Acne & Pimples


Acne is a medical condition characterised by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cysts, usually affecting the face, back and chest. It is triggered by hormonal changes associated with puberty and usually begins in the teenage years. Acne often resolves after 8-10years. More severe cases can lead to permanent scarring. Self-help strategies for acne include avoiding squeezing acne lesions, using a mild skin-cleansing regimen, eating a healthy diet and avoiding overexposure to the sun.

More severe cases of acne need a proper examination and consultation.

Types of Acne

Mild Acne

The most common type of acne. Characterized by:

Whiteheads – Occur when a pore gets completely blocked. Oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped inside. This causes a white acne pimple on the surface.

Blackheads – Occur when a pore is only partially blocked. Oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells still get trapped, but some seep to the surface, reacting with oxygen and turning blackish in color. Contrary to popular belief, the color has nothing to do with dirt being trapped inside.

Moderate Acne

The most common type of acne. Characterized by:

Papules – Tiny, sensitive, tender, and inflamed bumps on the skin. Can cause scarring if you attempt to pop or pick these.

Pustules – Similar to a whitehead, pustules are pus-laden, and inflamed. Looks like a red circle with a white or yellow dot in the middle.

Severe Acne

Scarring is more common and severe with this acne type. Severe acne is characterized by:

Nodules – This severe type of acne consists of large, hard boils deep under the skin. These boils are much larger than the lesions you typically see in mild forms of acne, and can be painful.

Cysts – Known as cystic acne, looks like a nodule. The cysts are filled with pus. Cystic acne is known for causing scarring.

Hormonal acne

Acne whose onset is mainly caused by hormones goes by the specific name of hormonal acne. Hormonal acne may not respond to traditional acne medications and treatments. Topical retinoids and systemic or topical antibiotics may not have any effect or limited effect on the acne.

There are several signs that can be used to tell if acne is hormonal acne:

  • Getting acne mainly as an adult. If a person did not have acne or very little acne as a teen, and then gets a huge acne breakout later in adulthood.
  • Acne breakouts or flare-ups before the menstrual cycle.
  • Unresponsive treatment from normal acne medications.
  • Worsening of the acne during pregnancy or menstruation.
  • Irregular menstruations.
  • Increase in oil on the face
  • Excessive hair growth or hair growth in unusual places. This is known as hirsutism.
  • Acne flares up again after it was cured over 6 months before.
  • Darkening of the skin around the armpits and body fold.
  • An increased level of androgens in the blood.