It’s the morning of your big event. You wake up excited, nervous and ready for anything–except the large red bump on your face. Why do pimples always pick the worst time to pop up?

Well as the saying goes, knowledge is power. Armed with an understanding of how pimples form and realizing how best to target each and every stage of their development will give you the ammunition you need to keep them in line… and off of your face!

How pimples start

Acne starts from inside a person’s pores. A pore is an opening in the skin through which a very fine hair grows. Sebaceous oil glands connected to the pores produce a substance called sebum, which serves to lubricate the hair and the skin.

Pimples develop as a result of 4 processes that occur inside the pore:

  1. Excess sebum production
  2. Build-up of dead skin cells
  3. Bacterial Infection
  4. Inflammation

1. Excess Sebum Production

Firstly, the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum or oil. The sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce sebum by hormones, specifically the male hormones called androgens (women also have these hormones, but much less of them). During puberty, menstruation or times of stress, the sebaceous glands become overactive in response to hormonal changes in the body.


  • Keep Oil production in check by using cleansers containing glycolic and salicylic acids, topical benzoyl peroxide and topical retinoids (Retin-A, Tretinoin).
  • Oral contraceptive pills reduce oil production by blocking the androgen hormones from reaching their receptors on the sebaceous glands.
  • Target oil glands directly using SmoothBeam Laser. This US FDA approved laser treats acne by targeting overactive sebaceous glands in the skin, the root cause of the problem, resulting in a significant and long term reduction in acne lesions.

2. Build-up of dead skin cells

The skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days or so. However in some people, excessive amounts of dead skin are created which are then not shed properly and completely. These may block the opening of the pore, and combine with sebum to create a plug. The result is an enlarged blocked pore called a comedone.


3. Bacterial Infection

Plugged pores create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If the walls of the pore break down, bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) can get stuck inside the pore, beneath the skin. This will cause an infection, and results in the little red bumps we see as pimples.


  • Topical antibiotic lotions reduce P. Acnes bacteria load in the skin
  • Kill bacteria using I-Clear light therapy. This painless, non-invasive and FDA approved treatment uses high-intensity blue light to activate bacteria-fighting porphyrins in the skin and creates a phototoxic environment destroying P. acnes bacteria.

4. Inflammation

Inflammation is an immune response by your body’s white blood cells to fight off the infection caused by the P. acnes bacteria trapped inside the clogged pores. Because of inflammation, pimples enlarge further forming large pustules, nodules and cysts.


  • Topical anti-inflammatory agents such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and azeleic acid
  • Oral antibiotics have both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects
  • Intralesional corticosteroid injection rapidly hastens resolution of large nodules and cyst and prevents scarring
  • If your skin does fails to respond to treatment, your doctor may suggest Isotretinoin



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One thought on “Stop ACNE in its Tracks”

  1. umm, is there any possible way of removing scars after a acne outbreak? i’ve tried using some creams but it doesnt really work..

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