How to Identify What Type of Blemishes You Have and Ways to Treat Them

For Acne Awareness month, we are putting the spotlight on pesky blemishes and how to tackle them.

Skin Education | 

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5 min read

 

 

So you have been diligent with your skincare routine, eating well and getting enough sleep - supposedly all the right things you can do for your skin. But yet, you still find yourself breaking out. This can be incredibly frustrating, and you start looking for anything that can get rid of these pesky spots quickly. This can involve spot busters, masks, overnight lotions, toothpaste (yes, this happens) or worse still, picking at them. 

 

 

Next time this happens, pause and just take a moment before you reach for solutions. The best way to target breakouts is to know which type you are facing and from there, find the best way to deal with the type. Otherwise, you could end up worsening your skin, leaving it reddened, angry and scarred. Here is a guide to help you with the process.

 

Types of blemishes

 

Blackheads

These bumps appear mostly on the oilier parts of the skin and are caused by the clogging of sebum (oil), dead skin cells and bacteria in the pores. They appear to be black because the sebum is oxidised when left exposed to the environment.

 

 

Ingredient Solutions:

  • Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that is oil soluble and can penetrate the hard oxidised layer of sebum and help shed the trapped dead skin cells, as found in our Complexion Clarifying Accelerator (CCA). This helps to remove the build-up of dead skin cells, improve even tone, texture, and reduce shine. As this product contains AHAs and BHAs, it is important to wear sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide helps to address bacteria trapped in the pores and release the clogged sebum.
  • Niacinamide helps balance skin sebum.
  • Purifying botanicals like ayurvedic neem, thyme and black cumin help rebalance.

In-clinic Solutions

  • Facial salon appointments and extractions for safe, gentle removal.

 

Whiteheads

Like blackheads, these are also clogged pores but they are closed off from the environment, making them look white as the sebum retains its original whitish colour.

 

 

Ingredient Solutions:

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like Glycolic, Lactic or Mandelic Acid can be used to unclog whiteheads.
  • The 12.5% Enzyme Acid blend in the Complexion Clarifying Accelerator contains both AHAs and BHA to help clear pores and smoothen uneven skin texture while keeping it healthy and hydrated.
  • Purifying botanicals like neem, thyme and black cumin that help rebalance the skin.
  • Choose light moisturisers or oil free hydrators, prevent overloading your skin with too many lipid (butter or oil) formulations and streamline your routine.

In-clinic Solutions:

  • Facial extractions for safe, gentle removal.

 

Papules

Papules are another version of blackheads and whiteheads but they are inflamed, meaning they have a reddish hue to them and are painful to touch.

 

 

Ingredient Solutions:

  • Retinoids, in general, work well for blemishes by normalising cell turnover rate. Our Ursolic Acid & Retinal Overnight Reform targets and prevents papule breakouts with gentle delivery of active ingredients.
  • Choose light moisturisers or oil free hydrators, prevent overloading your skin with too many lipid (butter or oil) formulations and streamline your routine.
  • Pimple patches can also be a good option to help reduce bumps, pain, and redness especially for inflamed acne and help bring the bump to a head. The most common active ingredients of these patches are salicylic acid which we discussed above, an ingredient that can be used in patches, cleansers and leave on treatments.

In-clinic Solutions

  • Alternatively, you can seek medical or professional help in case you are in need of antibiotics like Clindamycin, Tetracycline, and Erythromycin to help reduce overall inflammation.

 

Pustules

Pustules are bigger lesions of inflammation than papules and usually have a whitehead in the middle. Similarly, they are very painful and any touching will only make it worse. These are the kind of blemishes some get due to hormonal changes during their period.

 

 

Ingredient Solutions:

  • AHAs to support skin clarity unclog pores and regulate cell turnover.
  • Choose light moisturisers or oil free hydrators, prevent overloading your skin with too many lipid (butter or oil) formulations and streamline your routine.
  • Pimple patches can also be a good option to help reduce bumps, pain, and redness especially for inflamed acne and help bring the bump to a head. The most common active ingredients of these patches are salicylic acid which we discussed above, an ingredient that can be used in patches, cleansers and leave on treatments.
  • If you feel that the pustules are spreading or forming clusters, seek medical or professional advice.

In-clinic Solutions

  • Alternatively, you can seek medical and professional help in case you are in need of antibiotics like Clindamycin, Tetracycline, and Erythromycin to help reduce overall inflammation.

 

Nodules and cysts

These are severe blemishes and usually occur when multiple pustules aggregate at one point on the face. They can take on different shapes due to the aggregation of multiple lesions. Reaching deep into the skin, they resemble angry boils and are very painful. 

 

 

In-clinic Solutions

  • If your skin is not responding well to your skincare routine after several months, it is safest to seek medical advice as attempting at-home treatment can run the risk of scarring.

 

 

Please note: How blemishes appear on the skin are usually not as simple and different types of blemishes can occur at once. When treatment methods fail or cause further aggravation, it is best to stop treatment.



Feeling at ease with blemishes

 

Breakouts are unpredictable but natural; they can be caused by a host of factors including fluctuations in your mental/emotional states, hormonal changes, the environment or lifestyle. Above all please remember there are usually no instant fixes so try to trust the process, be consistent with your skincare regimen, keep your hands off the face and be kind to yourself and your skin as you progress in your skin journey.

Wishing you all happy healthy skin!



Disclaimer: The information provided (written and visual) is only for information purposes and it is not intended to be a medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459173/ 

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/ss/slideshow-acne-dictionary 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2585707/ 

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