What You Can Learn About Yourself From Your Acne Breakouts

What You Can Learn About Yourself From Your Acne Breakouts


Is it a pustule or is it a pimple? Can you differentiate them from one another? Ever curious as to why you might only be breaking out on a certain area of your face?

One thing for sure is that not all acne is the same, such as when people have the usual discussion on acne vs pimples, and by the same logic, not all acne can be solved with the same treatment. As such, knowing these types of breakout basics will be very beneficial to help clear your skin!

Where there are oil glands, there might be an acne breakout!

This is especially so during puberty as your adrenal glands start to produce hormones that activate the oil glands. This then results in excess oil being secreted which could clog pores and trigger breakouts. Hence, this causes you to develop acne or even worsen acne on your face.

Additionally, acne persists because this excess oil makes your skin a breeding ground for bacteria. In fact, t zone acne and blackheads and whiteheads are usually triggered by excess oil production.

That’s why skin care for oily skin is important. Additionally, one of the most important things to remember if you suffer from any type of acne (eg. adult acne, hormonal acne etc.) is to always gently wash your face with the proper type of cleanser.

Some cleansers strip your skin of all its natural oils, causing your oil glands to produce excess oil to compensate for the lack of natural oils. In such cases, using a harsh cleanser is another reason why acne develops or more acne. Hence, you need to find a gentle cleanser that can balance getting rid of excess oil while not stripping your skin of all its natural oils.

Common blemishes

While a freckle is considered a blemish by some, it certainly doesn’t compare to acne breakouts. The most common blemishes are inflammatory lesions and comedones. Comedones refer to either whiteheads or blackheads.

Blackheads and whiteheads are basically just pores clogged with either a white or black bump. It is caused when the oil breaks through the surface of the skin, leaving you with whiteheads. However, when exposed to oxygen, the oil turns black – hence the blackheads.

Inflammatory lesions on the other hand are red with raised bumps – or as we usually call it, pimples. These can be painful or even filled with pus. Unlike moles on skin, these can be very uncomfortable.

There are three categories that acne falls under - mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild acne is when you only have a few white or blackheads. Moderate acne is when there is a significant amount of white and blackheads, as well as inflamed pimples. As for severe acne, you would be experiencing many cystic nodules under your skin that usually leave acne scars.

Before you go ahead and classify a zit as just a zit, it is good to actually know what kind of breakout you are experiencing. For example, if the inflammation is very close to the surface, you will get a pustule. If it is deeper, then it is a pimple, or if it is even deeper, it can be classified as a cyst.

More information can be found at this link.

Treatments for the various acne types (Think salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide!)

For mild or moderate acne, you could just use one of the over-the-counter products or practice good skincare. If you do suffer from severe acne, you should seek treatment and advice from a board certified dermatologist.

It is good to have a habit of washing your face regularly if you do wish to have clear skin. In fact, it is good to use an oil-free cleanser and moisturize with non-comedogenic, oil-free formulas. This would help to prevent acne, reduce acne and maintain great skin.

It is good to look out for products with alpha-hydroxy acids (i.e salicylic acid or glycolic acid) and benzoyl peroxide as these ingredients help to dissolve the bonds keeping dead skin cells stuck in a fixed position. This will help prevent pesky breakouts, break the bonds down and leave you with better-looking skin.

As much as you wish to know when to pop a pimple, we are going to tell you what you already know – don’t. Not even a pimple whitehead. To break these bad habits, try using steam and a comedone extractor. Pimples however might require the use of a needle while a cyst needs steroid injections.

Where are you breaking out?

The most common areas for breakouts tend to be found on the face, chest, back, and shoulders. The reason for these breakouts could very well be because of hormonal changes, certain allergies, sensitivities to certain kinds of food, having not enough sleep, or a poor diet. 

Having breakouts on your shoulders and back could be a sign that you might be allergic to the products you use for either taking a bath or washing your clothes. 

Additionally, eating greasy food or food with too many refined carbohydrates such as muffins or snacks like crackers increases your chances of acne breakouts. 

A breakout on the face could be an implication of hormonal imbalance or other reasons. Research has shown that jawline acne or acne on the chin could be due to hormonal changes. What’s more, dirty makeup brushes, phones, and pillows could lead to breakouts on the cheek.

Having whiteheads or blackheads near the hairline indicates that the hair care products you are using might be too heavy. It’s best to talk to your dermatologist for whitehead treatment and other topical treatments, that way you’ll know the root cause and appropriate action.

Age affects acne:

For teenagers, the breakout zone happens within the T-zone – that being the forehead, chin, nose, and around the mouth. These breakouts are usually due to hormones stimulating the oil glands and causing the latter to produce way too much oil. 

For adult women, adult female acne can commonly be found on the lower part of their face or jawline. Breakouts could even be the hormone fluctuations that are caused by menopause. That adds to the usual facial skin tightening concerns for aging people.

Adult men also break out due to hormone fluctuations. And so, that means even adults get breakouts! Learn more about it in this article.

Your diet can make your acne worse

If you want to have clear skin, you too have to care and be conscious about what you put into your mouth and into your system. Diets that are high in processed food containing lots of sugar, dairy, and fats are said to provoke an inflammatory response within the body, causing acne breakouts, even puffy eyes

As such, it is good to consume food that is rich in antioxidants, even fatty fish as it provides you with the anti-inflammatory omega 3s your body needs. Probiotics found in yoghurt is also very helpful in this case too. Using honey for skin also helps.

In order to maintain your skin’s hydration level is the very essence of healthy-looking skin. Other than drinking water you can fill your diet with water-rich foods such as cucumbers and watermelons which can help to maintain your complexion’s homeostasis. 

However, it is also good to note that this varies between bodies as it ultimately depends on your own personal genetic make-up and family history.


All in all, if you find yourself breaking out, the first thing to remember is to not touch the area. Constantly picking at your acne can not only worsen it but lead to acne scars as well. The first thing you should do is to always consult a dermatologist to start treatment immediately to prevent your acne from getting worst.

Depending on your skin condition and if you suffer from any health issues, your dermatologist will usually prescribe antibiotics or birth control if you suffer from hormonal acne. In other cases, you might be given topical treatments.

Visiting a dermatologist is also useful as they’ll be able to determine any underlying causes for your acne. That way, you’ll know whether you need to make any changes to your lifestyle and diet, such as eating less greasy food, changing your hair products or even cleaning your makeup brushes and phone regularly.

Of course, not everyone needs to visit a dermatologist. If your acne is not too severe, you can try over the counter acne treatments or skin care products that contain acne-fighting ingredients.

In order to avoid or prevent acne flare ups, be sure to wash your face every day and eat the right type of foods, as well as read related articles like this one. As they say, your face reflects how healthy you are based on what you consume!

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