Your skin has tiny holes called pores that can become blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt. When this occurs, you may develop a pimple or “zit.” If your skin is repeatedly affected by this condition, you may have acne.

It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.

Effective treatments are available, but acne can be persistent. The pimples and bumps heal slowly, and when one begins to go away, others seem to crop up.

Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.


Acne can be found almost anywhere on your body. It most commonly develops on your face, back, neck, chest, and shoulders because these areas of skin have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. Hair follicles are connected to oil glands.

Acne signs and symptoms vary depending on the severity of your condition:

  • Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)
  • Blackheads (open plugged pores)
  • Small red, tender bumps (papules)
  • Pimples (pustules), which are papules with pus at their tips
  • Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin (nodules)
  • Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions)


Genetics is the primary cause of acne in 80% of cases. Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria.

Each pore of your skin is the opening to a follicle. The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland.

The oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. The sebum keeps your skin lubricated and soft.

One or more problems in this lubrication process can cause acne. It can occur when:

  • too much oil is produced by your follicles
  • dead skin cells accumulate in your pores
  • bacteria build up in your pores
  • Excess activity of a type of hormone (androgens)

When to see a doctor? 

Image by Anh Nguyễn Duy from Pixabay

If self-care remedies don’t clear your acne, see your primary care doctor. He or she can prescribe stronger medications. If acne persists or is severe, you may want to seek medical treatment from a doctor who specializes in the skin (dermatologist). A dermatologist can help you:

  • Control your acne
  • Avoid scarring or other damage to your skin
  • Make scars less noticeable

For many women, acne can persist for decades, with flares common a week before menstruation. This type of acne tends to clear up without treatment in women who use contraceptives.


In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may signal an underlying disease requiring medical attention.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that some popular nonprescription acne lotions, cleansers and other skin products can cause a serious reaction. This type of reaction is quite rare, so don’t confuse it with the redness, irritation or itchiness where you’ve applied medications or products.

These factors can trigger or aggravate acne:

  • Hormones: Androgens are hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. 
  • Certain medications: Examples include drugs containing corticosteroids, birth control pills, testosterone.
  • Diet: Studies indicate that certain dietary factors, including skim milk and carbohydrate-rich foods — such as bread, bagels and chips — may worsen acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of making acne worse.
  • Stress: Stress can make acne worse.
  • Scrubbing: the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse.
  • Family history: Genetics plays a role in acne. If both parents had acne, you’re likely to develop it, too.
  • Greasy or oily substances: You may develop acne where your skin comes into contact with oily lotions and creams or with grease
  • Friction or pressure on your skin: This can be caused by items such as telephones, cellphones, helmets, tight collars and backpacks.


Acne medications work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection or reducing inflammation — which helps prevent scarring.

·         Topical medications: The most common topical prescription medications for acne are as follows:

      I.        Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs.

     II.        Antibiotics.

    III.        Salicylic acid and azelaic acid. 

   IV.        Dapsone (Aczone) 5 percent gel 

·         Oral medications:

      I.        Antibiotics.

    II.        Combined oral contraceptives.

   III.        Anti-androgen agents. 

       Therapies: These therapies may be suggested in select cases, either alone or in combination with medications.

      I.        Lasers and photodynamic therapy

     II.        Chemical peel.

    III.        Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads.

   IV.        Steroid injection. 

Take action against acne: You can try to avoid or control mild acne with nonprescription products, good basic skin care and other self-care techniques:

·         Wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser: Twice a day, use your hands to wash your face with a mild soap and warm water. 

Take action against acne: You can try to avoid or control mild acne with nonprescription products, good basic skin care and other self-care techniques:

Wash problem areas with a gentle cleanser: Twice a day, use your hands to wash your face with a mild soap and warm water

  • Not squeezing or picking pimples, which spreads bacteria and excess oil
  • Avoid irritants: Avoid oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hairstyling products or acne concealers.
  • Protect your skin from the sun: For some people, the sun worsens acne.
  • Avoid friction or pressure on your skin: Protect your acne-prone skin from contact with items such as phones, helmets, tight collars or straps, and backpacks.
  • Avoid touching or picking at the problem areas: Doing so can trigger more acne or lead to infection or scarring.
  • Shower after strenuous activities: Oil and sweat on your skin can lead to breakouts.

