Acne: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that creates pimples and patches on the face, shoulders, back, neck, chest, and upper arms.

Symptoms | Causes | Remedies | Summary

Acne is a common skin disorder caused by blocked hair follicles beneath the skin. Oil and dead skin cells clog the pores, causing outbreaks of lesions known as pimples. The attacks are most common on the face, although they can also arise on the back, chest, and shoulders.

Disclosure: This post, is intended for informational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, We may earn a small commission when you buy through links on our site.


An acne breakout can result in seven different types of spots.

Blackheads: Open lumps on the skin that fill with dead skin and excess oil. Because the inner lining of the hair follicle produces color, it appears black.

Whiteheads: A whitehead is a bump covered with oil and dead skin, and more firmer than blackheads.

Papules: Highly inflammable small red or pink bumps

Pustules: Infected pimples that contain pus. They resemble whiteheads with red circles around them. Picking or scratching them might leave scars.

Fungal Acne: Hair follicle yeast overgrowth causes this sort of acne. Inflamed and irritated skin can develop on these surfaces..

Nodules: Nodules are deep-seated pimples that are solid. Their size and agony make them a nuisance to deal with.

Cysts: Cysts are pimples that are filled with pus. These are huge, pus-filled lumps that resemble boils on the outside. They may leave scars. Most severe acne-related lesions.

Why does acne usually appear during the adolescent years?

Androgens, or male hormones, increase the size of the skin’s oil glands during puberty. These glands begin to produce more oil, which can clog pores.

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Can acne start before your teen years?

Yes. Acne can affect people of all ages.

  • Around 20% of newborns develop neonatal acne, which typically appears between the second and fourth weeks of life. This type of acne clears up on its own, leaving no scars. It also does not raise the chances of developing severe acne later in life.
  • Some children develop infantile acne between the ages of 3 and 6 months. Adolescent acne can result in deep acne nodules and cysts, as well as permanent acne scarring. Infantile acne, thankfully, is uncommon. [a]
  • Acne is also becoming more common in women over the age of 25. The majority of these women had acne as teenagers and still have breakouts as adults. Some of these women had acne as teenagers that had cleared up. Years later, they are experiencing acne breakouts once more. Adult acne affects approximately 20% to 40% of women for the first time as an adult.

What’s the Difference Between Acne and Pimples?


The reason for adult acne.

The term adult acne, often known as post-adolescent acne, refers to acne that develops after 25. Most of the same elements that produce acne in teenagers are at play when it comes to adult acne.

Four factors cause acne:

  • Excess oil production,
  • By clogging pores with “sticky” skin cells,
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation.

There are a couple of indirect factors which may influence the direct factors responsible for acne.

  • Cosmetics, hair and skin care products, and makeup can clog pores.
  • Hormones, stress, and the menstrual cycle may increase the sebaceous gland’s oil production.
  • Acne can also be caused by some drugs, including corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, and lithium. [1]

Other factors may lead to your acne breakouts

Cow’s milk may lead to acne breakouts

Even though cow’s milk is a low-glycemic beverage, some research suggests that drinking this type of milk may be associated with an increase in acne breakouts. All kinds of cow’s milk have been linked to acne in these studies.[2][3]

Pimples may be reduced by following a low-glycemic diet.

According to the results of small studies, following a low-glycemic diet may reduce the amount of acne you have. The vast majority of fresh vegetables, some fruits, beans, and steel-cut oats are included in the list of low-glycemic foods. [4]

Can nicotine cause acne?

According to one study, smoking may be a factor in the development of acne in some women. The women in this study had visible whiteheads and blackheads that often covered many of their faces. Some of them also had a few pimples. [5]

Acne due to exercise

Excessive sweating, oil, dirt, and bacteria concentrated on our skin during workout time can contribute to acne.

Do not have to stop your workout. Do follow what dermatologists suggest:

Outdoor Workout:

  1. Remove your makeup before beginning your workout. There is no need to wash your face. It is sufficient to use an oil-free makeup remover.
  2. Put on a clean workout outfit. Your workout clothes should be clean. Unwashed clothes contain dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils that can clog your pores and cause acne.
  3. Before going outside, apply an oil-free sunscreen. If you plan to exercise outside during the day, protect your skin from the sun to avoid breakouts.
  4. As the sun dries out your skin, it might create breakouts. This causes your body to produce extra oil, which clogs pores and causes acne.
  5. To get the necessary protection, use a sunscreen that provides: SPF 30 or greater.

