Chronic Acne: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Dr. Ravi Khambhati

Table of Contents

Do you recount your teenage days? The school parties, board exams, and the friendships that were part of your journey. However, puberty came along, and with that, a pimple or two. Remember how they used to pop up during important occasions?  You must have tried all remedies; right from visiting a skin specialist to learning about your grandma's home remedies.

Most people go about their daily lives, with only a few pimples showing up to embarrass them. However, there are others who can develop a much serious condition called chronic acne, which is inflammation of the skin resulting in plenty of pimples, scarring, and skin reddening.  

What Are the Different Types of Acne?

Blackheads: Tiny black-tipped plugs, which clog the pores of the skin.

Whiteheads: These are bumps or spots with a whitish tone, encircled by a red halo.

Papules: These are bumps that form under the skin rather than on the surface. They are pink in colour and are surrounded by red spots.

Pustules: We have a better word for them - pimples. These are small bumps with a prominent centre, filled with whitish or yellowish pus.

Nodules: Large inflamed and painful lumps found under the surface of the skin are called nodules. Unlike pimples, they do not have a fixed centre or head filled with pus.

Cysts: Lastly Cysts are probably the worst form of acne, where the face is covered with large lumps and red blemishes filled with pus. This form of acne can leave several scars on your face.


It's A Greasy Matter
Your skin has oil glands, which are connected to the pores by follicles, that secrete liquid from the glands. Sebum is an oily liquid, which collects dead skin cells via these follicles and is released on the surface.

When follicles get blocked due to the growth of hair and an accumulation of sebum under the skin, it leads to a cocktail of sebum, hair, follicles, and skin cells locked in one place. This leads to bacterial infection and inflammation.

It’s In The Hormones
Sometimes, during adolescence, there is excessive production of a hormone called Androgen. This results in increased production of Sebum, which leads to bacterial growth and inflammation on the skin.

These are some of the common causes which cause acne. If unchecked these can lead to chronic forms of acne.

What's The Way Out?

First things first, it's time for a skin specialist. Seek medical opinion and treatment for chronic acne by an expert dermatologist.  You can also try these measures to help with acne.

Go topical
It should be a two-pronged attack on bacteria, from within and on the surface. That's why along with an antibiotic, it's important for you to apply anti-microbial creams, which can fight the bacteria on the surface and eliminate them. There are several anti-microbial creams, which stop the growth of bacteria on the skin. Plus, there are topical retinoid creams, which aid in unclogging your pores and reducing the inflammation.  

Control acne with birth-control

News flash! Birth control pills can help with acne. This is because these pills regulate the production of certain hormones in a woman's body, which cause acne.


Why go for treatment when there are ways to prevent acne. Here are some of them:  

· Cleanse your face twice daily with a soap formulated for acne

· Do not pick pimples, as this may increase the inflammation and infection

· Avoid rubbing your hands on your face to prevent spreading the bacteria

· Eat healthy foods, which are high in anti-oxidants as they fight the build-up of toxins in the body

· Avoid heavy makeup as it may irritate the skin and cause further irritation

· Try wearing loose garments so that your skin and pores can breathe

· Avoid using oily products anywhere near the infected area

· Warmer climates can worsen the skin reddening so try to stay indoors

· Certain stress hormones can aggravate acne, therefore, relax your mind

· Avoid humid conditions as sweat can cause skin irritation and bacteria buildup

It's Not Just Physical Damage

Acne has several devastating psychological effects like the ones mentioned below.

Anti-social tendencies  

People with acne tend to cut themselves off from their friends and family as they feel embarrassed to show up with inflammation and acne scars. This can affect their personal as well as professional life.

Low self-esteem

People suffering from acne tend to lose their self-confidence as they become conscious about their looks, which makes them feel low all the time.

Has acne gotten under your skin and is affecting your day-to-day life too? It's time to book a free doctor consultation session online now.

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Dr. Ravi Khambhati

MBBS, DVD - Dermatology