Embrace Your Skin

The ten questions you’re secretly asking yourself about acne!

Find out our expert dermatologist Dr Isabelle Baratte’s answers.

Acne is amongst the most common skin issues in the world! And even if it can take various forms, it is easy to recognize it most of the time! First of all, acne rarely is an isolated pimple. There are often both blackheads and whiteheads at the same time, which can affect the face or the back. When you notice these, there is a strong chance you might suffer from acne.

1-Why do I have acne?

The causes of acne are both hormonal and genetic; there’s nothing you can do about it since it depends on your family history. You can also adopt an effective routine to ensure your acne doesn’t get any worse, or make it disappear altogether with medicated treatment combined with suitable creams.


2-Why does it take a long time to make pimples go away?

You must be aware that acne treatments usually last several months, which means that the results are not visible right away. Acne is not an illness, but a stage in life. There are a variety of different solutions, from simple local treatment in cream or gel form to prevent or get rid of little pimples, to medication applied daily in the event of severe acne. It all depends on the age and intensity of the signs, but in all cases, don’t be in too much of a hurry. The skin has a 28-day cycle, so you need to be patient and wait for the long-term effects.


3-Why do I only have acne on one side of my face?

Humans are asymmetrical, and this also applies to pimples, wrinkles or moles, for instance. Regarding acne, one side is usually more affected than the other, but no medical research has been able to establish clear explanations.


4-Why do I have so many blackheads on my nose?

The nose is a sensitive area and it is physically very exposed, it catches the sun, it is subject to the wind, etc. As a result, the area is protected by many sebaceous glands and the skin there is thicker. It is a natural defense mechanism. The high density of sebaceous glands explains why there are often a lot of blackheads on the nose, as it is the case with the rest of the T zone, which is composed of the forehead and the chin.


5-Why do my blackheads always come back in the same place?

A blackhead is a pore blocked with sebum. You can squeeze it between two compresses with clean hands but be aware that it will form again. To really eliminate it, you must treat the sebum produced by the sebaceous gland located below it and accelerate skin renewal at the same time. There are suitable creams and scrubs to stop it from forming again. Some areas have more sebaceous glands (nose, forehead, chin), which is why they typically have more blackheads.


6-Why do I have pimples all over my back?

The face, the upper chest and the back are the areas with the most sebaceous glands, and are the most sensitive to hormonal variations, and it makes them common areas for acne pimples. You can even have acne on your back and not on your face, on some areas and not others…


7-Why do I get more pimples just before my periods?

It is true that girls often experience an outbreak of acne before their periods. It is linked to hormonal variations in the second part of the menstrual cycle. This phenomenon typically decreases when taking the contraceptive pill.


8-Why do some contraceptive pills help reduce acne?

It is because of some pills anti-androgenic action, that is to say anti-masculine hormones. Keep in mind that other pills might work in the exact opposite way. The contraceptive implant is not always the best option, and I would recommend a hormone-free IUD. But all these questions must be assessed individually, between the patient and both their dermatologist and gynecologist.


9-Why does the sun have a good effect on my skin?

At first, it can seem like your skin’s condition improves with sun exposure, great! But in reality, the skin is getting thicker to protect itself from UV rays and to prevent the release of sebum. When returning to school after summer, the skin’s epidermis becomes thinner and pimples reappear. This is a classic rebound effect of acne. So, plan ahead by using a special facial sunscreen for acne-prone skin as soon as the sun starts showing up!


10-Why do I have to be careful with shaving if I have acne?

If you have acne-prone skin, shaving can irritate the skin and contribute to local inflammation. It can even make acne more painful for people who follow an aggressive anti-acne treatment.

For shaving, it would be better to choose a specially designed gel or shaving cream, tailored for sensitive skin. Also, it is safer to opt for an electric shaver rather than a razor with blades.


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