About Skin, Skin Care

All About Acne: Definition, Causes, Types, and Tips

Ever feel like your skin’s betraying you?

Does your acne stop you from hanging out with friends or family? Many people don’t understand how heartbreaking and soul crushing acne can be. Even well-intentioned comments and suggestions can sting.

What others might not know is how you’ve spent a small fortune on lotions claiming to be an “overnight cure” only to have your hopes dashed repeatedly. You feel defeated.

But skin is amazing, and it can change for the better. Don’t give up! The first step is understanding what acne is by definition, the different types of acne, what causes acne, and finally steps you can take to get rid of your inflamation.

What is Acne?

Definition: An inflammatory skin condition characterised by pimples and caused by a build-up of oil and dead skin cells in your pores. This build-up results in visibly swollen lumps on the skin that can be painful.

Acne is most common among teenagers, but it can affect anyone at any age. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how long acne will last. It can be pretty persistent, sticking around for months and even years at a time if left to its own devices.

You’re most likely to get acne near your mouth, chin, forehead, other parts of your face, chest, upper back and shoulders because these parts of the body have the most sebaceous (oil) glands.

Acne can wreak havoc on your emotions and self-esteem and leave permanent scars or discoloured patches of skin.

What Causes Acne?

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells all the time. Some of these exit through pores, but sometimes they get stuck. Your pores are connected to your sebaceous glands, which produce oil in your skin. These cells mix with the oil and clog your pores.

There’s no stop button for your sebaceous glands, so your skin continues to pump oil and shed dead skin cells, pushing the skin up. Infection occurs when P. acnes bacteria gets involved. The result is a lumpy red surface.

While we know this process is what causes acne, it’s harder to pinpoint why it happens to some people over others. We’ve all got that friend who can do anything they want—go to bed late, never wash their face, use whatever product they have handy—and still have clear skin. (Totally not fair!)

It’s thought that hormonal changes and having parents who have acne puts you at higher risk.

Other factors that could make your acne worse include:

  • Stress,
  • Medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS),
  • Certain medications,
  • Diet, and
  • Friction on your skin from tight collars, holding a mobile, or wearing a backpack.

Types of Acne & Symptoms

There are 2 different types of acne: non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne.


Blackheads look like tiny black dots where your pores used to be. They’re open clogged pores, and what you see is a mix of dead skin cells and oil exposed to the air.

Whiteheads are basically the same thing, except the skin has closed over the top resulting in a small white bump.


Papules are more commonly known as pimples. This is where bacteria are present and pore walls break down from the infection, leaving a red lump on your skin.

Pustules are pimples/ papules with the addition of pus (sorry, no nice way to say it), giving them a milky white appearance under the skin.

Nodules develop deeper in the skin than pustules and papules. They feel like more irritated and larger lumps under the skin.

Cysts are large painful pus-filled lumps caused by deeper clogging. They occur further below the surface than nodules and are the most likely of all acne types to leave a scar.

Acne Scars & Complications

There are two types of scars commonly left by acne, and both have to do with the healing process.

Pitted (atrophic) scars are just as they sound. These deep impressions in your skin are the result of not enough collagen forming when the wound is healing. There are 3 sub-types of pitted/atrophic scars: 

Boxcar: Deep impressions with a flat bottom and defined walls, like a box. 

Ice-pick: Deep impressions that narrow to a V-shaped point at the bottom. 

Rolling: Superficial and wave-like undulations in the skin. 

Hypertrophic scars are the opposite. They are raised scars caused by excess collagen production. Keloid scars are a type of hypertrophic scar. They can continue to grow outside the boundary of the original inflammation area for months after the inflammation has subsided. 

Change in pigmentation (the colour of your skin) is another physical reminder of acne. This could be either hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin).

People with darker skin are more likely to experience hypertrophic or keloid scarring. People who pick their acne or have darker skin are more likely the experience changes in pigmentation. 

Are Acne Scars Permanent?

Will my acne scars go away? is the burning question many people ask after acne has cleared.

Both scars and pigmentation can be successfully minimised and even eradicated with Dermapen Treatments. However, the best course of action is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. It’s critical to manage your acne when it appears while resisting the temptation to squeeze or pick at your pimples and take steps to maintain a smooth, healthy-looking glow long after it’s gone.

Acne Management Tips

Acne can make you feel completely out of control of your skin. You see it, you don’t like it, you don’t want it, but you’re stuck with it.

Or that’s what it FEELS like.

But there are some things you can do to help manage your acne, regain control of your skin, and feel more confident.

Hand Hygiene

Don’t touch your face unless it’s necessary, and when you do (to apply skincare, for example), make sure you wash your hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of harmful microorganisms.

Clean Your Glasses & Phones

Who would have thought so many things come into contact with your face? Keep your glasses and phone squeaky clean and hold your phone away from your face.

Wear Breathable Clothing & Hats

If you suffer from acne on other parts of your body, like your chest or back, wear loose, breathable fabrics. Avoid carrying a backpack, as this could increase how much you sweat.

Wash Oily Hair Regularly

Keep your hair clean and avoid using oily hair products if you’re prone to breakouts on your forehead. Rethink that fringe and keep your hair swept up off your face.

Stay Cool

Avoiding sweating helps keep those pores clear. The sun can also cause the skin to produce more oil resulting in more outbreaks. Active ingredients that improve your skin’s appearance, such as retinoids, often require you to stay out of the sun too. It’s a win-win-win.

Remove Makeup

As tempting as it is to collapse into bed at the end of the day, always cleanse your face every evening and sleep with nothing more than a suitable moisturiser.

