A Look at the Types, Causes and Treatments for Pimples

The most common types of pimples found in young adults are whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules, with papules (often called acne cysts) being most common in older individuals.

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Pimples on the back and chest are usually more severe than those on the face. PHOTO via @AdobeStock

Pimples are caused by the inflammation of your sebaceous glands. This can be due to stress, excessive oil production, clogging of pores by cosmetics or dirt, or irritating substances such as sweat that comes into contact with your skin.

Let’s take a look at the causes and treatments for pimples.

Skin irritation is a major cause of acne breakouts so using an acne treatment like tea tree oil is important in lessening problem skin conditions. Topical ointments containing benzoyl peroxide can help reduce the severity and number of breakouts if they are used long-term.

If your acne is mild to moderate, you can use a non-prescription organic salicylic acid acne treatment that can help reduce the number of breakouts and is safe to use over your entire body.

Pimples on the back and chest are usually more severe than those on the face. This is because they are caused by sebaceous glands that cover the majority of the back and chest as well as other parts of the body, including the knees.

Filipino skin has a high sensitivity to water retention, leading to more pimples than Caucasian skin, which has a higher resistance mechanism against this problem. As a result, Filipinos tend to have a more active immune system compared to Caucasians (higher b-defensin levels).

So what causes these reactions? The main cause for Filipinos is always water retention that is why they tend to have more oil on their skin, clogged pores due to the high sensitivity of the skin.

Also, pollution can be a cause as well. These glands are directly affected by pollutants and heavy metals that get absorbed by our skin and then transferred into our blood.

The most common types of pimples found in young adults are whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules, with papules (often called acne cysts) being most common in older individuals. Newer research shows the location of the lesions may help distinguish between different types of acne. For example, pustules are only found on the face. The bottom line is that many types of acne can occur in any part of the body.

The following treatments will help you treat your pimples faster and effectively:

#1. Laser treatment

To treat pimples more quickly, Lasers have become one of the most popular choices for skincare. Lasers are known to be very effective in killing bacteria and their ability to reduce the size of acne lesions is a direct result of the speed at which this procedure can be done.

Using lasers is very safe and requires a little bit of technique but once you know how to do it, your treatments will be easy. Laser treatment is done on a schedule of every three to four weeks.

There are several different lasers for skin that can be used and most dermatologists have used one or more of them in their practice.

#2. Ice cube

Ice cubes are ideal for a pimples treatment.

Rubbing ice cubes on the pimples can temporarily reduce swelling and minimize the appearance of the pimple. This method also helps slow down blood flow, which reduces redness and swelling. It is advisable to freeze an ice cube for at least five minutes before use.

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#3. Herbal remedies

Herbal remedies help treat acne. The most common herbal remedy is turmeric, which is a herb with anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply it to the blemishes and leave it on overnight.

Alternatively, you can simply use a glass of hot milk and add turmeric powder to it before drinking it down. This will help you reduce irritation and inflammation as well as speed up the healing of the pimple.

Tea tree oil or onion juice also works well together with tea tree oil. Both of these are home remedies that will greatly speed up the healing process of pimples.

#4. Use facial masks

You can also use facial masks to get quick results. Mix together half a teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of finely grated cucumber and enough yoghurt to create a paste. Apply this mixture to the affected area and allow it to dry for about 20 minutes.

Wash it off with lukewarm water. This will reduce redness and swelling as well as help keep the affected area moist so that the pimple heals faster.

With acne, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The key is knowing what causes you or your loved one’s acne before you take action to treat it.

#5. Avoid touching your face

Avoid touching your face, especially picking at blemishes or squeezing pimples. This can spread bacteria from one part of your face to another.

#6. Avoid makeup

Avoiding makeup as much as possible is advised because makeup can clog pores and cause acne. There are alternatives to make up for those who want to wear them (non-comedogenic makeups), which means they do not clog pores. If you must wear makeup, look for these non-comedogenic types so they don’t worsen acne.

Also, it’s important to completely remove the foundation from your face before going to bed at night as it continues to clog your pores while you sleep.

#7. Don’t pop your pimples

Don’t pop your pimples or pick at your blemishes. This can cause scarring and can spread bacteria to other parts of the face.

#8. Body care products

Body care products, such as soaps, deodorant and certain shampoos can cause acne. Also, make sure to read labels on any hair-care product as they may also contain ingredients that cause acne. If you want to continue using these types of products, be sure to thoroughly cleanse your face after use.

If you have acne especially around the jawline and chin area, avoid wearing tight neckties that may rub against the skin and irritate it further.

If you wear cosmetics such as foundation, check the ingredients sheet for a list of preservatives that may be causing your acne. To help, simply replace these ingredients with those that are non-comedogenic.

