You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and what’s the first thing you see? A new pimple joining its friends on your face. Seems like they’re going to have a party? Eck! What to do?

Not to worry, you can stop them! It’s not much relief knowing that teens all over the world are waking up to the same sight. Maybe you will feel better if you understand the causes of your unwanted visitors.

What is Acne and Why Do I Have It?

Acne is a general term for pimples and deeper pustules that are clogged pores. If severe enough acne can leave permanent scars. Scarring is what you want to avoid. Stop popping those zits yourself and read this!

Pimples pop up for a lot of reasons. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about what these reasons are. Despite what your friends and mom might say, chocolate, French fries and pizza aren’t among the causes of pimples. You just don’t get pimples from what you eat, unless you are allergic to something and then you get hives not really zits.

Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder of the skin’s sebaceous glands and hair follicles that affects about 80% of people between the ages of 12 and 24. During puberty high levels of hormones are produced in both girls and boys. This leads to the production of large quantities of sebum. Sebum is an irritant that can clog the pores and form a pimple which may become infected and form a pustule. Hormones don’t go away after adolescence. Many women still get premenstrual acne from of the release of progesterone after ovulation.

The sebaceous glands located in each hair follicle or tiny pit of skin, produce oil that lubricate the skin and keep it soft. Sebaceous glands are found in large numbers on the face, back, chest and shoulders. If this oil becomes trapped, bacteria multiply in the follicle and the skin becomes inflamed.

Acne is NOT caused by dirty pores but most likely by over active oil glands. The excess oil makes the pores sticky allowing bacteria to become trapped inside. Blackheads form when sebum combines with skin pigments and plugs the pores. If scales below the surface of the skin become filled with sebum “white heads” appear.

Dirt, dust, oils and pollution can clog pores too. Eliminate this problem by washing your skin with an oil-free acne wash. In severe cases white heads build up, spread under the skin and rupture, which eventually spreads the inflammation.

Factors that contribute to acne include heredity, oily skin and hormones. Other factors that contribute to acne are allergies, stress, the menstrual cycle, nutritional deficiencies, over-washing and repeated rubbing of the skin.

The Skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body. One of its functions is to eliminate a portion of the body’s waste products through sweating. If toxins escape through the skin they disrupt the skin’s health integrity. This is one of the key factors behind many skin disorders including acne. The skin also “breathes”. If the pores become clogged, the microbes that are involved in causing acne flourish and then you get pimples, blackheads and often inflammation.

What To Do About Zits?

IMPORTANT: NEVER pop or squeeze pimples yourself. You don’t have the sterile instruments that a dermatologist uses to do this and he/she knows the proper technique. This can give you lifelong scars! (see the section below about “Seeing a Dermatologist”), but read the rest of this first please.

Once you’ve cleaned your skin, it’s time to work on fighting pimples before they start. Pimples begin when oil and dead skin cells get trapped in pores. So you’ve got to use products that work inside the pores to help keep them clear. The key is regular daily usage even when your skin looks great. Only using this stuff when you get a pimple won’t do your face justice.

There is no single medicine or acne treatment. Treatment should be designed according to your own personal needs. The only way to know for sure which product will work best for your skin is to try it. But remember, no matter what you use the most important thing is to stick with it.

Treatments Include:

  • Reducing sebum production
  • Reducing bacteria on the skin
  • Reducing the inflammation
  • Exfoliation — peeling of the skin which unclogs pores; removes dead skin cells and debris
  • Acne surgery — by a dermatologist
  • Hormone-based treatments (these can work well).

Over-the-counter Treatments (OTC)
(Stuff you can buy without a prescription)

The active ingredient to look for in the acne products that you see in the drug store or supermarket drug store is benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These have an antibacterial effect. Benzoic peroxide comes in 5% and 10%. Start with the lower number to avoid “burning” your skin. You may have to experiment with acne treatments before you find the right OTC products for you. You are using this product to reduce the bacteria on the skin and to exfoliate. Exfoliation works by applying the lotion or wash to dry up the skin and help the dead cells and debris come off. The “Acne Defense” cleansers that you can buy in the market or drugstore help prevent breakouts and keep acne under control.


Your health care provider may provide an antibiotic, some are to be used on only your skin. Oral antibiotics have an antibacterial effect as well as an anti-inflammatory effect. They all have side effects, so talk to the person prescribing these medications about those. If they do not mention side effects… ASK, you need to know, after all you are the one taking them.

