You’ve probably heard the term ‘acne prone’ a lot, but what does it actually mean?
Acne prone skin is skin which breakouts happen more easily and more often. And, unfortunately, it’s not a simple skin type that will just “go away on its own.” Instead, acne prone skin requires consistent treatment or care over a number of months or years to manage it effectively.
If one has acne prone skin then this means that a number of factors are causing the skin to break out. Breakouts happen when your oil glands produce too much sebum and dead skin cells are not shed properly. This results in your pores (hair follicles) getting blocked with oil, dead skin and bacteria, creating blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed pimples.
Once the pore is blocked it becomes deprived of oxygen, this, combined with sebum, is the best environment for acne bacteria to growth. If you are prone to acne then you’re more sensitive to acnes bacteria. The acnes bacteria colonise the duct in the plugged follicle and trigger inflammation.
To fight this overgrowth of bacteria, your skin starts to release inflammatory mediators, which make your skin appear red around your spots. Sometimes the follicle walls can rupture under the pressure too which can create pustules and papules.
The simplest way to understand acne is to break it into two parts—inflammatory and non inflammatory.
- Inflammatory acne is anything that has a red or more robust appearance. This could take many forms from severe cysts(a severe form of acne that develops deep under the skin) and nodules (abnormal tissue growths below the skin) to pustules (red bumps that contain fluids or pus) and papules (red bumps without yellow or white pus).
- Noninflammatory acne refers to clogged pores that look like whiteheads (small, skin-coloured bumps) and blackheads (these have a dark appearance and are flat against the skin.)
Pro Tip: To know which type of acne you suffer from, study your skin and research its condition. Before testing the remedy, however, it is better to consult a doctor to confirm which type of acne you suffer from.
Tips and tricks to treat and maintain acne prone skin
While skincare products are a huge help, just using those might not be completely effective. You would have to incorporate some cleansing and lifestyle changes. Here are a couple of things to try:
- Use a gentle cleanser which does not damage the skin’s natural moisture barrier and does not leave the skin dry after a wash.
- Clean your face gently, as trauma to the acne breakouts may worsen the acne or cause scarring. When washing your face, use your hands, as any other scrubbing material may cause acne sores to rupture.
- Keep your hands off... resist the temptation to pick at your acne-prone skin or pop pimples. It might lead to scarring and can transfer bacteria into the other pores of your skin, turning the bump into deep inflamed acne.
- Wash your hands before touching the face, as our hands are easiest carriers of bacteria’s to the face.
- Look for a moisturizer with skin restoring, lipid balancing and protective ingredients and apply every morning and evening. Moisturizing regularly will give your acne prone skin long lasting hydration and protect it against spot causing dirt and bacteria.
- For people who wear makeup use an oil-free foundation. Heavy makeup or other cosmetic products that block pores may cause a flare-up of acne.
- Using hard physical exfoliants or scrubbing harder doesn’t really help; rather, they cause irritation and redness.
- Use only noncomedogenic skincare products as comedogenic products will block pores and lead to break outs.
- Keep your skincare routines simple and effective.
- Drink at least 3-4 lts of water every day, hydrating can help in combating excess oil.
- Use products such as active serums which help in regulating sebum production.
Lastly, if your skin has a mind of its own and is not responding to topical applications in spite of using them for a consistent period of time, you might want to consider visiting a dermatologist at the earliest especially if you have severe acne. This condition would require aggressive treatment to prevent scarring.