#9. Keep the skin free from friction

Keep the skin free from excess friction. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin since rubs, razors and friction will all cause irritation and make it more susceptible to breakouts. This also includes excessive or unnecessary washing of the face, such as with harsh soaps.

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One of the best ways to prevent acne is to keep your face free from dirt, grease or dust which can cause irritation and inflammation.

#10. Avoid food that causes acne

Avoid food and drinks that cause acne. These include caffeine, sodas and foods that contain sugar. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, rice, flour, and potatoes can cause acne in those who are sensitive to them.

Acne is very common in teenagers because of the increased hormone levels. Fortunately, there are several ways to help young people deal with the appearance and pain of pimples.

Use an exfoliating cleanser twice a day to gently remove dead skin cells and other impurities from the face so pores can stay clear. Use a moisturizer on your face after cleansing it to keep the skin hydrated.

#11. Avoid any acne medications

Avoid using any acne medications that contain benzoyl peroxide. This may actually cause more inflammation in the skin, which will make your pimples appear worse.

Elevate the bed by four to six inches on wooden blocks to improve air circulation around the body, which helps prevent and treat acne.

BONUS: Make sure not to use any harsh scrubs or products that may irritate or dry out your skin especially around the chin area as this can cause clogged pores and result in breakouts. Use a mild cleansing cream once or twice a day for normal facial skin and up to three times daily for oily or problem-prone skin.

#12. Use makeup that is oil-free

Choose makeup that is oil-free and non-comedogenic. Never touch the face or use the hands to apply makeup as this can spread bacteria to the face. Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands, which may contain bacteria that cause breakouts. When you wash your face, always pat it dry gently.

Never share make-up with others, particularly those who have acne as using someone else’s products can cause infection in your skin.

See your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis of breakouts and talk about treatment options that are most suitable for you. He may prescribe oral antibiotics or topical medications, depending on the type of acne that you have.

In addition to the medications prescribed by your doctor, you can do the following to prevent acne from flaring up: Avoid touching and scrubbing your face. Never pick at pimples. Wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from sun damage that can cause breakouts in the future.

Skin cancer is more common among those with acne because of the damage and inflammation that occur during acne outbreaks.

Acne usually goes away after adolescence; however, it can persist into adulthood and even appear in middle age if proper treatment is not given or is prone to frequent flare-ups despite maintaining a good hygiene regimen.

This kind of acne is known as adult-onset acne.

Acne can affect anyone, though it occurs more often in teenagers and young adults. It’s also more likely to occur if the skin is oily or has a tendency to become dry (exfoliated).

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What Causes Acne?

The skin has several layers: The epidermis is the outermost layer, and it’s made up of dead skin cells. The dermis below the epidermis contains living cells. When the oil glands inside your sebaceous glands become clogged, bacteria attached to dead skin cells can enter and multiply rapidly.

A buildup of a waste product called sebum then mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria to make dark-coloured spots or pimples called comedones. Whiteheads, blackheads, and pustules are all types of comedones.

Acne is often called “the curse of puberty” because it most commonly appears on the face at this time. That’s when male sex hormones trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum which can clog the openings to the hair follicles.

The glandular tissue inside then produces a sticky fluid that forms a plug inside the follicle, causing pressure and irritation. Bacteria then break down this material to make an oily substance called puss that’s yellow or white in colour.

In some cases, the hair follicle may rupture and cause inflammation beneath the skin — leading to redness and swelling of surrounding tissues.

Pimples often occur on the face, neck, chest, and shoulders. The severity of acne can vary from mild to severe. Acne usually clears up as you reach your 20s during adulthood. It’s possible to have acne in your 30s and beyond.

How Is Acne Treated?

Treatment depends on how severe your acne is and whether or not it causes symptoms (such as pain, tenderness, or swelling). Mild acne may go away on its own with proper skincare (washing with mild soaps that are non-comedogenic). In fact, over time most people get better without treatment.

Acne may also be treated with:

  1. Topical medications, such as retinoids (such as Retin-A), benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. These products are often available over-the-counter and can be used on mild acne. Some topical products that work well for acne are the “3-step system”: The first step is an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your face. The second step is a cleanser to wash away oil and dirt. Finally, there’s a lotion or gel (or a combination of both) that contains medication to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.
  2. Oral medications, such as antibiotics and birth control pills.
  3. In severe cases of acne, your dermatologist may inject a chemical called a retinoid directly into your skin to unblock the pores. It’s also possible to remove deep blackheads with this type of treatment.
  4. Recent advances in prescription medications for acne have made it easier to treat all types of acne. These include: Antibiotics, such as doxycycline or tetracycline, are commonly used to treat adults and teenagers with moderate acne vulgaris: These drugs are usually taken once or twice a day for 6-to-12 weeks.
Musasi Isaac Christopher

An aspiring Lifestyle blogger who specializes in health, food and restaurant sectors. WhatsApp me on +256759100143.

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