You’re preparing for the day ahead, about to do your skincare routine, when you catch a glimpse of something on the mirror. It’s red, it’s angry, and it’s right there in plain sight, calling the attention of everyone who dares to take a glance.

Take a deep breath. This has happened to you before. You usually try your best to cover it, treat it, do anything to make it less noticeable—and sometimes you succeed. But sometimes, there’s just no getting around it. Did you already guess? Yep, you’ve just discovered that you have a zit.

Acne is the most common skin disorder treated by dermatologists and other healthcare providers. More than 90% of the world population is affected by acne at some point in their life. While this is a regular occurrence, there’s no denying that it can break your confidence or cause further skin irritation in some advanced cases.

Thankfully, acne can be managed. But before we jump to that, it’s worth learning more about why it occurs, who gets affected, and what it means when you get a pimple on a specific part of your face. Here’s an essential fact sheet for the types, causes, treatment, and prevention of acne.


Acne / Acne Vulgaris

A skin condition characterized by red bumps on the affected area as the hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells.

  • More than 90% of the world population is affected by acne at some point in their life.
  • Acne can increase risk or contribute to the development of depression.
  • 96% report feeling depressed over their condition.
  • 46% develop self-esteem issues.
  • 31% decline to join social activities.
  • 99% of people get breakouts on the face.
  • 60% struggle with acne pimples on the back and butt.
  • 15% have active acne on their chests.

What are the types of acne?

  • PAPULES: Tender to the touch, bright red or pink
  • PUSTULES: These are often yellow or white with redness at the base of the swelling
  • NODULES: Hard pimples embedded deeply under the skin
  • CYSTS: Severe form of acne where an infection creates a red, painful or itchy bump full of pus
  • COMEDONES: Small, skin-colored bumps; Blackheads (open comedones) and Whiteheads (closed comedones)

What are common factors that cause acne?

  • GENETICS: Acne may be prevalent in your family, in which case it could be hereditary
  • HORMONES: Excess activity of a type of hormone
  • COSMETICS: The products you apply on your face may be clogging your pores
  • LIFESTYLE: Activity levels, food choices, sleep habits and more can contribute to you getting acne


And how to treat recurring acne based on external, measurable lifestyle factors.

Hairline or Forehead

WHAT IT MEANS: Hair products clogging pores

  • Stop using mineral oil-based hair products or wash your face after application.
  • Try a clarifying shampoo to cleanse your pores and remove any product.

Between the Eyebrows

WHAT IT MEANS: Overeating sugar or processed food

  • Control and lessen your alcohol and sugar intake.
  • You may be allergic to a new food group—create a food diary and closely monitor your diet


WHAT IT MEANS: Poor blood circulation or poor hygiene

  • Engage in cardio activities.
  • Avoid touching your face with your bare hands.

Chin and Jawline

WHAT IT MEANS: Hormonal changes are happening in the body

  • Focus on drinking water and managing your cravings
  • Target this area for spot treatments, but don’t be too hard on yourself. This will pass!


WHAT IT MEANS: Respiratory issues or air pollution

  • Change your pillowcases
  • Wash your makeup brushes and cosmetics products.


Topical Therapy: Acne medication that is applied directly to the skin (i.e. gels or creams).
Systemic Therapy: Acne medication that is is taken orally.


1. Identify the type of acne.
2. Change your skincare products.
3. Follow up with over-the-counter treatments.
4. That’s not working? See a dermatologist.


1. Wash your face twice a day to effectively remove excess oil, dirt, and sweat on the skin.
2. Avoid touching your face with dirty hands.
3. Sanitize any product that you use on your face (ex. Make-up brushes and sponges).
4. Use topical anti-acne creams or over-the-counter treatments to prevent breakouts from coming back.

Sources: Report Linker


Either genetics or hormonal activity usually causes acne. If these aren’t present in your situation, then it’s likely to be caused by external factors. Here are the four common causes of acne.

  • While there isn’t a gene mutation directly linked to acne, there is a tendency for it to run in families. Specific genetic mutations may also increase your risk of developing acne.
  • Excess activity of hormones, usually the androgens or the male hormone testosterone, can also cause the appearance of pimples.
  • Using expired makeup or those containing ingredients you may be allergic to are enough to cause breakouts on the skin, wherever applied.
  • Individual lifestyle choices such as poor sleep hygiene, an unhealthy diet, or an active lifestyle (meaning you sweat a lot), may also be factors why you could get acne, especially in other parts of the body.


Here are four steps you should imbibe when you encounter acne breakouts that need treatment.

1. Identify the type of acne. Acne treatment is not the same across the board. The products you use to treat your blackheads won’t be the same as your cystic acne if you have both. Try to figure out which type of pimple it is, as well as the cause of breakout if possible, and proceed from here.

2. Change your skincare products. If you know of skincare products that can help alleviate the manifestations of acne on your face, it’s best to switch to that immediately. For instance, you can use pore packs for your blackheads, gel-based moisturizers infused with tea tree oil for your pimples, and so on.

3. Follow up with over-the-counter treatments. You can also invest in a spot acne treatment that can target your problem areas and deliver fast-acting solutions. This can be in the form of creams, gels, or pimple patches that can help minimize the appearance of the bumps or redness.

RECOS: COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser, COSRX Clear Fit Master Patch, and Belo AcnePro Pimple Treatment System

4. See a dermatologist. For severe cases, it’s best to consult a professional. A dermatologist can prescribe accurate oral dosages for OTC treatments and suggest which products to use for your skin.


As with most diseases, prevention is better than cure. The same is true for acne! Here are some tips to avoid breakouts.

1. Wash your face twice a day to effectively remove excess oil, dirt, and sweat on the skin.

Developing a proper skin care regimen is the first step to avoiding breakouts. Throughout the day, your face would’ve collected a lot of dirt by being exposed to pollutants in the air. Using a cleanser and washing your face twice a day will help remove deep-seated dirt and germs accumulated through your natural oils and sweat.

2. Avoid touching your face with dirty hands.

Do you have a habit of touching your pimples or your face during the day? This can exacerbate existing breakouts or cause new ones to develop. If you absolutely must, wash your hands first or spritz on some alcohol or hand sanitizer before touching your face.

3. Sanitize any product that you use on your face.

Clean your makeup brushes and sponges regularly, as it can easily harbor microorganisms. Be mindful of the phone calls you make with your smartphone, too. Touching your phone with your hands the whole day and pressing it against your cheek can also lead to dirt and bacteria being in close contact with your skin. The same goes with typing on your laptop keyboard!

4. Use topical anti-acne creams or over-the-counter treatments to prevent breakouts from coming back.

Don’t stop your medication unless your dermatologist says so. OTC treatments can help calm overly sensitive skin and keep your blemishes at bay. If you have hormonal acne and you know your triggers or the products that work best with your skin, avoid experimenting or introducing too many new products.


Acne doesn’t have to take over your life! By studying the type of blemishes you have and where it appears on your face, your treatment options will become more successful in the long run. For severe cases, don’t hesitate to see a professional to help you out too.

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