Know Thy Breakout – Your Guide to Treatments for Different Types of Acne

Not all acne is created equal. While each bump may feel and seem the same, each can be caused by a different combination of factors. Join us as we discover the causes of each form of acne and how to manage them at the root. 

Credit: Cottonbro 

Different Types of Acne: 

Much like skin, there are numerous forms of acne, each created through a different combination of factors. Though it may be unnerving to discover that there is more than one form of pesky blemish, they are often quite manageable (or can become manageable) once the root of the issue has been identified.  

There are three common causes of acne: 

1. Genetics 

Your genetics are the blueprint for your body. Based on genetics, you can be predisposed to having oilier skin (which contributes to acne) or be more prone to acne formation. Although genetics cannot be altered, a lot can be done to ensure your skin remains resilient to minimise the severity and frequency of breakouts.   

2. Sebum Build-Up & Dead Skin Cells 

The two core “ingredients” that form congestion. Without proper and regular exfoliation, dead skin cells prevent sebum produced within the pore to emerge and keep the skin moisturised. Over time, this causes sebum to build-up within the pore. Additionally, with dead skin cells covering pores, it creates the perfect environment for p.acne bacteria to breed, causing inflammation.   

3. Hormone Fluctuations 

Hormone fluctuations cause the body to produce androgens that stimulate the over-production of sebum. With sebum build-up being one of the core factors for congestion, acne can form as a result. 

Without further ado, let’s look at each form of acne, it’s root causes and our solution to managing them. 

Non-Inflammatory Types: 

1. Whiteheads & Blackheads 

Caused by: Accumulation of dead skin cells & sebum build-up 

Whiteheads are easily identified by their white centres – a mix of accumulated dead skin cells and sebum build-up. This congestion resides under a layer of skin, allowing it to retain its white-ish appearance.  

Contrariwise, congestion found in blackheads does not reside underneath a layer of skin. Instead, it is exposed to air, causing it to oxidise and darken. 

Solution: Regular exfoliation and pH rebalancing 

Whiteheads and blackheads are simple to manage. Regular exfoliation with non-abrasive exfoliators paired with products that regulate sebum production and hydrate the skin can reduce their occurrence. This method of balancing sebum production and hydrating the skin is known as rebalancing the skin’s pH. However, this example applies to oily skin types only. Find out more about how to rebalance your specific skin type’s pH.

Scheduling regular decongesting facials would also help remove congestion  – particularly blackheads as they can cause the skin to appear dull. 

Our Recommendation: Natural Skin RefinerGlycolic TonerSebum Control Essence & OxyRevive Facial 

For a gentle yet effective exfoliation, give our Natural Skin Refiner and Glycolic Toner a shot! Each packed with skin-loving ingredients to exfoliate and nourish the skin. To rebalance the skin pH (in this case, for oily skin), the Sebum Control Essence works to regulate sebum production and deeply hydrating the skin.   

Furthermore, scheduling regular facials like the OxyRevive can clear the pores of their congestion and leave your skin feeling healthier.   

The OxyRevive Facial utilises a gentle yet intensive high-velocity OxyJet to cleanse, remove dead skin and loosen clogged impurities. Paired with hyperbaric oxygen infusion therapy to pump essential nutrients into the skin to revive radiance in the skin. 

Credit: Polina Tankilevitch 

Inflammatory Types: 

1. Papules & Pustules  

Caused by: Accumulation of dead skin cells, sebum build-up & over-growth bacteria 

Papules are red bumps with no visible head while pustules have a visible pus head. These form because of p.acne bacteria over-growth. Congested pore provides the perfect environment for the naturally present bacteria to breed, causing infection and inflammation.  

When this occurs, the body deploys white blood cells to fight the infection, creating pus (a combination of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria) that fills the pore and creates a bump. 

Solution: Decongesting facials and anti-bacterial homecare 

One of the best ways to counter p.acne bacteria would be to extract the congestion. Removing the congestion quickly would minimise the possibility of scarring as well (which often results when excessive congestion widens or breaks the pore walls). This is best done with a proper decongesting facial done by an expert. As many considerations go into a thorough extraction, it is ill-advised to attempt it yourself. On top of decongesting facials, a robust homecare routine is required – particularly one that has anti-bacterial benefits to counter p.acne bacteria. 

Our Recommendation: Daily Cleansing GelHydraclear Gel & Quintessential Facial 

Extractions are a great way to manage papules and pustules. But the award-winning Quintessential Facial is more than that – it combines medical-grade technology with craftsmanship to deliver the ultimate deep cleansing experience.  

While not a complete home care routine, the Daily Cleansing Gel and Hydraclear Gel form the cornerstones of an effective regime against further bacterial infection and inflammation. Bladderwrack Extract, Matricaria Flower Extract and Carica Papaya in the Daily Cleansing Gel work to soothe, lend its anti-bacterial properties and slough away dead skin cells.   

Paired with the Hydraclear Gel – packed with Witch Hazel Extract and Lemon Fruit Extract that contains potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties – to restore the skin to a healthier state.   

