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Common acne terms

Acne Vulgaris – a common type of acne among teens that appears on shoulders, face, neck, upper back, or chest

Sebaceous Gland – oil glands in hair follicles that make sebum

Sebum – oil that lubricates hair and skin

Whitehead – a clogged pore that is closed, yet bulges out of the skin

Blackhead – a clogged pore that remains open and appears as a dark bulge in the skin

Pimple – a clogged pore containing sebum, bacteria, or dead skin cells and appears as a small red bump

Nodule – a pore that is clogged and infected; these are larger than pimples and can be painful

Noncomedogenic – not likely to clog pores

Nonacnegenic – not likely to cause acne

What is acne? 

Acne is a skin condition that can show up as different types of bumps (pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, nodules). As a teen your are at a greater risk for developing acne because of all the hormonal changes going on in your body. These hormones can cause your sebaceous glands to become overactive and produce large amounts of sebum. Your pores can become clogged with this overproduction of oils. Bacteria and dead skin cells become trapped in the pore and cause a bump that is swollen and red…acne.


  • Wash your face 1-2 times a day with mild soap and warm water… SPLASH DON’T SCRUB
  • Pick a lotion or face cream that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
  • Make a sunscreen selection that is free of oil and is noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic
  • If you wear makeup make sure it is oil free, noncomedogenic, nonacnegenic
  • Make sure you remove ALL makeup when washing your face in the evening
  • If you wear glasses/sunglasses clean them regularly to remove any excess oils/dirt buildup
  • Keep your hair clean and off of your face!
  • Try not to touch your face with hands, phone, other objects that can have oil buildup
  • Keep hair products like hair spray/gel off of your face
  • If you are prone to body acne… try to wear looser fitting clothing and avoid headbands, scarves, helmets


  • Continue with tips to prevent additional acne from forming
  • Try not to touch/pop/squeeze your current pimples… this slows down healing and can create more pimples
  • See your doctor or a dermatologist… they may be able to help by recommending a specific treatment or medication for your acne.  Click here for types of treatment.

Acne myths

1) Tanning will clear my skin up. FALSE!
Although your skin may appear clearer and healthier, the tan is actually masking your acne temporarily. Tanning will dry out and may cause even more irritation…resulting in more breakouts later on. Also tanning causes premature aging and sometimes cancer.

2) The more I wash my face, the less breakouts I will have.  FALSE!
Washing your face too much can lead to skin irritation and dryness…resulting in more breakouts. You should wash your face 2 times a day with a milk soap or cleanser. Avoid scrubbing which can cause even more irritation. Gently wet your face, apply soap, and rinse off. SPLASH ON SPLASH OFF.

3) Popping my pimples will help my acne go away.  FALSE!
Popping your pimples will actually slow down the process of healing. By popping your pimple you are causing this blemish to become more inflamed. Popping introduces more oils and even bacteria into the pore. This can result in scarring and even infection. RESIST THE URGE

4) I can’t wear makeup if I want clear skin.  FALSE!
You can wear makeup as long as you choose products that are nonacnegenic or noncomedogenic. These should not cause your skin to breakout. If you are a moderate to severe acne sufferer, talk to your doctor to see if they have any recommendations for modifying your routine or products your are using. If you do notice that a product is irritating your skin, you should stop using it and discuss this issue with your doctor.

5) If I have constant breakouts, I should use more and more acne medication. FALSE!
Pay close attention to the instructions given to you by your doctor about your acne medication. Many of these medications contain drying agents which, if overused, can cause your skin to become even more irritated! Remember! Some acne medications can take 8 weeks or longer to take effect.

6) If my parents had acne, I am more likely to have it as well. TRUE!
Genes passed down from your parents can influence your skin’s sensitivity to hormones, skin inflammatory response, and the production of anti inflammatory chemicals in your skin.