Acne (Pimple) What is it? Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Acne is a common skin condition resulting from the blockage of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands beneath the skin), leading to the formation of pimples.

Acne, Pimple

What is Acne?

If the body produces excess sebum (the oil that keeps our skin moisturized), dead skin cells can become trapped inside pores and cause whiteheads or blackheads. Bacteria living on the skin can also become trapped within the pores, leading to the development of inflamed pimples. It is commonly seen on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders. While acne can affect people of all ages, it is most common among teenagers.

Acne is a skin condition that affects 85% of teenagers during adolescence and can also occur in people in their 30s, 40s, and beyond. A typical pimple may present as red with a yellow, pus-filled or non-pus-filled small blister, blackheads known as open comedones, white small bumps known as closed comedones, and sometimes larger cyst-like structures.

Acne can be triggered or exacerbated by hormones, medications, and carbohydrate-rich foods.

Causes of Acne

When skin pores become clogged, it creates a suitable breeding ground for bacteria inside the pores; this bacterial proliferation eventually leads to inflammation. Several factors can contribute to the formation of acne:

  • Some medications
  • Excessive activity of a certain hormone (androgens)
  • Excessive oil production by the skin
  • Clogged pores by oil and dead skin cells
  • Squeezing pimples, irritation
  • Pollution (creates an environment for bacterial formation)
  • Smoking triggers acne formation
  • Irritation caused by humidity or exposure to the sun

Hormonal Changes

Adolescence Menstrual cycle Pregnancy Birth control pills Stress Especially during adolescence, changing hormones can lead to changes in a person’s skin. This hormonal effect increases the amount of oil produced in the skin. Increased activity in the oil glands leads to the accumulation and blockage of cells at the openings of these glands, initiating the first stage of acne formation.

Subsequently, bacterial growth leads to an inflammatory condition. This condition results in blackheads and whiteheads, pus-filled swellings, red spots, and sometimes even the formation of cystic structures the size of hazelnuts. Acne eruptions are observed in oily areas such as the face, back, shoulders, and chest.

Cosmetic materials and extensive use of cosmetics are among the most important causes of acne that develops after adolescence. Some cosmetic products can cause acne formation months after they are used. It is important to carefully consider the acne-causing potentials when choosing cosmetic products.

Excessive stress alone can cause acne formation. Additionally, when a person is under intense stress, they may inadvertently scratch a small pimple or blemish on their skin with their nails, turning it into a wound. This results in a condition that does not respond to acne treatment and leaves scars and marks. In such cases, psychological support is important alongside acne treatment for treatment success.

Some medication treatments can have side effects that cause acne. Long-term oral medication treatments are among the medications that can cause acne. Steroids used by athletes, certain medications, and long-term use of vitamin B can also cause acne or exacerbate existing acne. Therefore, patients who visit a dermatologist with complaints of acne need to inform their doctor about the names of the medications and vitamins they use.

There is no proven relationship between diet and acne. However, recent studies indicate that consumption of processed carbohydrates exacerbates acne. Therefore, paying attention to healthy eating is important.

Skin structure is an important factor in acne formation. Studies show that individuals with oily skin and enlarged pores are more prone to adult acne. Adult acne is divided into two categories: those that continue from adolescence into adulthood and those that occur in adulthood. Adolescent acne is more common in males, while adult acne is more common in females. Adult acne tends to be more inflammatory and prone to scarring.

Scientific studies indicate a relationship between acne that occurs after adolescence and smoking. Excessive smoking leads to an increase in the severity of acne.

Symptoms of Acne

The symptoms of acne vary depending on the severity of your condition:

  • White-tipped pimples
  • Blackheads
  • Small red, tender bumps (papules)
  • Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
  • Painful lumps filled with pus beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)

Often, acne inflammation causes general redness and sensitivity. As acne progresses, additional symptoms may include dark spots and scars. Early treatment can prevent the development of severe dark spots and scars before acne progresses to cysts and nodules.

Acne (Pimple) Treatment Methods

Acne is a treatable condition; however, not every pimple is treated the same way. Therefore, it is most appropriate for acne treatment to be planned and monitored by expert physicians. The method and duration of treatment are determined based on factors such as the severity, extent, and age of the individual, taking into account their overall health.

Some of the treatment methods used include:

Benzoyl Peroxide

This medication, used topically, can help kill bacteria in your pores and on the surface of your skin.


This type of medication can stop or reduce the growth of bacteria that cause inflammation in the pores. It can be applied topically or taken orally.


This medication can reduce the development of new pimples and prevent pore blockages.


This procedure is used surgically or to treat a large cyst.


This process can reduce the number of acne-causing bacteria on the skin.


Laser treatments may be used to reduce redness and swollen tissue in severe acne cases. There is no point in irregularly applying acne treatments.

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