Acne 101

Monday, 22 October 2012

How acne is caused

Your skin has pores and each pore leads to a hair follicle and gland. Your glands (sebaceous glands) produce oil (sebum), which helps waterproof your skin as well as remove old, dead skin cells, but when these glands produce too much oil, pores become blocked. This means that dirt and bacteria build up causing a blockage, and these blockages are often called plugs.

Acne usually occurs with the onset of puberty and can be triggered by hormonal changes, which cause your glands to produce more oil. Although it’s more of a hereditary condition, acne can also be caused by oily skincare products and make-up, excessive sweating and even very humid conditions – anything which leads to the blockage of your pores.

Some studies have shown that food doesn’t really cause acne, unless really greasy foods (or certain types of refined sugars) cause your skin to produce an excess amount of oil.

Types of acne

When the top of the plug is white, it’s called a whitehead or pimple. This is a less severe type of acne and is usually caused by a completely blocked pore.
When the top of the plug is black, it’s called a blackhead or comedones, and is caused by a partially blocked pore. Although people mistakenly assume blackheads are caused by being unhygienic, a blackhead is a simple discolouration or pigmentation of sebum when it oxidises.
A papule is an inflamed, tender and red bump on the skin, and contains no visible fluid.
A pustule contains cloudy fluid, which is whitish in colour with a reddish ring around it.
A more server type of acne is a nodule, which is much larger than your regular pimple. They are often painful and could last for months.
A cyst is similar to a nodule in that it’s painful and could last for months, but may contain puss as well.

Treatment

Acne can be treated with topical creams and gels, prescriptive medication or even cosmetic medical procedures. It’s always a good idea to visit a dermatologist or medical professional who can not only diagnose your type of acne but also treat it with the appropriate methods. Topical treatments usually contain benzoyl peroxide, alpha-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid and triclosan, among others. Procedures at medical spas that treat acne include dermabrasion, phototherapy and laser treatment, amongst others.

The Exfoliac range by Noreva is a results driven product range, which is a solution for an acne prone, combination and oily skin. The Exfoliac products are targeted in removing impurities, while acting on and working against blemishes, as well as moisturising and mattifying your skin. Some of the Exfoliac products contain alpha-hydroxy acids, but none contain parabens.

Tips

  • Try to avoid touching your face too much, as you’re transferring dirt and oil from your hands to your face.
  • Keep your hair out of your face, as your hair too could transfer dirt and oil.
  • DO NOT SQUEEZE your pimples, not matter how tempting. You’ll only cause swelling and may even burst the capillaries in your skin, which will lead to bleeding and eventually scarring.
  • See a dermatologist or doctor who can give you more information on your type of acne as well as the best way to treat it.

The Exfoliac range by Noreva is distributed by Cipla Medpro and is available at Dis-chem and independent pharmacies nationwide.

Image: Shutterstock.com

Other articles you may be interested in
Hormonal pigmentation
Target those dark spots
How Kim Kardashian copes with psoriasis
Dry skin remedies
Oily skin remedies

Written by

Megan Kakora has helped launch the websites of, and been the online editor for, some of South Africa’s biggest glossy magazines. She believes in less-is-more, except when it comes to her collection of nail polish colours.
Megan on Google+

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  1. Caythe

    Most of the time I can’t help it but pop them… they annoy me, so I assume by popping them they go away faster.

    3 years ago •

  1. AndreaM

    Oh man, squeezing & touching is my problem, even though I have eczema I get really bad pimples.

    4 years ago •

  1. Caythe

    I’ve been having pimples for the past 7 years and nothing seems to change. I’ve used over 5 product but none have worked!!

    4 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    My friend is suffering with adult acne and nothing seems to help him. He eats healthily and drinks loads of water but he has really hectic breakouts. I think its time to go to a dermatologist…

    4 years ago •

  1. me

    My son started to develop acne. He is the first person I know who does not fiddle with his face at all.

    4 years ago •

  1. Ayesh

    Seriously need to visit a dermatologist. Skincare products just never seem to work.

    4 years ago •

  1. TJK

    The best thing I ever did was put down all the lotions and potions, and go to a dermatologist.

    4 years ago •

  1. karis

    Visiting a Great dermatologist was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I wasted so much money on skin products prior to that, yet they provided no results.and now i have great skin.

    5 years ago •

  1. Atisha

    Super interesting. Sad that pimples lead to scars!

    5 years ago •

  1. Pannack

    Used to have very bad acne as a kid gotten much better now thought

    5 years ago •

  1. Zah

    Visiting a dermatologist was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I wasted so much money on skin products before, yet they yielded no results.

    5 years ago •

  1. Bronwyn

    I am 31 and I still struggle with breakouts even though my skin is not oily and I do look after my skin. Maybe it is hormonal, but it is so annoying when you are my age!

    5 years ago •

  1. Ra’eesa

    Helpful article. Good to know the different types of acne.

    5 years ago •

  1. Cat

    I’m very lucky I don’t suffer with break outs, I did when I was in school but it kind of eventually controlled itself and now I don’t suffer at all. Great article though

    5 years ago •

  1. mahomed

    mine seems to be hormonal related :((

    5 years ago •

  1. Cass1231

    Nice and informative…thank you

    5 years ago •

  1. beautilicious

    lol i think almost everyone is guilty of squeezing a pimple or two in their lifetime. i try my best to look after my skin. gotta show this to my teenage sister with acne prone skin

    5 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    Thanks for the tips even though its so hard not to touch your face when you have a pimple.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tasha

    It is a horrible problem for so many people. My hubby also had lots of problems with acne.

    5 years ago •

  1. BeautyBloggess

    I haven’t heard of Exfoliac before. Interested in knowing more about the range.

    5 years ago •

  1. Cat

    great info, luckily I only really had a slight problem in school but it does not happen anymore

    5 years ago •

  1. Noma

    I’m very lucky that I never suffered acne.

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    People judge you by your Skin, so take care of it!
    Informative tips. Sounds like a good product, will remember incase of those sudden breakouts!

    5 years ago •

  1. Humphreys

    Great tips and overview of acne…..much appreciated.

    5 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    This is every man and woman’s worst nightmare I’m sure!

    5 years ago •

  1. Chicara

    I’m very lucky at the moment as breakouts are under control. But if it flares up again I will definitely come and check out this article again. Super useful! :)

    5 years ago •

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