How to Get Rid of Pimples and Acne Breakouts | Vichy Mag

1. The different types of acne and their causes

a. Cystic pimples

b. Whiteheads

c. Skin redness

d. Blackheads

e. Bacne


2. The dos and don’ts of how to help get rid of pimples fast

3. The best acne treatment to remove pimples fast


a. The best cystic acne treatment

b. The best pimple spot treatment

c. The best blackhead mask

d. The best salicylic acid cleanser

e. The best salicylic acid toner



It has happened to all of us: One morning you wake up to a big angry pimple staring back at you in the bathroom mirror. Now what? If you have acne-prone skin, you probably have several plans of attack because there’s nothing like a breakout to light a fire under your skincare regimen.

Acne is more common than you might think. While it can feel like you’re the only one dealing with the skin condition, 90% of Canadians experience it at some point in their lives. According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, 5.6 million Canadians are currently suffering from acne, which translates to 20% of the population.

One of the tricky things about acne is that not all kinds are created equal. Different factors such as hormones, genetics, stress and hygiene can exacerbate your breakouts in a big way. Plus, there are so many varieties, but knowledge is power and knowing the type of acne you have will help you form a targeted attack to get rid of breakouts.

Here’s your guide to identifying, and treating, every type of acne out there. Dr. Sonya Abdulla, a Toronto based dermatologist and skincare expert, helps explain how to identify different kinds of acne, including blackheads, whiteheads and cystic pimples.



1. The different types of acne and their causes

a. Cystic pimples


You know those breakouts that are big, red and angry and almost feel like they’re pulsating? That’s cystic acne, which is the most severe variety. Cystic acne differs from other more superficial types of acne like blackheads and whiteheads since it’s more deeply seeded. It shows up red, inflamed, tender bumps and can cluster in certain areas of the face. In women, it’s commonly found in the lower face, chin and neck. Its causes are linked to hormonal and genetic factors. The recurrent nature triggers flare-ups in the same locations. This continuous cycle and deep inflammation make them more difficult to treat.



b. Whiteheads


This is a common kind of acne, also known as a closed comedone. It’s that classic raised, reddish dot with a white mark in the centre. It’s caused by occlusion of the pilosebaceous unit (combination of hair follicle and oil gland) or essentially, a clogged pore. Debris, sebum and dead skin cells become stuck together inside a pore. When trapped under the skin, it mixes with bacteria, making it swollen and red. These are referred to as closed comedones since they are covered by a thin layer of skin.



c. Skin redness


No matter how small or inconsequential an actual pimple is, it can leave a red mark. This is known as post-inflammatory erythema (PIE), which is the residual red discoloration from previous inflammation. “It can occur in any skin type and typically fades slowly over time,” says Abdulla. “In darker phototypes, this initial erythema may convert to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.” It’s not typically scarring and rarely permanent since it does not involve rupture of collagen. It is simply a form of skin pigmentation which occurs as a result of trauma to the skin and can be stubborn to clear if exposed to the sun when healing.



d. Blackheads


Like whiteheads, blackheads [link to ‘how to get rid of blackhead’ article] are a type of non-inflamed clogged pore, also known as a comedone. However, they are called open comedones because they are open to the environment. “These are large pores that have accumulated sebaceous debris in the hair follicle,” says Abdulla. Once exposed to the air, the top of the clogged pore oxidizes and turns black. They’re caused by two factors: hormones and age. They’re most present during puberty because hormone levels trigger a spike in sebum production. However, they can appear at any age.



e. Bacne


Is back acne, or “bacne,” the same as the whiteheads you get on your face? Sort of, in that the pores are clogged and bacteria as well as hormones are often to blame. But you need to treat and prevent it differently. Keep the area cool, clean and dry and maintain your hygiene—especially if you spend a lot of time at the gym. Also be aware of the products you’re using in the shower as they might be triggering a breakout, especially if you love to scrub.



2. The dos and don’ts of how to help get rid of pimples fast



Acne dos

  • Do use skincare products and even makeup that contains salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is an effective ingredient for treating all kinds of acne—especially blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Do use an acne spot treatment. Just know that when you’re treating a pimple, a little goes a long way. These higher levels of active ingredients (salicylic and glycolic acids) can irritate the surrounding skin and cause flakiness and peeling.
  • Do treat your body acne. Use antibacterial soap or body wash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.


Acne don’ts

  • Don’t sleep with your makeup on. OK, this one is a no-brainer. But you should also look for makeup that’s non comedogenic and oil-free.
  • Don’t squeeze or pick your pimples. This can cause additional damage and redness, increase inflammation and even lead to acne scarring.
  • Don’t forget to wipe down your phone and wash your pillowcase. Dirt and bacteria will exacerbate acne.
  • Don’t neglect your hair products. Sebum from the scalp and oil-based hair products can easily be transferred to the face and occlude areas like the shoulders and back, triggering acne.


3. The best acne treatment to remove pimples fast


These acne products will tackle breakouts quickly—without stripping your skin in the process.



Dr. Sonya Abdulla


Slathering on traditional acne products won’t have the same effect on cystic pimples, which live below the surface of your skin. Instead, you need an ingredient that will both exfoliate and treat the skin. Vichy Normaderm Corrective Anti-Acne Treatment uses glycolic acid to penetrate deep into the skin, removing and neutralizing pore-clogging impurities. Salicylic acid has an affinity for oil glands and stays on the surface of the skin longer and works as a chemical exfoliant.





If you have the occasional pimple or blemish, arm yourself with a spot treatment. When applied overnight, Vichy Normaderm Hyaluspot helps dry out pimples and kill bacteria using salicylic acid and beta lipohydroxy acid (LHA), making them disappear faster. It also helps with acne scars.





A blackhead-removal exfoliating mask is a great way to help treat and prevent blackheads. Apply Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 | Scrub + Cleanser + Mask to regulate the natural shedding of dead skin cells while treating acne. The star ingredient is salicylic acid which is exfoliating and mildly antibacterial while the volcanic stone powder mattifies skin.





Look for gentle cleansers that aren’t too rich or too drying and that have lactic, salicylic or glycolic acid. Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel is a face wash that contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid and beta lipohydroxy acid (LHA). These actives gently work together to eliminate bacteria and oil on the surface of the skin.





Astringents can disrupt the skin barrier and cause inflammation and skin irritation, especially with acne-prone skin. So be choosy with your toners. Vichy Normaderm Purifying Pore-Tightening Lotion contains a combo of LHA and salicylic and glycolic acids, which helps fight breakouts. It has just the right amount of each ingredient so that skin is left soothed and balanced, never tight and dry.

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