IF you are taking birth control pills — antibiotics WILL interfere with the effectiveness of the pill. Tell the health care provider what medications you are on, or if you are taking the birth control pill.

Seeing A Dermatologist

doctorA dermatologist, or his or her nurse will use small surgical instruments to open and remove the contents of pustules, cyst or pimples directly. This is done before they burst and cause deeper damage and scarring. It is a quick procedure and often results in dramatic improvement in the skin’s appearance after a couple of days of healing. It is not very painful at all. Sometimes it is done on a weekly basis. Talk to your parents about this treatment. It is usually covered by most insurance companies.

Prescription Hormone Treatments

Sometimes your health care provider or a dermatologist may prescribe oral contraceptives for girls to help clear up their skin. Hormones may clear up the skin by slowing down sebaceous gland function. One of the pills known as Ortho Tri-Cyclen, has been shown to improve acne in many young women. Talk to your parents about this and be sure to ask the dermatologist or your health care provider what they think of the idea. It is very important to discuss this with a medical professional who knows you and your medical history.


Don’t let acne get out of control, then it is harder to treat. You can have clearer skin with the right combination of treatments. Remember: clean, prevent and treat. This is a good start to a lifetime of healthy skin.

Get Info on Clear-Skin-A Acne Gel and Clear-Skin FaceWash – recommended by Amy, RN

Zit Glossary

Acne Vulgaris: A chronic inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of the skin characterized by comedones, papules, and pustules. In severe acne, cysts and nodules may develop and scarring is common.

Black Head: (Open Comedo) A visible enlarged pore filled with a plug of dead skin cells and skin oil. The dark color results from materials in the follicle, not dirt.

Closed Comedo (A whitehead): A compacted mass of dead skin cells and skin oils. Visible as a small white bump under the surface of the skin.

Cutaneous: Pertaining to the skin.

Cyst: A pocket-like structure, generally filled with fluid or semisolid material.

Edema: Swelling in tissue due to accumulation of fluid. back to top Outer layer of skin. back to top Indentation of epidermis containing hair shaft, sebaceous gland and adjacent muscle. A small, sac-like cavity for secretion or excretion.

Epidermis: Abnormally increased pigmentation. back to top Abnormally diminished pigmentation, resulting from diminished melanin (dark pigment) production. A protein which is found in hair, nails and the outermost skin layer.

Follicle: The buildup of sebum and other materials from your skin (cells, pigment and bacteria) under the skin’s surface. This is how acne begins. A small knot, knob, protuberance, or swelling.

Gland: A small, sac-like cavity for secretion or excretion.

Keratin: A protein which is found in hair, nails and the outermost skin layer.

Microcomedo: The buildup of sebum and other materials from your skin (cells, pigment and bacteria) under the skin’s surface. This is how acne begins.

Papule: A pimple, formed from a plugged follicle due to release of its contents (cells, oils, bacteria) into the surrounding tissue. Usually reddened, tender and swollen.

Pilosebaceous unit: Located in all skin areas except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, pilosebaceous units consist of sebaceous glands and hair follicles, which are physically connected and usually vary inversely in size.

Pimple: A small inflamed elevation of the skin.

Pustule: Pus-filled inflammatory acne lesion caused by the body’s white cells attacking the plugged follicle.

Sebaceous Gland : Oil-producing gland.

Sebum: Oil on the skin produced by sebaceous (oil-producing) glands.

Zit: Slang for pimple (origin unknown, but it’s been a while).

Skin Care for Your Face : Skin care should be designed to fit your type of skin. Some people are lucky enough to have normal skin, but most of us are not that lucky, see what to do for your skin type.

Get Info on Clear-Skin-A Acne Gel and Clear-Skin FaceWash – I use this and it works great! Yes, adults get zits too, but don’t worry it’s not as bad as teenage acne. ~ Amy, RN ~

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Proven Natural Acne Treatment! Clear Skin-A Acne Gel and FaceWash by Native Remedies are 100% natural and effective soothing herbal treatments for acne control and prevention.


Amy - Teen's Health Expert

By Amy - Teen's Health Expert

Discover the dedicated author behind Teen Health Secrets, an experienced expert committed to providing in-depth knowledge and guidance on various aspects of teen health, ensuring young individuals lead healthy, informed lives.