Acne and Inflammation
Inflammation underlies all forms of acne; however, the terms are often used to distinguish acne that is visibly red and sore from acne that is not. Additionally, inflammatory acne generally describes more severe acne breakouts that become infected with bacteria and don't heal by themselves but instead progress to become swollen and may burst on their own, forming even larger lesions called pustules, nodules, or cysts. Even when acne doesn't appear red, inflamed, or swollen, research has confirmed that inflammation is present and is a triggering factor in the development of acne.
How To Identify Types of Pimples?
- WHITEHEADS - A closed, clogged pore filled with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria.
- BLACKHEADS - An open, clogged pore that have trapped oil and due to oxidation, it turns black.
- PAPULES - Small red/pink bumps that do not contain fluids or pus.
- PUSTULES - Pus-filled bumps with a red base. Sizes vary depending on inflammation.
- NODULES/CYSTS - Large, painful pimples deep in the skin. This is a severe form of acne, and a dermatologist should be consulted.
What Is Purging?
Purging, though not a diagnosis or medically recognized term, is commonly used to describe the increased cell turnover that occurs when a new skincare ingredient, such as a hydroxy acid or retinoid-containing product is introduced into a skincare routine.
Am I Purging or Is this Product Breaking Me Out?
Purging can appear like a new acne breakout but it's the skin shedding its outermost layers and clearing out the excess oil already accumulated, just at a faster rate. Purging also tends to involve the whole face at once rather than only in one area at a time, as is more typical of a regular acne breakout. Those with severe acne are more prone to experiencing purging. In these individuals, because there are already higher levels of inflammation the purging process can trigger an flareup of inflammation.
Another way to distinguish purging from regular breakouts is their duration. The effects of purging usually resolve within a month while acne is a chronic condition lasting months or years.
How Can I Treat and Prevent Purging?
Purging is a sign that a skincare product is working. However, it can be alarming and uncomfortable and cause further irritation. To reduce purging symptoms, try to avoid overly concentrated ingredients and combining too many active ingredients or treatments and oil-based cosmetics and sunscreens.
Blackheads are a type of acne that occurs when excess oil forms a plug at the opening of a pore. The plug prevents the oil from leaving the pore, so it continues to build up, along with dead skin cells, bacteria, and other debris. The dark appearance of blackheads results when the melanin from the dead skin cells oxidizes[4,5]. Blackheads look like enlarged, dark pores resembling black dots on the skin.
Blackheads can be treated and prevented by keeping the skin clean and preventing buildup of oils via:
Myths & Expert Tips
Acne is purely genetic
Tanning is a good way to clear up acne breakouts
Washing multiple times per day can clear up acne
Popping acne pimples speeds the healing process
While genetics plays a role, it's possible to control genetically-induced acne with healthy lifestyle choices like eating well, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep.
Tanning harms the skin and dries it, which can promote or irritate acne.
Too frequent cleansing removes protective oils, overly drying the skin and impairing the skin's natural barrier, which promotes more breakouts. Wash the face no more than twice per day.
Popping pimples can push the bacteria further down into the skin, resulting in greater infection and potential scarring.
When to Talk to Your Dermatologist
If at-home treatment doesn't improve blackheads, whiteheads and other types of acne in six to eight weeks, you should seek the help of a dermatologist.
Your dermatologist might recommend a prescription acne treatment or an acne treatment available over-the-counter (OTC).
How To Treat Acne?
Glytone solutions are formulated with gold-standard actives to address every stage of acne. Use these products to help break the breakout cycle.