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What type of acne is this and how do I treat it?

Acne. It’s complicated, frustrating and very annoying, but almost 85% of people will experience it at some point in their lives. Since acne is so common, you think it would be easy to understand what type of acne you are experiencing, what’s causing it, and how to treat it. But... walk into any drugstore and you will soon be overwhelmed with dozens of options! Read on to learn more about what causes acne and how to treat YOUR breakouts.

So what exactly is acne?

Acne is a skin-disease that starts in the hair follicle when the follicle becomes clogged with dead skin cells and oil. Acne can typically be classified as either non-inflammatory or inflammatory acne. Non-inflammatory acne consists of blackheads (open comedones) and whiteheads (closed comedones). Blackheads occur when a pore is clogged but the top of the pore stays open, resulting in the characteristic black color seen on the surface. Whiteheads also form when sebum and dead skin cells clog a pore, but unlike blackheads, the top of the pore closes up resulting in a small bump protruding from the skin.

Clogged pores are the perfect microenvironment for the skin bacterium C. acnes to thrive and multiply. When these bacteria that are usually harmless on the skin infect clogged pores, inflammatory acne can occur. Papules, pustules, nodules and cysts are all forms of inflammatory acne. Papules and pustules occur when the walls surrounding your pores break down from inflammation. Papules are generally hard, clogged pores that are tender to the touch and usually pink in color, whereas, pustules are filled with pus and are typically red in color with a yellow or white bump on top. Nodules occur when the acne lesion becomes even larger and more inflamed and resides deeper under the skin than papules and pustules. Cysts are even more severe than nodules and reside deeper under the skin.

Treating non-inflammatory acne

Consistent use of topical treatments is best for treating blackheads and whiteheads. Topical treatments containing AHA’s and BHA’s like glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid that remove excess oil from the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells should be used daily. These exfoliants not only remove blackheads and whiteheads, but they also prevent future ones from forming. Dermala’s SCANTILY Pad AM/PM Acne Treatment Pads are formulated with a combination of salicylic acid and our SE Microbiome Complex to provide daily exfoliation for your skin.

Treating inflammatory acne

Topical treatments to remove oil and dead skin cells should also be used on a daily basis for papules and pustules. Additionally, antibacterial treatments like benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics or Dermala’s SE Microbiome Complex should be used to kill excess bacteria in the follicle. However, unlike antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide, Dermala’s SE Microbiome Complex is naturally derived from the good microbes on your skin and specifically kills the acne-causing bacteria without irritating side effects. It can also be helpful to take probiotics when dealing with inflammatory acne. Probiotics help balance your gut microbiome, which can reduce system-wide inflammation. 

How long does it take to see improvement? 

Each person responds to acne treatments differently, but in general, results can take anywhere from 1 week to 3 months to see improvements. In order to see any improvements with acne, it’s so important to consistently use your products. It’s also important to note that your environment can contribute to breakouts if you have acne-prone skin. Different foods you eat, makeup or conditioners you use, or how often you clean your sheets are all factors that can contribute to breakouts. That’s why we recommend using our Dermala Acne Tracker App to take note of different daily activities that either worsen or improve your acne. This will ensure that you get the best results out of your acne treatment!

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