How to prevent:

  • During an exercise, use a clean towel to gently dab sweat away from your skin.
  • Wipe away sweat with a clean towel. You want a towel that has been washed since the last time you used it.
  • When wiping sweat from your skin, use a gentle patting motion. Rubbing your skin can aggravate acne.
  • When feasible, avoid sharing protective equipment such as helmets and shoulder pads. These can be contaminated with acne-causing germs and oil, causing you to break out.
  • Before using shared equipment, wipe it down. Acne-causing germs and oil can accumulate on shared equipment. You can transport acne-causing bacteria and oil from the kit to your skin if you use it and then wipe your forehead or other acne-prone skin.
  • Showering soon following your workout. This shower may help to wash away microorganisms that cause acne.

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Acne from hair care products:


Whiteheads and other types of acne can be caused by shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. The bumps can be so faint that you feel them but don’t see them. Some people get multiple, closely packed pimples that are visible to them.

Hair Care products, even if you’ve never had acne, might create breakouts. This incident is so widespread that it has its medical term: acne cosmetic. Means acne produced by skin or hair care products.


Why can some hair care products create acne?

When you use hair care products that include oil, that oil can end up on your skin. When this occurs, the oil might block your pores. Clogged pores can cause acne.

You will most likely get whiteheads and tiny flesh-colored pimples known as “papules.” These can appear along your hairline, on your brow, or the back of your neck.

Home remedies for acne: 11 most effective remedies you can safely try at home

Acne cosmetica:


Many cosmetics can aggravate acne. When this occurs, you experience a kind of acne known as acne cosmetica.

Many ladies who do not usually have acne can suffer acne cosmetica as a result of applying makeup. [6]

How to Determine Whether Your Makeup Is Causing Your Acne?

If you have acne cosmetica, you will most probably have numerous little bumps on your face. These blemishes are most commonly found on the cheekbones, chin, or forehead.

Sometimes women have whiteheads that emerge just above their skin. You can also notice pimples.

If you get little outbreaks around your lips, it’s possible that your lipstick or lip balm is to blame.

Acne cosmetica can appear gradually. Blemishes can emerge anywhere between a few days and six months.

Because of this delay, it may be difficult to see a link between acne and the cosmetics producing it.

When you notice fresh pimples, treat the acne first and then conceal it with acne-causing cosmetics. Continued application of cosmetics results in a never-ending cycle of outbreaks.

This never-ending loop can be annoying. Many women have to assume that nothing can cure their acne.


What dermatologists recommend to see clearer skin:

Stop applying any cosmetics that are triggering your breakouts right away. Of course, identifying the source of your acne might be difficult.


The best approach is to read all of the labels on your makeup, skincare, and hair care products.

Check for one of the following terms on your products: “Non-comedogenic”, “oil-free”, and “non-clogging”.

Wash your face:

Dermatologists advise washing your face when you get up and before going to bed. You want to use a cleanser that says something like “oil-free,” “won’t clog pores,” or “non-comedogenic” on the label.

When cleansing your face, use your hands to apply your cleanser gently and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Take off your makeup. Make use of an oil-free makeup remover. After removing your makeup, use a gentle cleanser to wash your face.

Do not share your makeup tools:

Make sure you clean your makeup brushes once a week and do not share them. While acne is not contagious, bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil from other people’s skin can adhere to your makeup, makeup brushes, and applicators.

Acne-causing bacteria can travel to your skin when you share makeup brush and accessories, resulting in fresh breakouts.

When you share your makeup brushes or applicators, you risk contracting dangerous infections like pink eye or cold sores.

Dermatologists advise treating acne with treatments containing one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Benzoyl peroxide which fights against acne-causing bacteria
  • Salicylic acid is a type of astringent that helps unclog pores
  • Adapalene is a drug that is used to treat acne. – helps unclog pores

Acne cosmetica usually clears up when you stop using the product that is causing it. However, identifying the causes can be challenging. Foundation, blush, and concealer are just a few of the cosmetics that might cause acne cosmetica.