2. Nodular Acne 

Caused by: Dead skin cells, sebum build-up, over-growth of bacteria & deep infections 

Like pustules and papules, nodular acne is a result of p.acne bacteria over-growth. The main difference is that nodular acne occurs at a deeper layer of skin, causing the bump to have no visible pus head and be hard to the touch. Nodular acne also remains in the skin for longer compared to blackheads or pustules. 

Solution: Robust homecare & decongesting facials 

With nodular acne being harder to manage, more is required in terms of skincare solutions. For homecare, products with potent anti-inflammatory and healing properties would greatly help.   

In addition to home care, regular treatments can aid in managing nodular acne as they often deploy technology that penetrates the skin deeply to deal with the issue.   

Our Recommendation: HA+ Hydrating SerumBotanical Sensitive Care Toner & ZitZap Facial 

The HA+ Hydrating Serum is a multi-faceted concoction, with 4 unique blends to manage nodular acne. Cucumber Extract lends it reparative and anti-inflammatory qualities while Probiotics work to rebalance the bacteria on the skin, minimising over-growth of p.acne bacteria.  

Botanical Sensitive Care Toner and its reparative blend of medicinal herbs like Korean Mint and Honeysuckle Flower Extract soothes redness and inhibits bacteria growth.  

Treatments like ZitZap utilise medical-grade IPL to penetrate the skin deeply, effectively reducing inflammation and eliminating p.acne bacteria. This stops nodular acne from worsening and allows the body to naturally remove the congestion.   

3. Cystic Acne 

Caused by: Dead skin cells, sebum build-up, over-growth of bacteria & deep infections 

Often confused with nodular acne, cystic acne is the most severe form of acne. However, with time, patience and the right skincare solutions, it can be managed. Cystic acne develops deep within the skin. However, its severe infection generates a lot of pus, making it softer compared to nodular acne. It also has a visible pus head, unlike nodular acne.   

Our Solution: Combat bacterial growth and remove congestion 

Cystic acne often results in acne scarring as the volume of congestion breaks pore walls. To minimise the severity of scars, reduce the proliferation of p.acne bacteria with anti-bacterial homecare and extract congestion as soon as possible. 

Our Recommendation: Hydraclear GelZitZap & Quintessential Facial 

An essential for cystic acne, the Hydraclear Gel combats bacterial growth, reduces inflammation, hydrates, and regulates sebum & skin pH levels. This aids in diminishing p.acne bacterial, calming cystic acne and slowing down their occurrence as well. 

The mighty duo of ZitZap and Quintessential works quickly to minimise the damage of cystic acne. ZitZap uses medical-grade IPL to reduce inflammation and eliminate p.acne bacteria while the Quintessential utilises craftsmanship to remove the congestion with precision.   

Credit: Polina Tankilevitch 

4. Hormonal Acne 

Caused by: Hormone fluctuations 

Hormone fluctuations typically experienced by teenagers and women experiencing menstruation, menopause or pregnancy. Hormone fluctuations cause increased sebum production and p.acne bacteria propagation. Hormonal acne can come in all forms – papules, pustules and even cystic acne – depending on the severity of the infection.   

Solution: Identify your acne 

The best solution is derived once the type of acne has been identified. 

Balancing the skin’s pH levels also works to reduce the severity of hormonal acne. Plus, it allows the skin to have greater resilience against p.acne bacteria over-growth, irritants and sebum overproduction.   

Our Recommendation: Click here to find out more about how to rebalance your specific skin pH! 

5. Maskne 

Caused by: Heat, sweat, friction & over-growth of bacteria 

The latest form of acne to emerge, Maskne is acne caused by prolonged hours spent wearing a mask. The heat encapsulated within the mask triggers the skin to produce more sebum and sweat that congest pores. Furthermore, friction from the mask damages the skin’s outer protective layer, making it prone to bacterial infections. Plus, with reusable cloth masks quickly replacing disposable ones, bacteria caught in the fabric is in contact with the face until the mask is washed or replaced. This introduces more bacteria to the skin, causing inflammation, irritation and sensitivity.   

Solution: Anti-bacterial & anti-inflammatory homecare 

With a majority of maskne’s issues being caused by bacteria, anti-bacterial home care is vital. Additionally, with the irritation that the mask causes to the skin, anti-inflammatory products are also required to help calm the skin and aid in its repair.  

Our Recommendation: Skin Protecting Sanitiser & Aloe Recovery Gel 

Designed to combat Maskne without stripping the skin of its natural moisture, the Skin Protecting Sanitiser is a plant-based, alcohol-free sanitiser formulated with a combination of Eucalyptus, Tea-tree and 200ppm Hypochlorous Acid clinically proven for its effective antiviral properties. The perfect homecare that you can bring along to manage your maskne! 

Specially formulated with pure aloe extracts, the Aloe Recovery Gel provides intense hydration to heal dry and stressed skin. It works to repair skin and increase its resilience overtime.  

— 

Acne is a very personal matter and should be dealt with the utmost care and personalisation. Thus, do note that the above are general recommendations. For a more accurate and tailored solution, we recommend scheduling a Virtual Skin Education session with our Skin Experts who will guide you 1-on-1 to managing your acne.  

Stay patient, resilient and hopeful!