


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