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Understanding Acne: Causes, Types, and Treatment

by Gulam Moin


Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It can be a source of frustration and embarrassment for those who suffer from it. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of acne, including its causes, types, and treatment options. We will also delve into a related skin issue known as “milia,” which often accompanies acne. By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of acne and how to manage it effectively.

What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition characterized by the presence of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and often, inflamed red lesions on the skin. It primarily affects the face, neck, chest, and back. Acne can range from mild to severe and is typically associated with hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty.

Causes of Acne

Hormonal Changes

One of the primary causes of acne is hormonal changes, particularly during adolescence. These changes can lead to an increase in oil production in the skin’s sebaceous glands, clogging hair follicles and resulting in acne breakouts.

Excessive Sebum Production

Sebum is an oily substance produced by the skin to keep it moisturized. However, excessive sebum production can contribute to acne development as it can mix with dead skin cells and block pores.

Bacterial Infection

The Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, which naturally reside on the skin, can multiply in clogged pores and lead to inflammation and the formation of acne lesions.

Diet and Lifestyle Factors

Certain dietary choices, such as consuming excessive dairy or high-glycemic foods, can exacerbate acne. Additionally, stress, inadequate sleep, and poor skincare habits can contribute to its development.


A family history of acne can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Milia: A Related Skin Issue.

Milia are tiny, white cysts that often appear on the face. Unlike acne, milia are not related to sebum production or bacterial infection. They occur when dead skin cells become trapped in small pockets near the surface of the skin. Milia are typically painless and can be challenging to remove without professional intervention.

Acne Treatment Options

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Products

Many OTC products, such as cleansers, topical creams, and gels containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, can help manage mild acne by reducing inflammation and preventing clogged pores.

Prescription Medications

For moderate to severe acne, dermatologists may prescribe topical or oral medications like retinoids, antibiotics, or oral contraceptives to regulate hormones.


In some cases, dermatological procedures like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy may be recommended to treat acne or its scars.

Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management, can significantly contribute to managing acne.


Acne is a common skin condition that can be influenced by various factors, including hormonal changes, genetics, and lifestyle choices. Understanding its causes and available treatment options is crucial for effectively managing and preventing acne breakouts. Additionally, it’s important to differentiate between acne and related skin issues like milia to seek appropriate treatment when necessary.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of acne, including its causes, types, treatment options, and a section on the related skin issue, milia. 

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