Figuring out the right way to deal with acne is often an uphill task. Breakouts are an everyday challenge for some people. Yet, so many others see their pimples clear up with hardly any fuss. Does acne really go away on its own? Let’s unpack the answers.
When you have acne, the signs are hard to miss. Just hold up a mirror to check for the following types of blemishes:
- Whiteheads appear when excess oil and dead skin plug the opening of a pore. They look like raised or flesh-coloured spots. (Read our guide on how to remove whiteheads.)
- Blackheads resemble specks of dirt. Actually, this is not dirt at all. What you are seeing is a chemical reaction. The build-up of oil and dead skin cells in the pores turns black upon exposure to oxygen in the air.
- Pimples form when oil, dead skin, and bacteria get trapped inside the pores. As the bacteria multiply, the skin around the pore gets inflamed, and pimples appear. Some pimples may even contain pus.
- Nodules and cysts emerge when the inflammation around a clogged pore extends deep into the skin. Nodules are hard to the touch, whereas cysts are soft and filled with pus. Both are usually very painful.
(Know more about the different grades of acne and how to treat them.)
Snacking on candy or potato chips (in moderation!) may not cause you to break out. But some people are genetically prone to acne. Stress and anxiety can also lead to pimples. And sometimes those flares are the result of allergic reactions.
To understand why you are breaking out, let’s dive into the mechanics of how acne forms:
Sebaceous glands located under the skin produce a natural oil called sebum. When secreted in normal quantities, sebum lubricates the skin and keeps it supple. However, some hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce too much sebum. (Overactive hormones are why teens become acne-prone, as do pregnant women.)
Sebum travels through the hair follicles to reach tiny openings called pores on the surface of the skin. When excess sebum gets pumped out, dirt and dead skin cells stick to the oil and accumulate in the pores. The result? Whiteheads and blackheads.
Sometimes, acne-causing bacteria get trapped in the blocked pores. When they begin to multiply, immune cells arrive to fight the bacteria. This leads to inflammation of the surrounding skin, and inflammatory acne starts to develop.
The entire process of acne formation takes around one to two weeks. No pimple pops up overnight.
Acne, go away!
Most zits disappear on their own within a couple of weeks, though some may take more than a month to clear. Unfortunately for those with acne-prone skin, when one pimple disappears, two more show up somewhere else. Is that your experience as well? Then it’s time to get your skincare act together! Here’s what you need to do:
1. Cleanse: Your cleanser should remove stubborn build-up without dehydrating the skin. Not sure what to use? Check out Clearica Anti-Acne Cleanser—a creamy formula that gently unclogs pores and suits all skin types.
2. Tone: Soak a cotton ball with a toner that suits your skin. Rub all over your face and neck to restore the skin’s natural pH balance and remove stubborn debris. Toners also prep the skin to absorb the goodness of any treatments to follow.
3. Treat: Products that target only one or two acne symptoms are not very effective. What you need is a multi-faceted formula like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream. It reduces inflammation, eliminates acne bacteria, averts infection, and restores your natural glow.
4. Moisturise: Acne-prone skin absolutely needs hydration. Go for gel- or water-based products if your complexion is oily. Dry-skinned peeps can try creamier formulations. Massage in a small amount at the end of your skincare routine and let it absorb.
For best results, repeat this four-step routine twice daily, once in the morning and again at night.
- Worried that your makeup habit is aggravating the flares? You don’t have to ditch makeup completely. Just swap out your regular products for non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic cosmetics.
- Stop touching your face all the time. By doing so, you risk transferring germs from the hands to the face.
- Your pillowcases and cell phone could also transfer dirt and bacteria to the face. To be safe, wash your bed linen often and wipe down your phone every day.
Consult an expert
A consistent skincare regimen will ease mild-to-moderate breakouts within three months. But if you do not see any improvement or your acne worsens, meet with a dermatologist. Your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan that is tailored to your acne condition.
Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.