Identifying and Understanding Breakouts

Breakouts can negatively affect one’s confidence, which may cause personal and social interactions to suffer, Often, there is a tendency to shrug off breakouts and not address the possible causes, but the best way to prevent and manage breakouts effectively is by knowing exactly what you are dealing with.

Different types of breakouts are caused by different factors; and require different types of treatment. The sooner you know and address your breakouts, the faster you’ll be able to improve your skin condition.

What are the common causes of breakouts?

Your skin’s pores have oil glands that produce a type of oil called sebum. Sebum hydrates and smoothens your skin, while acting as a layer of protection for it.

The main cause of acne is when your oil glands overproduce sebum. The excess oil then clogs your pores and a type of bacteria, called P. acnes, grows inside your skin’s hair follicles.

This can cause the following type of breakouts:

1) Comedones

A comedo is is a hair follicle that has been clogged with oil and dead skin. Comedones can develop into two types of bumps; blackheads and whiteheads.

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  • Whiteheads (closed comedones)
  • If the buildup of oil and bacteria does not have an opening to the surface of the skin, it becomes a small, hard, white bump called a whitehead. It looks just like a pimple, minus the redness and inflammation. Also, unlike a pimple, you cannot squeeze its contents out.

    Whiteheads can occur anywhere on your skin, but appear most commonly on the forehead, cheeks and under-eye area.

  • Blackheads (open Comedones)
  • While there isn’t really a cure for Comedones, you can treat or prevent them. Comedones tend to occur more in the skin of smokers than non-smokers. Studies have also proven that a diet that is high in sugar and fat may also contribute to comedonal acne. So, watch what you eat and avoid smoking.

    Overhydrated skin can also cause this type of acne. So, remember to exfoliate and be careful to not over-moisturise.

  • Treatment for Comedones
  • While there isn’t really a cure for Comedones, you can treat or prevent them. Comedones tend to occur more in the skin of smokers than non-smokers. Studies have also proven that a diet that is high in sugar and fat may also contribute to comedonal acne. So, watch what you eat and avoid smoking.

    Overhydrated skin can also cause this type of acne. So, remember to exfoliate and be careful to not over-moisturise.

2) Regular pimples (Papules)

When pimples become large and swollen, they’re called Pustules. This type of pimple resembles a whitehead head, but is normally pus-filled with a red ring around the inflammation.

3) Large Pimples (Pustules)

When pimples become large and swollen, they’re called Pustules. This type of pimple resembles a whitehead head, but is normally pus-filled with a red ring around the inflammation.

Treatment for Regular and large pimples
Most acne treatment products contain two key ingredients; Benzoyl peroxide and Salicylic acid.

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • This kills the bacteria P. acnes within the pimple, preventing it from multiplying; it also has exfoliating properties, which removes excess sebum and dead skin cells, to reduce clogging of the pores and decrease available food for bacteria growth.

  • Salicylic acid
  • Salicylic acid helps to unclog your pores by removing excess sebum and dead skin cells. This reduces clogging of the pores and decreases the available food for bacteria growth.

4) Painful pimples (Nodules & Cysts)

The most difficult type of acne to treat are nodules and cysts. These are the most painful and largest kind of pimples.

Nodules are large bumps developed deep within the skin that feel hard to the touch. Cysts on the other hand, feel soft and large, are pus-filled and look similar to boils.

Treatment for Nodules & Cysts
For both nodules and cysts, it is very important to consult your dermatologist; as there are no over-the-counter remedies for them.

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