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10 Signs of Acne You Shouldn’t Ignore

Acne is a common skin condition affecting people of all ages and can be a source of discomfort and insecurity. Recognizing the early signs of acne can help manage the condition and possibly prevent severe acne from developing.

This article will detail ten signs of acne that you should not ignore to help you take proactive measures in your skincare routine.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Recognizing early signs of acne, such as whiteheads, blackheads, red bumps, pimples, nodules, and cysts, can help effectively manage this common skin condition.
  • Overactive sebaceous glands and blocked pores due to excess oil and dead skin cells are significant contributors to acne development, and acne can persist into adulthood if not properly managed.
  • Regular cleaning of the skin is crucial to prevent new acne spots and improve overall skin health, but over-cleaning can worsen the condition.
  • A dedicated acne treatment like Exposed Skin Care can help manage acne by effectively treating existing spots, preventing new ones, and improving the skin's overall appearance.

Young woman trying to pop her pimple

Understanding Acne

Acne is most common among teenagers, though people of all ages can get acne. Acne vulgaris, commonly known as acne, is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. This process leads to different types of acne like blackheads, whiteheads, and cystic acne.

Acne typically appears on the face but can also develop on the chest, shoulders, and back. This condition can be inflamed and tender to the touch and may lead to breakouts on larger areas of skin.

While not typically associated with serious health risks, severe acne may leave scars, causing distress and impacting self-esteem.

What Causes Acne?

The cause of acne is multifaceted, encompassing a range of biological changes and environmental factors. The condition typically appears during puberty and is spurred by hormonal changes that cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. However, it can continue into adulthood.

Oil and dead skin cells build up within the hair follicles under the surface of your skin. This buildup of oil and dead skin cells can cause the follicle wall to bulge and produce a whitehead. If the plug opens to the skin's surface and turns dark, it becomes a blackhead.

Moreover, certain medications, diet, stress, and lifestyle choices may worsen acne. Some evidence also suggests that acne may run in families, meaning if your parents had acne, you might be more likely to develop it too.

Woman staying up late and eating junk foods

10 Signs of Acne You Shouldn’t Ignore

Recognizing early signs of acne is essential for effective management of acne. Here are ten detailed signs you should not overlook:


Also known as closed comedones, whiteheads are small, closed pores that appear white or skin-colored. They form when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria clog the pores in your skin.

Whiteheads are one of the most common symptoms of acne and can appear anywhere on the face or body. According to the Mayo Clinic, they are typically the earliest sign of acne and can develop into more severe forms of acne if not managed properly.


Distinguished by their dark color, blackheads are open, clogged pores. The same process causes them as whiteheads, but the open pore allows the blockage to oxidize and turn black. Despite common misconceptions, the dark surface isn't dirt but oxidized oil and skin cells.

Small, Red, Tender Bumps

Inflamed hair follicles, characterized by small, red, tender bumps, can be an early indicator of acne. These bumps are often sensitive to touch and may be accompanied by a slight itch or irritation. They represent a type of acne known as papules.


Pimples, or pustules, are red, tender bumps with white pus at their tips. Pimples are a more severe type of acne caused by the infection within the blocked pore. Pimples can be painful and are more likely to cause acne scars.

Close up of face with pimples

Large, Solid, and Painful Lumps Beneath the Surface of the Skin

Known as nodules, these large, hard lumps under the skin are a sign of severe acne. They are formed when the contents of a blocked pore spread into the surrounding skin, causing an inflammatory reaction.

Painful, Pus-Filled Cysts

Cystic acne, the most severe acne, is characterized by painful, pus-filled cysts. These cysts can cause deep, long-lasting scars and may require treatment from a doctor specializing in skin conditions.

Sensitive Skin

Acne-prone skin tends to be sensitive, often reacting strongly to skincare products or environmental changes. This sensitivity can be a sign of overactive sebaceous glands, a common cause of acne.

Redness and Swelling

The inflammation associated with acne can cause the surrounding skin to appear red and swollen. This redness and swelling are particularly noticeable in people with skin of color.

