Every Woman’s Battle: Knowing the 4 Types of Acne and their Treatments

Punching woman

It is every woman’s greatest enemy. And because of it being so naturally caused by inescapable internal factors such as hormonal changes (oh how we hate our hormones sometimes) and a few external factors that will always be there surrounding us every waking day, their growth is certain.

Pimple burst outWho’s my enemy?

Acne—unstoppable natural little bumps that terrorize our smooth faces. They love to set up camps in our T-zones and other facial areas. They are definitely uninvited but they love to welcome themselves anyway and they keep on coming back, sometimes choosing to stay for like forever. To all ladies out there, no matter how hopeless your acne issues might be, raising your white flags is an absolute no-no. You are going to fight because there is still hope. You just need a little bit of perspective.

AcnesWhy do I have acne?

In every battle, a victor’s technique is always in getting to know the enemy first. If you think that you are only up against one specie, think again. There are different types of acne and knowing each one of them very carefully will give you an idea as to how to properly treat them. You need to know as well that acne is a very normal skin condition. Everybody has it! And it grows on your face because of various reasons. Commonly, due to inevitable hormonal changes.

When we were still in grade school, our faces have never been such a problem until we reached puberty and our hormones started to hype up. Hairs started to grow in hidden areas of our bodies and chests start to mount up. We also get to learn what tampons and napkins are and begin to use them monthly. And then tada! We also get to have new “friends” (or so we thought) that appear every once in a while in our faces.

Aside from puberty, hormonal changes are also caused by menstrual cycles and stresses. So don’t worry too much or more worry will come upon you and your face. Unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet are also some factors. When we don’t get enough sleep; when we drink and smoke too much; and when we eat unhealthily, expect to have acne as well.

But very commonly, we have acne because of clogged pores. Our sebaceous glands produce an excess of oil that clog our facial hair follicle and with bacteria and dead skin cells on our faces setting in as well, we get to have the perfect recipe for acne! And they go by different types. Let me introduce you to each one of them and give you a few ways on how to treat them on your own.

Wash FaceWhiteheads

These are small white bumps on your face that grow because oil secretions, dead skin cells and bacteria pile up and clog your facial pores. They make your skin look rough and are very annoying to touch. Whiteheads are known to dermatologists as “closed comedo” because they block pores. They usually grow on your nose, chin and forehead but can also grow in other parts of your body such as chest, back, shoulders and arms. Whiteheads are very common and almost everyone has encountered this type of acne. Both men and women of all ages have experienced and can experience having whiteheads.

They are the mildest form of acne and can be treated relatively easy. You can try following these steps:

  1. Wash your face with facial cleansers that suit your skin type. Do not over wash or over scrub because they may worsen your acne. Pat your face dry.
  2. Apply over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide help reduce oil production and works as an anti-bacteria. Salicylic acid dry up and break down acne. It is very important to test the products that you use and if itching, redness or burning occurs, discontinue using them.
  3. Apply tea tree oil twice a day. Tea tree oil helps relieve your pores from inflammation. Again, if it causes negative effects on your skin, discontinue using it.

Mud PackBlackheads

The next type of acne are blackheads. They are like whiteheads but very distinguishable because as its name implies, they are black! They are caused by clogged pores due to oil secretion and dead skin cells that doesn’t shed off normally. They are very stubborn and do not come off as easily because they are clogged deep down, reason why you’re pore strips don’t really work that much. Scrubs are also not that effective because they only scrub off the surface area of your face. When you are dealing with blackheads issue, you need to remember these two important things: (1) shed off dead facial skin cells and (2) reduce and absorb oil. Here are a few tips you can try in order to get rid of your stubborn blackheads:

  1. Wash you face with facial cleansers that suit your skin type. Do not over wash or over scrub because they may worsen your acne. Pat your face dry.
  2. Use a well-formulated and non-irritant BHA salicylic acid exfoliate.
  3. Avoid using greasy moisturizers
  4. Constantly blot oil from your face by using oil blotting papers or non-irritating clay masks.

PimplePapules and pustules

These are moderate types of acne that are usually seen as reddish bumps surrounded by inflammation (papules) and reddish bumps with either white or yellow pus at the center surrounded as well with inflammation (pustules). They are caused by a blockage in the facial pores as well due to excess sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells accumulating. Here’s how to treat these nasty little red army:

  1. Do not squeeze them! Papules and pustules do not easily go away but we hate them so much and we want to get rid of them. We definitely don’t need them on our Friday night out so we try to find ways in removing them overnight. And what better solution but to do a little bit of squeezing right? However this might leave scars on your face, adding up to your problem.
  2. Wash your face with facial cleansers that suit your skin type. Do not over wash or over scrub because they may worsen your acne. Pat your face dry.
  3. Use a non-irritating toner (preferably with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid) to clean out dirt that wasn’t taken off during washing.
  4. Use herbal anti-inflammatory extracts to reduce swelling such as tea tree and green tea oil, ginger, aloe vera, lemon, honey, dong quai and gum guggul.

TreatmentCysts

Cysts are like papules and pustules, only larger. They swell, hurt and itch a lot. They are the worst type of acne you can have because they are very much evident, tend to stay longer and can possibly burst causing more acne. But don’t worry because like the other first three, no matter how big cystic acnes are, they can definitely be treated. Here’s how:

  1. Follow the steps in treating papules and pustules.
  2. With proper prescription from your dermatologist, take oral antibiotics and isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is an oral antibiotic that directly changes the shape of your oil gland, reducing oil secretion.
  3. Still with advice from your dermatologist, have PTD or Photodynamic Therapy. This is a procedure that involves topical application of a photosensitizing cream and controlled and repeated blue or red LED light exposure. Researchers have recently observed positive effects of treating cystic acne through PTD.