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Types of acne and acne treatment

Updated: May 4, 2020

The cause of acne

Woman hiding her acne under the duvet covers

During our transition from child to adulthood, we go through puberty. During puberty, our body synthesises and releases the sex steroid hormones (oestrogen/progesterone and testosterone). This affects our skin’s appearance. During our teenage years, the skin contains plenty of the proteins, elastin and collagen which give our skin its plumpness and elasticity. It is when our body produces fewer proteins that cause our skin to become more fragile and lose its fullness. While still supple and elastic, teenage skin thickens and becomes tougher, making it more resilient than paediatric skin.

All of these hormones work to develop our body to adulthood in stages. Testosterone is an androgen also known as male hormones but is present in both males and females. Androgen places an important role in boys for the development of reproductive organs and growth and maintaining muscle and bone strength in girls. However, the increased levels of Androgen during puberty triggers the enlargement of oil glands to make more sebum. Too much sebum production causes a plug to form when mixed with dead skin cells which cause acne.

What are the types of acne? Is adult acne different from adolescent acne?

For some of us, acne stops after puberty. However, many do experience adult acne beyond puberty and up to 40 years old. The triggers for adult and adolescent acne are similar.

  1. Excessive sebum production

  2. Clogged pores (from a mixture of sebum with dead skin cells)

  3. Bacteria caused by poor hygiene

  4. Inflammation

Adult acne can be caused by the following factors as well.


Menstruation or pregnancy can influence your skin’s oil production.

Beauty products

Haircare, skincare products and makeup which are comedogenic can cause acne.