Face with severe redness due to pimples

Increased Oil Production

If your skin frequently feels greasy, it could indicate increased oil production, a common symptom of acne. Overactive sebaceous glands can lead to excess oil on the skin's surface, which can block pores and lead to acne.

Frequent Breakouts

Persistent breakouts are a clear sign of acne. If your skin frequently breaks out, it could signal you're dealing with more than just the occasional pimple. Frequent breakouts can also signify hormonal changes, a common cause of acne in both boys and girls.

While these are common signs of acne, they are not the only symptoms. Acne symptoms can vary greatly between individuals and can change over time. If you notice skin changes or suspect that you may have acne, it's important to learn about acne symptoms and causes.

Leveraging Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

A dedicated skincare regimen such as Exposed Skin Care can offer several benefits when dealing with a common skin condition like acne. 

 Exposed Skin Care Ultimate KIt

Here are some of the notable benefits of Exposed Skin Care:

  • Effective Acne Treatment: This comprehensive skincare line can treat acne effectively by unclogging pores, reducing inflammation, and inhibiting bacteria that live on the skin and cause acne.
  • Prevents New Acne Formation: Regular use of these products can prevent new blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples from forming. It controls oil production within hair follicles and prevents dead skin cells from plugging pores.
  • Improves Skin Appearance: Acne can leave patches of skin inflamed and discolored. Exposed Skin Care products improve your skin's overall appearance, reducing redness and promoting healthier-looking skin.

Acne is common in teenagers and can continue into adulthood. A dedicated acne treatment like Exposed Skin Care can help manage the condition.


Identifying the early signs of acne can be key to managing this common skin condition. Symptoms like whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and inflamed skin patches indicate blocked pores that may result from dead skin cells and excess oil from the sebaceous glands.

Although acne is common, especially during puberty, it can continue into adulthood if not properly managed. Acne is a condition that tends to recur, even after it has cleared. Hence, maintaining a balanced skincare regimen is crucial to prevent new acne spots and improve overall skin health.

A comprehensive skincare line, like Exposed Skin Care, can aid in treating existing acne, preventing new formation, and improve overall skin appearance. Remember, cleaning your skin, particularly washing affected areas, is essential. However, cleaning the skin more than twice daily can aggravate the condition.

Hence, it's crucial to understand the causes, including the bacteria that normally live on the skin, to manage the condition effectively. In conclusion, although acne is a persistent issue many people face, it's certainly manageable with the right knowledge and care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the first sign of acne?

A: The first sign of acne often involves the appearance of whiteheads or blackheads. These are caused by clogged pores filled with oil and dead skin cells.

Q: Can acne be a sign of something serious?

A: Acne is a common skin condition and not typically a sign of a serious health issue. However, severe acne may lead to scarring and emotional distress.

Q: How can I manage acne?

A: Managing acne often involves a consistent skincare routine, which includes washing your face gently, avoiding harsh skincare products, and keeping your hands and hair off your face. It's also crucial not to pop or pick at your acne as it may worsen the condition and potentially lead to scarring.

Q: Why is my acne not going away?

A: Acne may not disappear due to various factors, including hormones, diet, stress, and improper skincare routines. Moreover, some acne treatments can take weeks to months to see noticeable results.

Q: What are the common triggers of acne breakouts?

A: Common triggers include hormonal changes, certain foods, stress, and lack of sleep. Additionally, sweating and humid climates can exacerbate acne as sweat can irritate your acne.

Q: What's the difference between a pimple and acne?

A: A pimple is a type of acne. Acne is a broader term that includes various skin eruptions, including pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts.

Q: How is severe acne different from regular acne?

A: Severe acne often involves large, inflamed cysts, nodules, and extensive skin damage, whereas regular acne typically includes non-inflamed blackheads and whiteheads and smaller, inflamed spots known as papules and pustules.

Q: Are blackheads a sign of acne?

A: Yes, blackheads are a type of acne. They form when a pore is clogged by sebum and dead skin cells.

Q: Can over-cleaning the skin lead to acne?

A: Yes, over-cleaning the skin can strip the skin of essential oils, leading to increased oil production, which could make acne worse.