Active Acne Vulgaris: Symptoms & Causes

Medically reviewed by Doctor Chen Tai Ho on Jun 20, 2019


If you are struggling with pimples breakouts, worry not. You are not alone. Active acne is a very common skin problem, affecting 85% people around the age 12 – 24 in Malaysia. However, a recent study showed that the acne problems has increased among adult Malaysians.

Acne is a skin disease inflammation whereby the sebum deposited under the skin layer, causing bacterial infection. As a result, it causes redness and swelling on the area. How to get rid of acne? Read more below to find out.



Acne is formed when the oil glands on our skin overly produce sebum. Sebum itself is a good element to protect the skin and bringing out the dead cell skin. However, when our oil glands and pores clogged, the sebum will build up and accumulate under the skin, causing a lot of problems.

Excessive sebum production can be product of many factors such as hormone changes, diet, lifestyle and age. As our body experience puberty, it releases a lot of hormone called androgen, that is responsible in increasing the sebum production in our body. That is why we experience most acne breakouts during puberty.



Acne Vulgaris

Acne Vulgaris

The common acne problem. It can be detected by the presence of blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of pimples on the skin. Acne Vulgaris usually formed on the face, chest, shoulders, and back.



Papules are severe acne that has become inflamed, noted by the small, red or pinkish bumps on the skin. Papules is more sensitive to the touch, and known to leave scars after it reduced.



Pustule is an inflamed pimple that resemble a whitehead with a red ring around the bump. The bump is filled with puss and should not be touched. Kindly refer to our clinic so we can help to reduce the problem.

Severe Nodulocystic Acne

Severe nodulocystic acne can be detected by multiple inflamed cysts and nodules. This acne often leaves scarring; thus it would be wise to seek professional help before popping it. This acne problem can occur in back, body and face.


Products with pore-clogging ingredients: Mineral oils or silicones in cleanser products are known to cause pores to clog.

Overusing oil treatment products: Putting too much oil control products containing topical salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulphur can cause your skin to dry out unnaturally. In response to this, your skin will produce more oil and thus, more breakouts.

Smoking: Smoking can decrease the amount of oxygen that goes to your facial skin. Also, the carcinogens contained in the smoke will dry out your skin and causing it to produce more oil.


Contact with hands: Keep it to your hands! As simple as that. As our hands are exposed to a lot of bacteria, putting it to our face might not be a good idea, especially when we are trying to avoid acne.

Sun exposure: If you’re a sunbather, it would be wise to stop for a moment. As the sun heats up your skin, it loses its natural moisturizers, and triggering more oil production and cause more pimples to pop up.

Hormones: Hormone is also a big factor to the development of acne breakouts. Androgen hormone will cause skin to secrete more sebum than usual, thus causing the pores to block and cause acne.

Diet: Certain food can spike your insulin and sugar level in your blood. This will lead to acne breakouts. This include high – glycemic carbohydrates, dairy, saturated fats and trans fat.

Picking/Touching active acne: For sensitive skin, picking or touching your acne may cause more harm than intended. You may unintentionally spread the bacteria and sebum to the other parts of your skin, and only make it worse.



Now that you have understand how acne formed and what could trigger its breakouts, it is easier to identify how you can prevent it from happening.

Moisturize often: If your skin retains its moisture, it would not overly produce oil to protect you.

Avoid direct sun exposure: Use sunblock whenever you go out of the house. Direct sunlight can dry out you skin, and causing more acne problems.

Avoid skin contact with hand: To avoid transferring bacteria from your hands to your face, it’s advisable to avoid touching at all. You can also wash your hands more often to get rid of the bacteria.

Drink a lot of water: Water presence in your body can immensely effect how your skin look. If your body are able to retain the water, your skin has all moisture it needs without having to produce more oil.

Maintain Low-fat Diet: Watch your diet can go a long way. As some food may spike your insulin level, you may substitute your food intake with other non-fattening ingredients.

How To Prevent Acne


Using Tea Tree Oil Products: Tea Tree Oil is an essential remedy to effectively reduce acne. It is known to reduce skin inflammation and fight off bacteria that will cause infection. Just a drop of tea tree oil on your acne would help reduce it.

Applying Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider vinegar contains succunic acid which helps to reduce inflammation and lactic acid which helps to improve appearance of the scar. Apple vinegar also increases moisturizer in your skin. Just dilute it with 3 parts water and apply on your active acne area daily.

Taking Zinc Supplement: Recent study shows that people who orally consume zinc daily have lesser acne to those who have low zinc level in their body. Zinc is an essential nutrient for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism and immune function.

Making Mask Using Honey & Cinnamon: Honey and cinnamon have long been used in cosmetics products for their antioxidants properties. Their ability to fight off bacteria actually reduces the potential of having acne formed.

Moisturize with Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a great cooling agent, and has been used to treat abrasions, rashes, burns and other skin conditions. Aloe Vera contains salicylic acid and sulphur, which are great agents to help with wound healing, skin burn and inflammation.



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