Acne Vulgaris

By Rachael Pulica


  • 14 years old
  • Has noticed breakouts of comedones (skin colored small bumps) on her face, neck, shoulders, and upper back, particularly near her skin pores
  • Also has inflamed regions and pustule formation
  • Has some scarring of the affected regions
  • Her condition worsens in the winter but improves in the summer when she is highly exposed to sunlight
  • Flareups coincide with her monthly menstrual cycle

Facts and Figures

  • Acne vulgaris is the most common skin condition in the United States
  • Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from acne
  • 95% of people will experience acne at some point in their life
  • Americans spend well over 1.4 billion dollars per year on acne products, yet 40% of acne sufferers do nothing to try to treat it
  • 25% of adult men experience acne, while around 50% of adult women suffer form acne
  • Adult women's acne worsens during pregnancy


Acne Vulgaris is caused by:

  • Stress
  • Overactive Sebaceous Glands
  • Puberty (increases amount of sebum)
  • High levels of testosterone
  • Hormonal changes
  • Genetics
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (only for women)
  • Oily cosmetic products
  • Certain medications such as anabolic steroids or lithium
  • Greasy foods

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of Acne Vulgaris include:
  • Greasy skin
  • Blackheads--- open plug pores
  • Whiteheads--- closed plug pores
  • Red or yellow pustules formation
  • Pimples
  • Inflamed or swollen skin areas
  • Sometimes spots can be tender to touch, painful, and even hot
  • Large, solid, painful nodules under the skin
  • Painful, pus filled lumps beneath skin surface (cystic lessions)
  • In severe cases, cysts band together to form a larger and more inflamed area

Home Remedies

These are some at home options to get rid of acne vulgaris

  • Wash your face gently one or two times per day
  • Cinnamon and honey mask
  • Apply apple cider vinegar to breakouts with a cotton ball
  • Whisk egg whites until frothy and then apply to face for 20 minutes then rinse off
  • Mash up papaya flesh and apply to skin for 20 minutes
  • Apply aloe vera gel
  • Dab some lemon juice on the effected areas
  • Apple to a sugar scrub to affected area
  • Avocado mask
  • Wash your pillow and pillowcase

Over the Counter Options

These options include, but are not limited to:

  • Proactiv Acne Solutions
  • Oxy Daily Defense Cleansing Pads
  • Any Neutrogena product such as Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment or Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel
  • Any Clean and Clear acne product such as Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment
  • Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion
  • Avon Clearskin Professional Daily Correcting Lotion
  • MD Complete Skin Clearing Breakout Spot Treatment

Recommended Ingredients Found in Over the Counter Treatments

At leat one of these ingredients should be found in any over the counter acne medication you purchase:

  • Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Clay
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Tea Tree Oil

Save the Selfie

Treatment for Severe Acne Vulgaris

If acne vulgaris is extreme and no remedies improve it:

*** See a dermatologist before doing anything else

Dermatologist may prescribe:

  • Antibiotics to kill the bacteria creating the breakouts (ex= tetracycline or doxycycline)
  • Azelaic Acid which kills the bacteria and exfoliates dead skin cells that clog your pores
  • Birth Control Pills (only for women) which contain both estrogen and progestin. These pills help regulate hormone swings that cause acne and excess oil on the skin.
  • Oral retinoids (ex= Amnesteem) are a pill form of a retinoid, designed to treat acne after all other treatments have failed. These pills stop oil production for a period of time, thus eliminating the source of the acne.
  • Topical Retinoids (ex= adapalene or Retin-A) are vitamin- A derived and exfoliate dead skin cells that cause clogs and lead to acne.

Prognosis and Lifestyle Changes

Most people experience their worst acne vulgaris in their teen years and grow out of it. Some people do end up with scarring that appears as either pits or big and bumpy scars.There is no easy way to remove these scars. The only common ways are laser surgery or dermabrasion. These scars can have detrimental side effects on people in terms of self esteem and depression. If acne vulgaris is treated immediately after it appears, there should be no long term side effects or scarring.

There is no exact cure for acne vulgaris. The treatments recommended above have proved beneficial for those who use them though.


Works Cited

"Acne Causes: Hormones, Bacteria, & Conditions That Cause Acne." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne Causes, Symptoms, Treatment - Acne Prognosis." EMedicineHealth. EMedicine Health, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne Home Remedies & Treatments." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne Home Remedies & Treatments." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne Support Group." Acne. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne Support Group." Daily Strength. The Dr. Oz Show, n.d. Web. <>.

"Acne." Symptoms, Causes and Treatment. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne." Symptoms. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Acne-Topic Overview." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

Allie, Flinn. "9 Best Acne-Fighting Products -- and the 3 Worst." TotalBeauty. Total Beauty, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"DermNet NZ." Comedonal Acne. DermNet, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

McKoy, Karen, MD, MPH. "Acne Vulgaris." Merck Manuals Professional Edition. Merck Manuals, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

Rachel, Bender Grummen. "The Best Acne-Fighting Ingredients." Everyday Health, 9 Jan. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

"22 Home Remedies for Acne & Pesky Pimples | Everyday Roots." Everyday Roots. N.p., 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.