Avoid Scrubbing or Squeezing

Scrubbing or squeezing pimples can push the infection further down. Pat on and off your skincare or water after cleansing. Popping pimples also increases the chance of scarring—ouch!

Shave Lightly

Before shaving, moisten hair for a few moments to soften it and use a sharp razor to minimise friction. Lightly run your shaver over your skin, trying not to disturb your acne. Look for a suitable shaving cream that won’t irritate your skin.

Adopt a Twice-Daily Skincare Routine

The products you use on your face have the power to zap pimples and the embarrassment they cause for a long-lasting glow.

Change pillow case regularly

Pillow cases should be regularly changed as they stay all night in contact with the face.

Dp Dermaceuticals Skincare Routine for Acne

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than spending your paycheck on the latest “miracle cure” only to have a bad reaction. Or worse, your hopes are up after an initial improvement, but then your skin (being the trickster it is) seems to grow an immunity. Before you know it, the acne is back, worse than ever.

Sound familiar?

The secret is … there is no secret. You don’t need another “miracle cure.”

What you do need is a consistent daily routine that works with your skin instead of against it. It’s time you two became friends again.

Dp Dermaceuticals combines the best of nature with modern science to create products that work with your skin. Use this twice-daily routine between Dermapen microneedling procedures to give your distressed skin a chance to recover.

Acne-busting Actives

These active ingredients help moisturise your skin, keep pores spotless, and ward off bacteria.

Salicylic Acid is a powerful beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that unclogs pores.

Liquorice Root is a natural ingredient that can reduce oil production.

Manuka Honey is known for its healing properties and ability to treat a wide range of skin conditions, including acne.

Tyrosinase Inhibitors halt melanin production and help with the appearance of hyperpigmentation caused by acne.

Niacinamide is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of acne, increase moisture in the skin, and improve the look of ageing skin and uneven tone.

Retinoids minimise your pores and act as an exfoliant keeping your pores clear.

Step-by-step Skincare Routine

Cleanse (AM and PM) with CLR FOAM CLEANSER

You don’t want a cleanser that dries out your skin, as this can result in overcompensation of oil production and more acne. With Manuka Honey for antibacterial properties and Salicylic Acid, CLR FOAM CLEANSER gently yet effectively unclogs your pores.

Antimicrobial Cleansing (as Needed) with CLINIPREP

Double cleansing works wonders on acne, but you don’t want to risk drying or stripping your skin. CLINIPREP kills bacteria but doesn’t interfere with cell regrowth and has the same pH as your skin.

Serum (AM + PM) with BRITE LITE

For concentrated repair and hydration, BRITE LITE works wonders. The potent Tyrosinase Inhibitors regulate melanin production and fade existing spots and discolouration, including hyperpigmentation left by acne. Liquorice Root also regulates oil production to limit further breakouts.

Moisturise (AM) with CLR LOTION

It might seem counterintuitive to moisturise a face prone to acne, but it’s a crucial step. As well as acne-fighting Salicylic Acid, CLR LOTION contains Niacinamide which also works to reduce pore-clogging oils.

Correct (PM) with RETINAL ACTIVE

The Retinaldehyde (Vitamin A) in RETINAL ACTIVE is the most potent form available without a prescription but is better tolerated than retinoic acid. It’s a good option if you have sensitive or delicate skin. It helps lessen the appearance of scars, deep wrinkles, and atrophy.

Cover and Protect (AM) with COVER RECOVER

It’s tempting to cake on makeup to cover your blemishes, but make sure your chosen cover product doesn’t make your acne worse. COVER RECOVER creates a breathable second skin. It’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores, and packed with potent vitamins and antioxidants. It’s also SFP30 PA+++, essential when you’re using retinoids or BRITE LITE on your skin.

Check out the ACNE SKIN SET to help calm and smooth your inflamed skin. 

You can enjoy big discount by purchasing the ACNE SKIN SET and saying bye to the acne.

Microneedling Acne & Acne Scars

Microneedling is a revolutionary skin procedure transforming the skin and lives of people who’ve been battling their acne. 

A Dermapen Treatment for acne takes the microneedling experience to a whole new level with the right combination of restorative actives infused into your skin. At the same time, it improves co-existing skin concerns such as acne scars, rosacea, enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation.

It tightens and smooths skin for the gorgeous velvety complexion of your dreams.

Is it Safe to Microneedle Active Acne? 

This is best left to the professionals. Previously our Protocols recommended avoiding active acne. However, thanks to the introduction of appropriate Dp Dermaceuticals Meso-Glides such as MG-CLR or CLR LOTION, and with multiple successful case studies, we now encourage Dermapen Treatments for problematic skin. It’s possible for your Authorised Treatment Provider to microneedle active acne stages I-III. These Dermapen Treatments include a homecare prescription to support the best results. 

How Does Microneedling Work?

The professional device, Dermapen 4™, penetrates the deeper layers of the skin, triggering the body’s natural healing response. The skin is oxygenated, and lymphatic drainage activated, regenerating the acne-affected area.

At the same time, your skin is infused with the potent actives in Dp Dermaceuticals to target your individual concerns.

Dare to Dream of a Life Without Acne

You’ve battled your way down a long and painful road with acne but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Book a consult with a DermapenWorld Authorised Treatment Provider for a personalised plan to show your skin who’s the boss and confidently face the world once more. 

If you are a professional and wish to learn how to become a DermapenWorld Authorised Treatment Provider, click here.