Acne or rosacea?
Acne vulgaris and acne rosacea are two commonly confused skin conditions. While it is possible to experience both acne and rosacea simultaneously (and some remedies do help both congruently), it is important to determine your exact skin condition to ensure proper treatment. So, which skin condition is affecting you?
Acne pops up on the faces of millions of teens, but for many, the end of adolescence does not mean the end of acne.
Acne on your back is annoying and persistent. It can hurt your confidence and keep you away from the pool or beach. We discuss what back acne is, how it’s different than facial acne, and the best ways to treat it:
Why am I suddenly breaking out now that I’m pregnant?
Hormones play a role in virtually every case of acne. In particular, sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen affect your sebaceous glands, which regulate your skin’s oil production. And as we have learned, more oil means more acne. So it’s no surprise that when someone becomes pregnant, their hormone levels change drastically, which directly affects their complexion. Continue reading
What is moderate acne?
Moderate acne is commonly defined by many comedones and/or many papules/pustules, but no more than one nodular lesion. So what does this mean? Continue reading
What is mild acne?
Most dermatologist put acne into three categories: mild acne, moderate acne, and severe acne. According to the FDA, mild acne includes some comedones and one or two papules and/or pustules. So what do these actually look like? Continue reading
Your hormones play a major role in your breakouts. Many peer-reviewed studies conclude that androgens (your sex hormones, like testosterone) affect the oil production in your skin. There is also increasing evidence that CRH, a hormone released from stress, also influence your pores’ oil levels.
Acne on the scalp may be easier to treat than you think. On all other parts of your body, acne is primarily cause by genetic and hormonal factors that need medications to be treated properly. However acne on the scalp is commonly caused by harmful habits and hair products.
Acne on the hairline:
Acne around the hairline and outer scalp is especially common in people with skin of color. Acne on the hairline is frequently caused by the use of hair products that are high in oil and grease, for improving the texture and manageability of hair. These products can be highly comedogenic (acne-causing) and can spread to the hairline, temples, and forehead. This causes closely packed comedonal and papular acne. If you use hair products with greasy emollients like pomade or cocoa butter to style your hair, make sure to keep it away from your scalp or you risk breaking out.
Is it acne or dermatitis?
If your pimples are on your scalp (underneath your hair), then it isn’t traditional acne, but rather scalp folliculitis. This is when a hair follicle (the same thing as a pore) becomes infected and inflamed because of either bacteria, yeast, or even a mite. Scalp folliculitis usually goes away within a week or two, but if it doesn’t, you may need to reach out to your doctor to get a special shampoo that contains antibiotics, anti-fungals, or possibly steroids.
Annoying but easily treated:
The scalp may be the most annoying place to get acne. If it occurs along your hairline it is very noticeable and it is more likely to get itchy and irritated. Luckily, acne around the scalp can usually be treated with some small hair product substitutes. Make the changes, see the difference.
Cause of Acne on Arms:
Acne on your arms has very similar causes as acne everywhere else on your body. For a complete understanding of how a pimple occurs, check out our page devoted to the lifecycle of a pimple. In short, your hormones cause an increase in oil production in your follicle (or pore). The increased oil creates an environment for bacteria in your skin to replicate. This causes your pore to clog and a pimple is created.
How is Acne on the Arms different than Acne on the Face?
The skin on your arm is much thicker than the skin on your face. Thicker skin means much larger pores. The increased size of the arm’s pores makes it harder for them to clog; however, when they do, it will cause more severe acne on average than the face. Why? Because there is a much larger buildup of oil and bacteria.
The other major difference between face and arm acne is that your arms deal with the friction of wearing long sleeves. Your clothes consistently rub against your skin which can make it easier to trap dirt and oil in your pore.
How to Treat Acne on the Arms:
While it is rare, it is possible to get mild acne (whiteheads and blackheads) on your arms. Over-the-counter products like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are effective at treating mild acne if applied regularly. Most likely, you’re dealing with full fledged pimples and possibly even cysts. If this is the case, you need prescription medication to effectively clear your skin. Theses medications include topical retinoids and antibiotics, which can only be obtained from a licensed physician. The doctor will most likely combine over-the-counter products with prescription medication in your treatment plan.
Arm acne is annoying and unsightly, but it is treatable. Your best bet is getting a consultation with a dermatologist who can accurately diagnose your severity and create a personalized treatment plan including prescription medications. If you don’t already have a dermatologist, or if you want a more convenient way to get consultations, take a look at our online dermatology service.
- Strauss, J et al., “Guidelines of Care for Acne Vulgaris Management.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 56.4 (2007): 651-63. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(06)02346-2/fulltext#back-bib88>.
- Thiboutot, Diane. “New Insights into the Management of Acne: An Update from the Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne Group.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 60.5 (2009): S1-S50. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(09)00082-6/fulltext>.
- Brodell, Robert T., MD. “Treatment with Adapalene-benzoyl Peroxide Improve Quality of Life in Patients with Severe Acne Vulgaris.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 8.4 (2013): AB19. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(12)01361-8/fulltext>.
The truth about acne on the buttocks:
Have you ever seen a celebrity’s buttocks on a commercial for acne products? Probably not. This lack of advertisements for butt acne has partially led to the misconception that acne only occurs on the face. This is simply not true. Since the buttocks is not typically exposed on product endorsements, the awareness for this condition is misaligned with the frequency it occurs. If you have ever wanted more information about treating or dealing with buttocks acne, then this article is for you!
Is it common to get acne on the buttocks?
Yes. Most people with facial acne will develop acne on other parts of their body as well, including the buttocks. Severe acne is also very common on the buttocks and other body parts because the skin is thicker and has larger pores than the areas on your face.
Where else do people develop acne?
Acne is found on every body part (chest, back, torso, legs, face, scalp, etc.) other than the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. If you have pus filled bumps on your buttocks or other areas of your body, then it’s likely you are dealing with acne. If you are unsure, consult with a dermatologist to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
How to make acne on the buttocks less irritable:
While you’re waiting for your dermatology appointment or for the medications to take effect, you should try to avoid skin irritation as much as possible. Skin irritation is not only uncomfortable, but it will likely make your acne more severe. Here are some tips to avoid irritation of acne on the buttocks:
- Wear breathable clothing; cotton is usually a good choice.
- If you get sweaty, change your clothes as soon as possible.
- Clean your areas of irritation regularly (2-3 times a day).
- Everybody is different, so pay attention to things that are causing irritation and try to avoid them.
How to treat acne on the buttocks:
If your acne is mild, you may be able to treat it with an over-the-counter product like benzoyl peroxide. If your acne is filled with pus or has become moderately severe, you will likely need a more effective treatment. The most effective treatments are prescription medications like topical retinoids and antibiotics. Consult with a dermatologist to get a diagnosis and a prescription treatment plan with the most effective acne treatments available. If you don’t want a proven medication, you can try some at-home acne remedies: