8 Symptoms of Acne

Acne is the most common type of skin condition, affecting nearly 50 million people in the U.S. every year. This chronic inflammatory condition causes pimples and blemishes on the face, arms, back, shoulders, neck, and chest. While acne most often happens during puberty, it can happen at any age. For some, acne persists throughout adulthood. About 20% of all cases happen in adults. This condition comes in many forms, including cysts, pimples, nodules, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Hormones and genetics, not poor hygiene primarily cause this condition. Pimples and other symptoms initially develop during the teenage years when hormone levels rise and cause the skin glands to produce more sebum, an oily substance. Sebum is directly linked to breakouts. Sebum clogs pores, or the openings of hair follicles. Clogged pores become blackheads or whiteheads, both of which can develop into swollen inflammations or deeper nodules.

1. Pimples

A pimple is a tender, red bump filled with white or yellow pus and it’s one of the most common and annoying symptoms of acne. These spots are the result of oil and dead skin cells getting trapped in the pores. Most spots start forming weeks before they are visible, beginning with a blackhead or whitehead, which are made of hardened sebum within the pore. Eventually, blocked pores become inflamed due to the dead skin cells lining the hair follicle. When this clog gets large enough, it prevents oxygen from reaching inside the pore. Bacteria can now easily grow and create an infection. This infection causes a pimple. The skin will rupture and cause a painful red bump.

It’s important to avoid squeezing or popping a pimple as this can backfire. While it may help drain the infection, it can also displace it. Rather than coming to the surface, the infection can be forced deeper into the pore and lead to even more infection that lasts longer. Squeezing a pimple can also increase the risk of scarring. It’s usually recommended that you visit a dermatologist to pop a pimple correctly, especially if it’s painful. Mild pimples can be treated at home with over-the-counter products that dry out the surface of the skin and help destroy the infection.