This is a common skin condition that provokes pimples. They usually are located on the face. However, these pimples may appear on your back and other parts of your body. Clogged pores usually provoke acne. Young adults and teenagers are more likely to develop this skin condition. In any case, many people experience this skin disease during adulthood. Fortunately, different treatment options are available to treat acne and prevent your skin from scarring.

What is Acne?

A skin disease in which pores of the skin clog and cause blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of pimples. In most cases, these pimples are pus-filled, painful, and bumps on your skin. Acne vulgaris is the medical name of acne.

Types of Acne

Check below several types of acne:

  • Nodular Acne – This is a severe form of this skin condition. It provokes pimples on your skin and nodular lumps under the skin.
  • Hormonal Acne – People in adulthood who have an increased production of sebum, may notice clogged pores, which usually is considered hormonal acne.
  • Cystic Acne – This type of acne can cause scars due to deep pus-filled nodules and pimples.
  • Fungal Acne (Pityrosporum Folliculitis) – It occurs when yeast builds up in your hair follicles. In addition, these can be inflamed and itchy.

If you leave this skin disease untreated, it may negatively affect your self-esteem and permanent skin damage. If you suspect you have acne, it is advised to consult your healthcare provider for a suitable treatment.

Additionally, this is the most common skin condition that usually affects roughly 80% of people aged between 11 to 30 years old. Adult acne is usually noticed in females and people assigned to females at birth (AFAB).

Where on My Body Can Appear Acne Pimples?

Check below the most common places where pimples can appear:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Upper back
  • Forehead
  • Face

Commonly, acne appears in the locations where oil glands exist the most.


Check below the common symptoms of acne:

  • Papules (small discolored bumps)
  • Blackheads (plugged pores with a black top)
  • Whiteheads (plugged pores with a white top)
  • Pimples
  • Nodules (these are large bumps under your skin that are usually painful)
  • Cystic (fluid-filled (pus) and painful lumps under the skin)

Mild Acne – Commonly provokes few pimples.

Moderate Acne – If you experience this type of acne, you may notice inflammatory papules.

Severe Acne – This type of acne provokes cysts and nodules.


The main causes of acne are clogged hair follicles and pores. There are different glands that empty into your hair follicles and when it is too much material inside these hair follicles, a clog occurs. Check below with what your pores or hair follicles can clog:

  • Dead Skin Cells – These cells may stuck in your hair follicles causing them to clog.
  • Bacteria – An increased amount of bacteria can also clog your pores or hair follicles.
  • Sebum – This is an oily protective substance of your skin.

In case your pores or hair follicles are clogged, it leads to pimples. This effect triggers inflammation that you may notice as swelling and pain or redness around a pimple.

Triggers of Acne

There are different things in your environment that may increase the risk of acne or make worse an existing one. Check below some examples:

  • A side effect of a medicine
  • Stress
  • Regular use of personal care products including heavy lotions, creams, and others
  • Air pollution and some weather conditions (including high humidity)
  • Some thigh-fitting clothes and headgear (such as sports helmets and hats)

Furthermore, check below certain foods that may cause acne:

  • Skim milk
  • Whey protein
  • Diets high in sugar

Chocolate is not directly linked with acne while high-sugar diets can provoke acne. In any case, to decrease the risk of acne, it is advised to adopt a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, Vitamin C and beta-carotene products help to lessen inflammation.

Hormones and Acne

This skin disease is commonly a hormonal condition caused by androgen hormones (Testosterone). It usually becomes active during teenage or young adulthood. Therefore, sensitivity to this hormone combined with certain surface bacteria and other substances on your skin can lead to acne outcomes.


Healthcare professionals usually diagnose this condition during skin exam. Moreover, they may ask some questions about risk factors. For example:

  • Do you notice breakouts during your menstrual cycle? (If you are a woman or AFAB)
  • What medicines do you currently use?
  • Do you have a family history of acne?
  • Are you feeling stressed?

A dermatologist or general healthcare provider can treat this skin disease. If you follow a treatment and there are no improvements, a dermatologist can help you.

How Severe Can Acne Get?

Check below 4 grades of acne severity ranked by dermatologists:

  • Grade 1 – A few pustules or papules and mostly black and whiteheads.
  • Grade 2 – This grade is also called moderate or pustular acne. In this case, an individual notices multiple pustules and papules, especially on the face.
  • Grade 3 – Many pustules and papules alongside inflamed nodules. Your chest and back could also be affected. This type of acne is also called moderately severe or nodulocystic acne.
  • Grade 4 (Severe Nodulocystic Acne) – Multiple painful, inflamed, and large pustules and nodules.


If you suffer from this skin disease, there are different treatment options available. Usually, the treatment is based on your response to therapy, age, weight, and others. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral or topical medicines to treat this condition.

Topical Acne Medicines

Commonly, topical medicines are prescribed by doctors to treat your skin. Check below what ingredients topical drugs often contain:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives)
  • Antibiotics
  • Dapsone (a topical medication with antibacterial properties)

Oral Acne Medicines

Oral drugs are usually used in combination with topical medicines in the treatment of this skin condition. Check below some examples of oral acne medications:

  • Antibiotics (including Tetracycline, Minocycline, and Doxycycline)
  • Isotretinoin (it is used to shrink oil glands, which helps to prevent clog of the pores and hair follicles)
  • Contraceptives
  • Hormone Therapy (this therapy is usually used during menstruation or irregular periods)

Acne Therapies

The following therapies are often prescribed by doctors in case oral and topical medicines are not enough. It means you do not see any improvements in your disease. Examples include:

  • Chemical Peels – Some special chemicals help to remove the top layer of your old skin. Thus, helps new skin grow and can reduce acne scars.
  • Lasers – There are light and laser therapies that help in the treatment of acne scars.
  • Steroids – These are injections used in the treatment of severe forms of acne. Injections are administered directly into large nodules to lessen inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are acne treatments safe for use during pregnancy?

There are safe treatments for this skin disease during pregnancy but not all. Discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant and experience acne.

How long it takes for acne to go away?

Commonly, it takes between one to two weeks for acne pimples to go away on their own. In severe cases, it may take several weeks even along suitable treatment. Discuss with your doctor for more details.

How can I prevent acne?

Check below some steps that may help you to prevent acne:

  • Use oil-free moisturizer
  • Regular wash your face with warm water and facial cleanser
  • Try to keep away your hands from your face
  • Wear non-comedogenic makeup products and remove your makeup at the end of each day

Non-comedogenic products are products that do not clog your pores.

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