Skin Care

What is Acne-Prone Skin? Causes and Care Tips in Detail



by Lydia


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Has your skin been disturbing you with frequent outbreaks, and you don't understand why? How are you taking care of it? If you are doing your best to have clear skin but keep getting acne breakouts, maybe you have acne-prone skin. That brings us to the main question here, what is acne-prone skin? Acne Vulgaris is a common skin condition that affects most people at least once in their lifetime. Have you ever been there? How did you deal with it? Is acne still giving you a problem? Let's talk about acne-prone skin and get a little more enlightened than we already are.

What is Acne-Prone Skin?

Acne-prone skin is a type of skin that is all likelihood to experience acne breakouts. If you have acne-prone skin, you may get acne on your face, shoulders, chest, and even on the upper back more frequently. Most skincare products may also lead to a breakout if you have acne-prone skin. Also, although acne is more prominent in teenagers, if your skin is prone to acne, you may continue experiencing breakouts even in adulthood. So what causes acne-prone skin? That shall be our next section in this discussion.

What Causes Acne?

You may have heard myths concerning what causes acne and how to treat them. However, it is important to differentiate between a myth and a fact before you start managing acne. Therefore, I want us to go through the causes of acne-prone skin first. This way, you will know what you are dealing with once you start the process of acne treatment.

Many factors may lead to acne, and we shall look into that deeply.

a). Excess Oil (Skin) Production

The skin produces its oil, which keeps it healthy. However, when the skin produces too much sebum, it can be harmful to the skin. As you know, anything in excess can be poisonous. In addition, excess oil production by the skin can lead to blemishes and acne flare-ups.

When the skin produces excess oil, it can lead to skin cells overgrowth, which leads to clogged pores. In addition, the excess oil clog pores when it gets trapped inside, as that makes it provide a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.

Therefore, if your skin produces more sebum than it needs, you will likely experience breakouts more often. So, if you are wondering why you keep having breakouts, it may be because your skin overproduces sebum.

b). Bacteria

Recent studies show that a specific strain of bacteria does not cause acne but that the balance of bacteria found on the skin may be responsible. For example, the bacterium P. acnes is considered a key player in breakouts. However, this bacterium is abundant in the skin pores of people with and without acne. This simply means that its presence in the skin does not cause acne and acne-prone skin.

In a study conducted on individuals with and without acne, the results showed that those with acne had higher levels of virulence-related genes in P. acnes. These are genes associated with production associated with bacterial toxins, which promote inflammation. On the other hand, the individuals without acne had P. acnes with genes associated with bacterial metabolism.

This means that if the bacteria that causes acne has higher levels of virulence-related genes, you may be having acne-prone skin.

c). Inflammation

Some forms of acne are caused by inflammation, while others are not. Inflammatory acne can lead to blemishes that are red and swollen. Inflammatory acne can be in mild or severe form. Inflammatory acne starts as a tiny pore blockage known as a microcomedo. Factors that trigger inflammation include sebum, dead skin cells, and sometimes bacteria.

Although these blockages are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye, they turn into inflamed pimples that appear on the skin. So what happens when the plug prevents the pore from opening. As more serum is excreted and no opening is available for its release, pressure develops on the pore walls, and it bursts, spreading the material on your skin.

The skin will try to fix the damage, which may cause swelling, redness, and irritation. If inflammation progresses, you may end up with more severe blemishes like cysts and nodules. These are more severe forms as they occur deeper in the skin, and you are more likely to get acne scars.

d). Hormones

Acne is considered a hormonal disease as hormones are responsible for the maturation of oil glands in the skin. The male hormone androgen is found in both men and women, resulting in acne. It is not yet clear how this hormone clogs hair follicles which results in the growth of bacteria. However, it is believed that it is due to the oil surplus.

Also, acne in adult women can be triggered due to the monthly menstruation due to estrogen levels. This hormone is also responsible for acne during pregnancy. If you are a woman with acne-prone skin, it may help if your doctor prescribed low-dose birth control pills to help regulate the hormone levels.

How to Know if You Have Acne-Prone Skin

You may have had acne several times, and now you are wondering whether or not you have acne-prone skin. Therefore, we shall discuss how to know if your skin is prone to acne or if the acne you are getting is a result of something else. Furthermore, knowing if you have acne-prone skin will help you better understand how to treat the breakouts easily and faster.

You can easily tell if you have acne-prone skin. But how? You may be wondering, well, if you almost always deal with a breakout or get breakouts after using most skincare products, then you most likely have acne-prone skin. Also, dry or oily skin types are more likely to be acne-prone.

Types of Acne

Symptoms of acne vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some of these symptoms include the following;

  • Whiteheads
  • Small red, tender bumps
  • Pimples with pus
  • Large painful lumps beneath the skin
  • Painful pus-filled lumps beneath the skin surface

As mentioned earlier, we saw that there are two types of acne; inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.

