Acne: what is it and how to counter it

Acne can be improved with a specific daily-use treatment that regulates excess sebum and has a purifying effect.

What is acne?

If skin is impure and shows pimples, most of the time it is because of the sebum, the oily mixture that is made by the sebaceous glands and that can be in excessive amounts, especially in adolescents, due to the more intense hormonal stimulation.

For this reason, impure skin is also called "seborrheic" skin: sebum mixes with the horny cells in the superficial layer of skin and clogs hair follicles, which are the tiny shafts where hairs grow. The clogging material that closes a follicle forms a comedone, which can be:

• an open comedone or blackhead (with sebum that is exposed to air)

• a closed comedo or whitehead

In both cases, bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes can grow in the clogged follicle, which may lead to inflammation of the comedone and to developing pimples.

Therefore, acne is an inflammation of the follicles, not an infection, hence it is not contagious.

What causes acne?

The excessive production of sebum that leads to acne can be a constitutional condition or can be linked to the activity of hormones.

In fact, hormones regulate how sebaceous glands work and, a particular set of hormones, called androgens, is also responsible for the "hyperkeratinisation" that occurs with acne, that is the the increase in the number of horny cells, which mix with the sebum and clog hair follicles, thereby leading to the formation of comedones.

This is why acne generally shows during puberty, though it is also a skin disease that affects adults, especially women (late acne).

Acne can also be caused by allergic-type reactions to the use of unsuitable cosmetic products (cosmetic-induced acne), by excessive sun exposure (Mallorca acne) or by a skin disease known as rosacea. If you wish to learn more about rosacea.

Important things to know about acne

Acne is a widespread condition in the population and many are the common beliefs about it that actually are wrong. What follows is absolutely correct and important to follow to effectively counter acne.

  • Squeezing comedones or pimples is a very bad habit: it can cause or spread inflammation and lead to scarring.
  • Pimples and food: it is not true that some foods give you pimples. However, though there isn’t always a direct relation between the food one eats and acne, a balanced diet certainly helps to keep healthy skin
  • Acne does not heal in the sun: pimples might seem to "dry out" in the sun, yet it is only a temporary improvement. Actually, sun exposure without proper sun protection can worsen inflammation
  • Some factors favour acne: smoking, stress, the build up of occlusive substances on skin, hair over skin that doesn’t let skin breathe in the forehead, face or neck may favour pimples and comedones

Acne can be effectively countered

Acne can develop into different degrees of intensity, from mild to very severe and can be a source of great discomfort because it mostly affects the face, the most exposed part of our body to the gaze of others.

When blackheads and pimples are at an early / mild stage it is important to start to follow a daily routine with products formulated for acne-prone skin. 

But when the inflammation is deep, extensive and painful, you should contact your dermatologist for specific treatment, sometimes even pharmacological.

How to treat acne every day

Cleaning everyday actions can help to combat pimples and blemishes because, in addition to clean, the specific products act on several fronts to combat:

  • the production of excess sebum production
  • the hyperkeratinization
  • bacterial proliferation
  • the shiny effect and redness

However, care should be taken in choosing mild detergents with sebum-regulating action that control the skin flora without irritating and drying out the skin excessively.

For deeper action, they are to be preferred formulations containing microspheres: cleanse the skin with a gentle scrub effect and contrast the hyperkeratinization, thus preventing the formation of blackheads.

The cleansing, to be carried out morning and evening, it is essential to support the hydration also seborrheic skin needs to be hydrated.

The advice is to prefer specific creams that combine a 'hydrating with sebum-regulating activity and matting, to counter so even the shiny effect. Usually these products are also tested non-comedogenic.

In particular, those who follow drug treatments for acne retinoid-based has more need for hydration because these therapies desquamate and tend to dry the skin in important ways.

In the evening, to reduce and counteract the imperfections, you can use topical treatments particularly effective active on all the factors conivolti in acne, such as' azelaic acid.

Want to learn more?

Ask a question to our experts

In any case, we recommend that you consult your pharmacist and/or dermatologist, who will be able to recommend what is best for your skin.

Did you know it?

The BioNike laboratories have developed AKTEN, a comprehensive range of products for acne-prone skin.