Everything You Need to Know About Acne and Acne Treatment

There is no magic bullet to treat acne. It's best to start with a correct diagnosis and follow up with a personalized treatment plan

Pretty woman squeezing her acne
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels

Acne can cause emotional and physical trauma. This skin disease comprises blemishes that can occur on the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest. While it is very common during the teenage years, it can affect people during adulthood as well.

The human body depends on sebaceous glands to keep the hair and skin lubricated. These sebaceous glands are located under the skin and produce sebum. Sebum tends to coat our skin and hair to prevent them from drying out.

Sebum comes out through the pores onto the surface of the skin. While our hair follicles shed dead skin in a routine, sebum carries the dead skin out of the body. When the body produces extra sebum, the sebum, and dead skin cells can stick together and cause clogged pores.

Subsequently, these clogged pores result in skin blemishes. Bacteria naturally exist in small amounts on the skin, and in the presence of clogged pores, the bacteria can flourish in the sebum of the clogged pores, causing inflammation.

Depending on the location of the clogged pores, the inflammation can appear in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. Pimples are inflamed follicles clogged with pus. Then there are larger pimples, also known as cysts, which are pus-filled lumps with their roots deep under the skin.

Can You Treat Acne?

Now that we have a general view of what acne is all about, let us assess the important question of whether or not it is treatable. And the short answer to this is yes. If you have acne and you don’t have a dermatologist in your area, you can opt for online telehealth and book an appointment with a skin specialist to get your condition assessed and proceed to the next level of treatment.

First things first, acne is a common occurrence, as 80% of people get it at some point in their lives. And with the various subtypes of acne, there is no magic bullet to treat acne overnight. So, you will want to start with a correct diagnosis and follow up with a personalized treatment plan.

Of course, home remedies could potentially help in treating acne that might have occurred overnight without a serious cause. However, we recommend getting a doctor’s opinion before any treatment.

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Potential Causes of Acne

There are several factors that might contribute to acne, including the following:

Hormonal Changes

A potential increase in one’s testosterone level can cause an overproduction of sebum, which can cause inflammatory skin. This is also the general reason for acne to occur in one’s teen years. However, hormonal changes can occur in adulthood as well, which is why acne can occur at any age.


Usually, when blocked hair follicles become infected with bacteria, they can cause cysts and bumps underneath the skin surface.


A variety of medicines can cause acne, especially when they affect the immune system.


Your genes can also play a crucial role in how easy and fast your pores can clog. It might be part of your genetic setup to overproduce sebum and shed dead skin cells, which can cause frequent breakouts.

Potential Remedies for Acne

If you are experiencing a mild case of acne, your healthcare provider might recommend you take salicylic acid or an over-the-counter lotion with several acne-fighting ingredients. For instance, benzoyl peroxide is an active ingredient that can kill acne-causing bacteria. This ingredient can also dry excess oil and remove the skin cells that cause clogged pores.

When it comes to salicylic acid, it slows the loss of skin cells and prevents clogged pores. Salicylic acid also helps with breaking down blackheads and whiteheads.

Other anti-acne ingredients are alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid, that are effective for removing dead skin cells and reducing skin inflammation. Lactic acid is also effective for stimulating new skin growth and helping you get smoother skin.

Another anti-acne ingredient is sulfur, which helps with removing dead skin cells and drying out excessive oil.

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Potential Medications for Acne

Depending on the severity of one’s acne, the doctor might recommend a topical application of Vitamin A, which is effective for reducing the buildup of dead skin cells in the pores. They might recommend topical antibiotics that are specific for killing bacteria from the skin.

A combination of antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide is also found effective for treating moderate to severe acne. However, in some cases, doctors prescribe oral medications alone or combine oral meds with topical treatments.

The oral meds can include oral antibiotics that are effective for reducing inflammation and killing bacteria. For the more severe acne cases, doctors might recommend isotretinoin to be applied to the affected area.

For painful pimples, a corticosteroid injection might be administered to help with relieving pain and clearing up the affected area. Women might get a recommendation for birth control pills to help minimize the effects of testosterone.

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