1. Non-Inflammatory Acne

In this category are blackheads and whiteheads. They don't cause swelling and respond to over-the-counter products easily. Although salicylic acid is often advertised for acne in general, it works best on non-inflammatory acne. The product exfoliates the skin by removing dead cells.

a). Blackheads

Blackheads are formed when a pore is clogged by a combination of dead skin cells and sebum. The pore remains open at the top while the rest remains clogged, resulting in the black color on the surface.

b). Whiteheads

Whiteheads can also occur when dead skin cells and sebum clog pores. However, the top part remains closed and not open like in blackheads. As a result, whiteheads appear like small bumps protruding from the skin. They may be slightly more difficult t treat than blackheads as their pores remain closed. However, using products with salicylic acid can help to unclog pores.

2. Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is red and swollen. These are majorly caused by sebum and dead skin cells; however, bacteria can also play a part here. These blemishes are painful are getting rid of them is not easy as they form beneath the skin's surface.

You may need products containing benzoyl-peroxide for inflammatory acne treatment. It removes excess sebum, which will help especially for an oily skin type.

a). Pustules

Pustules form when the walls around your pores break. They are filled with pus, and the bumps also come out from the skin. They are red with yellow or whiteheads.

b). Papules

When you get a severe inflammation, and the walls of your pores break, you are likely to get papules. The results are hard and clogged pores.

c). Nodules

Nodules form on the skin when clogged; swollen pores get further irritation and grow larger. They form deeper underneath the skin, and home treatment is not possible.

d). Cysts

Cystic acne develops when a combination of dead skin cells, sebum and, bacteria clog pores. The clogs from deep within the skin than nodules. They are usually red or white and painful to the touch. Cysts are the most severe form of acne and are likely to cause scarring.

How Can You Take Care of Your Acne-Prone Skin?

Taking care of acne-prone skin may not be one of the easiest tasks to do because such skin gets regular breakouts, which can happen when you use even some mild products. However, below are some of the simplest ways to take care of your acne-prone skin.

a). Lightly Exfoliate More often

Exfoliating your skin regularly will help to unclog pores and prevent the formation of new spots. However, once or twice a week is perfect because too much exfoliation can aggravate the skin and further inflammation.

b). Use Acne Cleansers

Using cleansers formulated for acne can help to keep acne at bay. Such products include those that have benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

c). Clean Gently

Cleaning your skin with a lot of force can trigger acne breakouts, worsening the acne, or even cause scarring. Instead, you can use a soft piece of cloth to scrub gently. Also, rubbing the skin too hard can cause acne sores to rupture and make them irritating and more painful.

d). Use Oil-free and Non-Comedogenic Products

Non-comedogenic products are those that do not clog your skin pores. For example, when using a moisturizer, use one that is light and non-comedogenic. That will ensure your skin stays moisturized, but the pores remain unclogged. In addition, light and non-comedogenic skincare products do not aggravate acne, making them the best to use on any skin type, including acne-prone.

Also, consider getting oil-free moisturizers and body washes. Those are perfect for oily skin types as they do not add extra oil to the skin but keep it moisturized to ease flakiness, dryness, and peeling.

e). Apply Sunscreen

You may need sunscreen when going out, especially on a sunny day. Sunscreen is not only for sunburns but also helps to reduce your likelihood of getting wrinkles, premature lines, dark spots, and skin cancer.

You can get different brands of sunscreen that are lightweight and won't clog your pores. In addition, because of your skin type, many acne medications are likely to make your skin more sensitive to the sun; therefore, wearing sunscreen can add extra protection for good skin health.

f). Daily Acne Treatment

You don't have to have a complicated and time-consuming skincare regimen. However, you may need a consistent daily skincare routine and effective acne treatments to control frequent breakouts. Such medications help clear up existing blemishes while keeping new breakouts from appearing.

If you have milder forms of acne, you can use over-the-counter treatments. However, if it is severe, you may need a prescription from your dermatologist.

Skin Types and Care Routine

You can have acne-prone skin regardless of your skin type. It is not only people with oily skin or dry skin that are more susceptible to acne. Therefore, once you know you have acne-prone skin, you may need to which type your skin is. That will make it easier for you to take care of your skin appropriately.

a). Dry Skin

Individuals with dry skin types have a dull complexion and visible lines. If you have this skin type, you can prevent acne by using a moisturizing cleanser and a non-drying cream.

b). Normal Skin

For a normal skin type, you will not notice any visible concerns. However, it may be prone to acne as well. Use only non-comedogenic products when preventing or treating acne on normal skin.

c). Oily Skin

Individuals in this category have large pores and a shiny complexion. Their sebaceous glands can also be enlarged to release more sebum. Caring for this skin requires the use of non-comedogenic products to ensure your pores remain open so that the excess oils are released. Also, consider washing your face twice a day with a light water-based cleanser.

d). Combination Skin

This is another category that may not be easy to care for. It is a combination o the three types. You may have dry patches and some parts shining due to excess oil secretion. You may need to use products for acne-prone skin to prevent breakouts and have clearer skin. You will also need extra care to prevent blackheads from appearing on the T-zone and prevent future breakouts.


Acne-prone skin needs special care to ensure it does not get breakouts more often than it already does. So, the best way to do so is to check your skincare products first. Excess sebum production may make the condition worse as it may block pores and cause inflammation. In addition, you may need to keep your skin hydrated, use non-comedogenic products, and exfoliate to ensure you control the breakouts.


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