Acne mechanica:


The first sign of acne mechanica is little, rough-feeling lumps that you can feel rather than see.

These can appear when a chin strap, helmet, or another piece of equipment brushes on the skin.

If you do not take any measures and continue to use those things, these tiny, scratchy bumps might develop into pimples and deep acne cysts in severe cases. [7][8]

Acne mechanica can be caused by the following sports equipment.

Automobile racing: The rear of the driver’s seat.

Cycling: Helmets for cyclists

Baseball: Helmet, chin strap, shoulder pads, or other protective equipments

Golf: Put the golf bag on.

Gymnastics: Synthetic attire

Hockey: Chest protector, or other protective equipment.

Weightlifting: Weightlifting benches made of plastic, as well as a weightlifting belt

Wrestling: Faceguard


Dermatologists prescribe the following steps to clear your skin and avoid future breakouts:

  • Clean, soft cushioning should be placed between the apparatus and your skin. This reduces friction, which keeps your skin from being inflamed.
  • Wear garments that wick moisture away from your skin. This fabric draws sweat away from your body, decreasing friction on your skin and causing skin irritation.
  • Replace your tight-fitting workout clothes with loose-fitting ones. This keeps heat and sweat from becoming trapped on your skin.

Fungal Acne


Sometimes you don’t understand why your facial acne doesn’t seem to respond to your standard acne treatments.

Probably you are suffering from pityrosporum folliculitis, often known as fungal acne.

This skin disorder is frequently confused with acne, although it is caused by a yeast called Malassezia furfur, which is naturally prevalent on the skin.

It is a common skin infection that causes hair follicles to swell.


Our skin’s sebaceous glands create an oil known as “sebum.” These glands have the potential to overproduce oil. Oil, as well as germs and yeast, can block our pores and hair follicles.

The yeast can cause folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicles, also known as fungal acne. This inflammation happens due to the overgrowth of yeast, which is typically present on our skin.[9]


Since a yeast infection causes this skin inflammation in the hair follicles, it does not respond to standard acne treatment and necessitates a different method.

Antifungal and anti-yeast therapies are required. Oral antifungals are favored for treatment and result in a significant improvement in disease severity. [10]

Early detection of this skin condition is very critical for successful clinical outcomes. Also, this problem might reoccur, especially when the conditions (heat, dampness) are favorable for yeast proliferation.

10 Natural Remedies for Fungal Skin Infections

Home remedies for Acne Vulgaris:

Conventional methods of treating acne vulgaris may be effective but might cause skin irritation and roughness.

However, none of these methods is free of adverse effects, and their exact role in therapy is also not confirmed.

As a result, many people have turned to natural remedies to get rid of pimples quickly.

However, only a handful of natural acne solutions have been clinically confirmed to work.

When to see a doctor?

  • A severe case of acne should be treated by a physician. It is possible to get this under control with the help of a dermatologist.
  • You’ve noticed acne scars on your body. Your dermatologist will first treat your skin issue and then treat the scars that resulted from it.
  • It’s time to seek professional help if you’ve tried a variety of over-the-counter medicines and home treatments without success.
  • Some anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and other medications can induce acne. It’s possible to update your prescription.
  • If it lowers self-esteem. Clearer skin may boost confidence and reduce self-consciousness.


Much like many other aspects of life, acne is not always under one’s control. To avoid breakouts, we recommend the following crucial tips:

  • Avoid face oils and oil-containing hair products.
  • In cosmetics and skincare products, check for phrases such as “non-comedogenic,” “oil-free,” and “won’t clog pores” on the label.
  • It would be best if you never went to bed wearing make-up.
  • Weather permitting, wear sunscreen with SPF 30+ every day to avoid the deepening of these areas.
  • As a result of picking or squeezing early acne lesions, specific patches on the skin are pigment changes caused by post-inflammatory inflammation.

Disclaimer: This post does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your dermatologist or your primary care physician before applying any of the methods described here.

Eliza Miller

Hi! I am Eliza Miller, a nutritionist turned holistic health content writer who specializes in health and wellness, mental health, and nutrition. Other than content writing I am very passionate about reading fictional books.