Understanding Acne: Causes, Types, and Management

Acne is a common skin condition that affects people at all ages. It is a concern for many in the UK with roughly 95% of people aged 11 to 30 affected by acne to some extent. Most people experience acne on and off for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older1.


In some cases, acne goes beyond being just a skin-related issue as it can cause embarrassment, low self-esteem, and anxiety, which can impact our overall mental well-being2.


At Sudocrem®, we understand the challenges acne can bring, and we are here to help. Let’s explore the causes, types, and management of acne together.

What Is Acne?

Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, acne is a skin condition that can affect anyone at any stage of their life. It can appear on areas of the body including the face, neck, chest and back.

Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The result?

Those pesky spots that can range from small blackheads to painful cysts.

What Causes Acne?

Our skin naturally produces something called sebum – the oily substance that often appears on our skin to help stop it from drying out. When this natural oil mixes with bacteria or dead skin cells, it forms a plug in the follicle (also known as a clogged pore) and causes inflammation – resulting in acne symptoms most commonly known as spots.


There are many factors that can lead to clogged pores and acne including:

  • Excess Sebum Production: Yes, we need this to keep our skin hydrated, but overproduction of sebum can lead to clogged pores.
  • Bacterial Overgrowth: The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is commonly found on our skin. When it multiplies excessively, it can cause inflammation and acne.
  • Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations during puberty, menstruation, or pregnancy can trigger acne. Testosterone (male hormones) play a role in sebum production.
  • Diet and Lifestyle: Certain foods, dairy products, and stress may worsen acne.

What does acne look like?

Acne can manifest in various forms, including:

Non-Inflammatory Acne Spots:

  • Blackheads: These are small, dark, open bumps caused by clogged hair follicles and appear black due to oxidation, not because they are filled with dirt as some may think.
  • Whiteheads: Very similar to blackheads, but they remain closed and do not turn black


Inflammatory Acne Spots:

  • Papules: Red, tender bumps that occur when hair follicles become inflamed
  • Pustules: These look like classic pimples with a white or yellow centre filled with pus1

How do I get rid of acne?

Acne can be very frustrating and can be difficult to treat and manage. General treatments range from over-the-counter creams to prescription medicines, as well as tailored skin care routines.

Before thinking about the best ways to manage and treat acne, remember everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person might not work for another.


The good news is that there are some practical steps you can take in managing your acne:

  • Gentle Cleansing: Wash your face no more than twice daily with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Avoid harsh scrubbing which can worsen inflammation and irritate sensitive skin.
  • Topical Treatments: Sudocrem® Antiseptic Healing cream contains zinc oxide, which helps soothe inflammation and calm redness.
  • Moisturise: Even acne-prone skin needs hydration. Keeping your skin moisturised helps maintain its barrier function and overall health.
  • Avoid Touching: Resist the urge to pick or squeeze acne. Doing so can lead to scarring and worsen existing inflammation. Keep your hands off those pesky spots!

How does Sudocrem® Antiseptic Healing Cream help acne?

At Sudocrem®, we understand the physical and mental impact that acne can have, from anxiety to bullying, low self-esteem and other mental issues, even the most common skin conditions can take their toll – which is why we’re here to help.


Sudocrem® has been a trusted product in British households for decades.

Here’s how Sudocrem® Antiseptic Healing Cream can help you manage your acne:

  • Treats inflamed skin: Our formulation helps to calm redness and reduce swelling.
  • Mild Pain Relief: Contains a mild local anaesthetic which can help alleviate discomfort.
  • Moisturises skin: Contains an emollient which helps lock in moisture to soothe and hydrate the skin.
  • Barrier Function: Forms a protective barrier on the skin, helping guard against external irritants that could worsen acne or trigger additional inflammation.

To apply, take a small amount of Sudocrem® on the tip of your finger and apply to the affected area, using small circular movements to create a thin translucent layer. Apply as often as needed – but remember a little goes a long way.


Remember, effective acne management involves a holistic approach. Alongside Sudocrem®, maintain a consistent skincare routine. Gentle cleansing and proper hydration are essential. Consider dietary habits, stress management, and overall well-being.


If you are concerned about your Acne symptoms, or the impact it is having on your mental health please consult a pharmacist, GP or dermatologist for advice.

Learn More: Explore for information on other conditions Sudocrem® can help treat, from nappy rash to eczema. Sudocrem®’s versatility extends beyond acne, so discover its full potential!




Where to Buy

Rowlands Pharmacy
Independent Pharmacies