Identifying Your Type of Acne

Understanding what kind of acne you have is the first step in correctly picking the right acne care for your skin. Using the right products or acne skin care in the right way is key to getting and staying clear, whether your acne is on your face, back, chest, etc.

Let's take a look at the two main acne types, inflammatory acne and non-inflammatory acne. A person can also have both which is known as combination acne. In order to treat acne properly and effectively, you must first find out what type of acne is present and then find the right acne skin care to treat it.

Characteristics of Non-Inflammatory Acne

Dull sluggish appearance

Bumps / blackheads

Some pimples/pustules, less than inflammatory acne

Excessive oil/dryness

Tissue congestion

Skin generally not sensitive or reactive

Non-inflammatory acne takes a more aggressive approach to get clear. Thorough exfoliation and aggressive ingredients are needed for the face, chest and back.

Characteristics of Inflammatory Acne

Redness/ blotchiness

Hot to the touch

Pimples / pustules / blackheads / whiteheads

Possibility of cysts

Excessive oil or dryness

Sensitive skin and reactive

Inflammatory acne is usually more painful than non-inflammatory acne. This type of acne calls for acne treatments with less aggressive exfoliation (at least initially) and more antibacterial work.

Characteristics of Combination Acne:

Mixed redness with dull sluggish appearance


Possibility of cysts

Excess oil or excessive dryness/combination skin

Combination of reactivity and no sensitivity

Because combination acne combines both non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne, both types are to be treated separately. One must control the inflamed acne first, and then go after the non-inflamed lesions afterwards.

Finding The Right Skincare

Now that we've identified the different types of acne, let's discuss the appropriate skincare to treat each type of acne. There is a myriad of products in the marketplace. Unfortunately, there are more acne products on the market that don't work instead of do.

Below, we dive in on a couple of really popular acne products currently available in the marketplace, Proactiv®, Benzoyl Peroxide and Clean & Clear.

Benzoyl Peroxide / Proactiv® / Clean & Clear

Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) was introduced to the world of skin care in the 1960s and remains one of the most effective acne medications available today. It has the ability to penetrate deep into the pores and attacks acne on all three fronts. It kills bacteria by releasing oxygen, causes a desirable peeling effect down in the pore and loosens and softens the acne impactions. It is also mildly drying and inhibits the fatty acids in sebum. With regular, consistent use, BPO prevents the formation of those microcomedones, or plugs, that are the primary cause of acne lesions. Proactiv is a Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) product in a non-comedogenic base. A non-comedogenic base is good! It means that the product has not been mixed with fatty acids or oils that seal off the skin and prevent the BPO from adequately penetrating the pores, rendering it useless. Some BPO products, including pharmaceutical ones, are mixed with pore-clogging ingredients, compromising their effectiveness as acne fighters. For example brands like "clearasil" fit this scenario.

Actually, Proactiv is not a bad product and it's priced well. However, there are other concerns when looking at effective Benzoyl Peroxide products though and this is where Proactiv looses its edge. Any BPO product that can be tolerated overnight the first week or two is not going to be strong enough to control acne in the long run. The skin rapidly gets used to BPO, and it stops working. I hear this over and over from clients. They used Proactiv, it worked and then it quit working. So the BPO in Proactiv tends to deliver results at the beginning of usage. However, overtime it's just not strong enough to support keeping the acne under control and the pores clean.

When looking at CLEAN & CLEAR® ADVANTAGE® Acne Control Kit, the ingredient BPO is only found in its cleanser. This is beneficial to kill surface bacteria when washing the face but there isn't a leave-on BPO product. Other active ingredients found in the Acne Control Moisturizer, is a 0.5% salicylic acid and the Fast Clearing Spot Treatment contains a 2% salicylic acid. Again, the salicylic acid will kill bacteria and exfoliate the surface of the skin but doesn't work on the pore, or prevent the formation of microcomedones, or plugs, which is the primary cause of acne lesions.

SkinTherapy Acne Clinic Products

At SkinTherapy Acne Clinic, Benzoyl Peroxide is used as an important element in our arsenal against your acne. Our BPO products are formulated without fatty acids and oils and without pore-clogging ingredients. I use a range of concentrations with the benzoyl peroxide and always test your skin to know which one to start you on. I provide you with a personalized, timed-usage schedule to prevent your skin from becoming overly dry or irritated. Also, I monitor your skin to know when it is time to introduce a stronger product.

Throughout this process, I will provide guidance on how to properly apply the BPO, serums, and other active ingredient products that you will be using to get clear. With help from the right BPO, along with the other products and with my personal guidance and monitoring of your treatments, we will be well on our way towards an acne clear future!

So give me a call today and let's get started!

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