All About Acne: Types, Triggers, and When to See a Professional

Around 50 million Americans are affected by acne each year, which means some of you reading this blog may be dealing with it. Since June is Acne Awareness Month, we’re going back to the basics of acne and talking about the types, triggers, and when to see a professional.

Acne Types

Male with acne

Acne occurs when the hair follicles under the skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells and form what we know as a pimple. These often appear on the face, back, chest, and shoulders. Acne causes several types of enlarged or plugged hair follicles, known as comedones. These include:

  • Whiteheads: Whiteheads stay beneath the skin and look like a white bump.
  • Blackheads: Blackheads appear on the surface of the skin and open up. They look black on the skin surface because the air discolors the oil and other contents inside.
  • Papules: Inflamed bumps that are typically small, pink, and can be painful.
  • Pustules or pimples: Bumps that are white on the top or filled with pus may be red at the base.
  • Nodules: Nodules are large, solid, painful bumps located deep within the skin.
  • Cystic acne: Cystic type acne is also painful and located deep in the skin. However, they also have pus in them too.

What Triggers Acne?

Though we are still learning more about why some individuals are more prone to acne than others, several known factors can worsen existing acne or increase your risk of developing it. These include:

  • Having a family history of acne
  • Hormonal fluctuations such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  • Certain medications like steroids, lithium, and some that treat epilepsy
  • Frequently wearing items that place pressure on an area of the skin affected by acne, such as a backpack
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Acne Can Affect More than Your Physical Appearance

Woman with acne

June also kicks off Men’s Health Month, and its purpose is to create awareness of the health issues men face. How is this relevant in an acne blog? For example, chronic acne can not only be painful and bothersome physically, but it can also affect you socially and emotionally. In men, chronic acne can also be a warning sign from an underlying condition you may not be aware of. Therefore, anyone (no matter the gender) struggling with keeping their acne under control at home should see a dermatologist for help.

Dermatologists specialize in caring for the skin and the conditions that affect it. They can quickly diagnose skin conditions and stay abreast of the best treatments for these reasons. Got acne? At Texas Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists work with you to develop a treatment plan that is safe and effective.

Dont face acne alone

Contact us today at (210) 829-5180 to schedule your appointment or submit a request online.

Sources:

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/really-acne/overview