Ayurvedic Correlation

Ayurveda mentions this disorder as Yuvan Pidika. Yauvan means ‘adolescence’ and pidika means ‘pustules or papules’. Acne is caused by Pitta Dosha imbalance that further vitiates the rakta and meda dhatus


  • Home Remedies:

    I.      Neem Leaves And Rosewater:

  • 5 stems of neem leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of rose water

Boil the neem leaves in plain water for 2-3 minutes. Grind the leaves in a food processor until you get a thick paste. Add the rose water to the paste and apply the mixture to your face. Leave the mask on until it dries. Rinse with water. 3-4 times a week.

   II.      Lemon And Water:

  • 2 lemons
  • Distilled water
  • Cotton pads

Squeeze the juice of lemons into a cup and dilute it with two teaspoons of distilled water. Apply the tonic to your face with cotton pads. Leave it on overnight and rinse the next day. Every day before going to bed.

 III.      Honey:

  • A teaspoon of raw honey (or Manuka honey)

Dip a Q-tip into the honey. Apply it to the affected area as a spot treatment. Let it stay for at least 30 minutes.Rinse.1-2 times a day.

 IV.      Triphala:

  • 1 teaspoon of Triphala paste
  • A glass of warm water

Mix the Triphala paste in warm water. Drink it up.Once every day.

   V.      Papaya And Sandalwood:

  • 1/2 papaya
  • 1 tablespoon of sandalwood powder (or red sandalwood)

Mash the papaya and add the sandalwood powder to it. Add a few drops of water to form a fine paste. Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 15-30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel. 2-3 times a week.

 VI.      Amla And Fennel:

  • 3-4 Indian gooseberries
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

Slice the gooseberries into small pieces. Blend them along with the fennel seeds in a food processor until you get a powder-like consistency. Store the powder in a jar. Mix a teaspoon of the powder in water and drink it up.

  • Panckarma:
  1. Mukha Lepam: Mukha Lepam includes a face massage, and application of turmeric and face pack made with herbs such as neem or haridra.
  2.   Vaman and Virechanam- Body De-tox treatments: Some natural body de-tox treatments such as Vaman and Virechanam are offered if the cause of pimples is identified as build-up of toxin in the body.
  3.    Ubtan: Ayurvedic Ubtan therapy improves lustre of the skin by improving its health. It also has antifungal and antibacterial herbs that reduce Pimple.
  4.   Nasya Karma  (Nasal Insufflation)
  • Medicines:
  • Drink ¼ -1/2 cup of organic aloe vera juice in the morning on an empty stomach. Aloe vera juice is a natural way to remove toxins from your body
  • Trikatu Churna 3-5 gm twice daily with Luke warm water
  • Tab. Triphala Guggulu 1-2 tab twice daily
  • Tab. Raktapachakvati 2 tab twice daily
  • Tab. Gandhak rasayan 2 tab twice daily
  • Tab. Panchtikta ghrutha Guggul 2 bd
  • Tab. Kaamdugha rasa 2 tab twice in a day
  • Suvarna Makshik Bhasm 250 mg twice in a day
  • Swayambhu guggulu 1-2 tab twice in a day
  • Neem Capsules 2 cap thrice in a day
  • Kaishore Guggal 1-2 tab twice in a day
  • Rasamanikya Ras 125-250 mg twice in a day
  • Tab. Arogyavadhini Vati 2 Tab. Twice in a day
  • Mahatiktak ghruta ¼ -1/2 tsf with water before meal
  • Haridra Khand 5-10 gm twice in a day
  • Marichyadi Taila for externally apply
  • A sandalwood decoction, made by brewing a teaspoon of sandalwood in three cups of water until it reduces to a cup. This is then to be taken thrice a day with a few drops of rose water and some sugar to sweeten.
  • Khadirarishtham 15-25 ml of water with equal amount of water
  • Manjishthadi Kadha 25 ml of water with equal amount of water
  • Tab. Haridra 2 tab twice in a day
  • Life Style Modification:
  • Yoga: Sinhasana, Pranayama, Setu Bandhasna, Trikonasna
  • Avoid foods that aggravate Pitta, such as spicy food, or fermented foods like alcohol, pickles, vinegar, tomatoes, and yeast. It is also important to avoid nuts, bell peppers, eggplant, seafood, and sour foods. Refrain from mixing incompatible foods such as milk and melon, milk or yogurt with sour foods, or fruit with other foods.
  • Night Waking
  • Avoid Overuse Of Cosmetics
  • Avoid A Heavy Meat Diet

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