Everything you always wanted to know about acne

If you have acne then you know better than anyone else that your hormones play an important role in it. What you see on the outside shows that there is a lot going on on the inside behind.

Acne 101: What is acne?

Let's eliminate the first taboo right away: acne is often defined as "childhood pimples. But if we are being reasonable, this is not correct. Although many young people suffer from acne during puberty, it is a skin condition that can occur at all ages. Pimples after the age of 30? Completely normal and don't be fooled into thinking otherwise.A more correct definition is as follows:Acne is a collective term for all kinds of pimples. They appear on the skin: usually on the face, back or chest and shoulders.

  1. Initially, they look like a white globule = a blackhead. What you actually see is the accumulation of sebum and oil in your sebaceous gland.
  2. Later, that pellet may turn black. That indicates that the blackhead is open.

These first two stages are forms of acne that are not inflamed. The pores are clogged, but can still process all the sebum and oil in time, preventing infection.If it does occur, it is inflammation. The excess sebum and oil do not get rid of and cause the sebaceous gland to inflame. This creates red to purple, painful pimples, sometimes with a white to pale yellow head.

How does acne occur?

Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands in your skin do a little too well. These glands are located in the top layer of the skin and serve to keep your skin, as well as your hair, supple and protected. This is because the sebum they produce is an oily substance that repels water, bacteria and fungi. It thus increases the skin's resistance.When these glands are very active, they can no longer process their own sebum production. An accumulation of sebum and dead skin flakes occurs, and the subcutaneous sebum thickens. This clogs the sebaceous follicles and creates blackheads. Because the protective function of the skin is also weakened, due to exfoliation not working optimally, the sebaceous glands are teeming with bacteria. As a result, when the clogged sebaceous follicle tears open, an inflammatory reaction occurs = acne.

"Acne occurs due to hormonal fluctuations or can be genetic. Acne is not caused by not washing the skin enough or eating unhealthy food."

Dr. Annelies Avermaete, Dermatologist

Acne taboos

Acne and its impact are minimized

For a skin condition that is so common, there is still a lot of taboo and ignorance surrounding acne. Consequently, people with complaints often receive inappropriate, outrageous and unnecessary advice. From "but you can't see that anyway" to "just wash your face," they all pass by at one time or another. Because of course you see those pimples. And of course you wash your face. Are you uncomfortable with them? Then express that too and give them the right info.

Acne is linked to puberty

Juvenile pimples are often called them. But acne takes very little account of age. No matter how young or old you are, you can experience acne. That it is common in adolescents is due to intense shifts in hormones, but these occur at other times in life as well.

The site of acne leads to prejudice

Pimples on your chin are due to hormones, pimples on your temples tell you that you are not drinking enough water, pimples on your forehead have to do with an unhealthy diet. The fact that they are often linked together does not make it true. More so, acne varies from person to person, where it manifests itself (such as acne on the back) says nothing about the real cause of the acne.

Acne myths

Can you rub away your acne by exfoliating? Unfortunately, no.

In acne, there is an imbalance between the amount of sebum and the reduced protective function. Scrubbing further damages the skin because you rub away even more of the protective layer. As a result, the skin becomes more vulnerable to infection and you may just get worse flare-ups. All the more so when the grain of the scrub gets into the clogged pore.

Can drinking water reduce acne symptoms? No!

Water can help you keep your skin hydrated, definitely recommended. But specifically for acne, it won't help much. While hydration is always good for keeping your skin calm and clear, for conditions like acne, it doesn't go deep enough. It doesn't combat the cause or inhibit sebum production and inflammation.

Will squeezing pimples help you get rid of acne faster? No!

As many as 90% of those who have (had) pimples have squeezed a pimple at one time or another. Can that be done or not? In the case of a white pimple, in principle, you may very carefully puncture the pimple with a sterile needle and push out the sebum. But the best thing, of course, is to stay away from it. Squeezing pimples will only increase agitation, congestion and redness. Besides, your hands are a breeding ground for bacteria, so it's best to keep them away from inflamed spots.

Does toothpaste really help acne? Not really...

Toothpaste is often used because it dries out pimples. This myth arose because toothpaste contains zinc. This ingredient works antibacterial and anti-inflammatory when used in medication. It was thought that it could have the same effect in toothpaste, but fortunately there are better solutions for acne.

Does anti-dandruff shampoo help acne? No!

On TikTok, anti-dandruff shampoo is going around as a remedy for acne. It can help with fungal acne, but is generally very aggressive and drying to the skin.

Do stickers help against acne? Unfortunately not really...

Stickers or patches are often seen and in themselves do no harm. They make the pimples ripen faster because you close off your skin around them for a while. In addition, they have the advantage of keeping you away from your pimples. Still, these patches will not cure the acne itself unless they are treatment patches. They only make the pimples disappear faster. Do you use one anyway? Make sure your skin is cleansed and do not squeeze the pimples.

Does apple cider vinegar help acne? Unfortunately no.

Apple cider vinegar is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect on your acne, but as with other foods, there is no conclusive evidence for this.


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In our free acne guide, our dermatologists tell you everything you've always wanted to know about acne: from cause to treatment, from skincare to myths.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I still get acne after the age of 25?

Don't worry, late onset acne is very common and seen mostly in women. The trigger is an excess of male hormones. Many women stop taking the pill that until then has protected them from sebaceous glands. When that protection is removed, androgenic hormones are given leeway and can stimulate the sebaceous glands. In men, there is a better hormonal balance, but supplements can trigger acne later in life.

How can I start a consultation for my child?
  1. Check who you are doing the consultation for and enter the name.
  2. Upload photos of the condition and provide a description.
  3. First, enter your child's information. Then check that your information is correct.
  4. Chat with the dermatologist about your child's skin problem.
  5. Receive advice and treatment plan within 48 hours on average.

Can I start a consultation for my child?

To use Skindr, you must be at least 18 years old. As a parent, however, you can request a consultation for your minor child. It works as follows:

1) You will be asked to upload photos and provide a description of your child's skin condition.

2) Then you can check off who the consultation is for. You can enter your child's information.

3) Finally, fill in your own contact information .

You, as the parent, will do the communication with the doctor. Of course, this can also be used for other family members or persons you are acting for.

How qualified are the Skindr dermatologists?

The dermatologists affiliated with Skindr are qualified and certified dermatologists who usually have their own practice or work in a hospital.

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How it works (25sec).