The Different Types of Acne, Pt. 1

These are the most common forms of acne and skin issues which we see at Clearly Basics. We provide steps on how to treat the acne as well as escalation steps as needed:

Acne Vulgaris

Vulgaris. Sounds scary, right? In reality, it is just the opposite. Vulgaris is the Latin word for “common;” so despite how terrifying it may sound, this type of acne is normal and easy to treat.

Acne Vulgaris is largely driven by an accumulation of dead skin cells inside the pore. We see this most pronounced in people with combination skin: their breakouts usually occur on the dry patches of skin (not the oily areas where most would assume the breakouts would occur). The papules are small to regular sized (less than 5mm in diameter).

Solution Step 1: A simple bottle of Clear Out will do the trick for acne vulgaris. This formulation is left on your skin where it has sufficient time for retinol + AZA to get to work inside the pore. 98% of users who use the Clear Out see significant improvement after a single bottle.

Escalation Step 2: If breakouts persist after three months, continue with the Clear Out and apply benzoyl peroxide onto the general areas where you continue to see breakouts. Cut out harsh cleansers or acids which may be weakening your lipid barrier. Consider reducing your intake of dairy, refined carbs and sugars. Eat foods high in zinc such as almonds or walnuts.

Escalation Step 3: Consult your dermatologist regarding a prescription topical antibiotic or topical retinoid.

Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne appears the week leading up to your period. It is typically found on the lower part of one’s face – the jawline, chin and cheeks. Scarring is a big issue as new pimples surface every month before the scar from the last wave has faded.

Particularly in those with dry/combination skin, hard lumps underneath the skin tend to build in their chin and cheeks. These closed comedones are very large and stubborn clogs that take up to five months to flush out. If you have these, continue with Step 1 for five months.

Solution Step 1: Use Clear Out + Lighten Up to help to flatten existing pimples as well as fade the appearance of scars. If you get larger/deeper closed comedones on your chin or jaw, add benzoyl peroxide to work alongside the Power Duo during the day.

Escalation Step 2: If acne persists, drink 5 g of dried spearmint tea boiled in in 250 mL water for 5-10 min, twice a day. Consider reducing your intake of dairy, refined carbs and sugars. Eat foods high in zinc such as almonds or walnuts. Also consider augmenting with birth control. In particular the ingredient cyproterone acetate in Diane or drospirenone in Yaz.

Escalation Step 3: Consult your dermatologist regarding spironolactone as it does not interfere with the hormone levels but stops androgens from binding to your oil glands. In the extreme case of hormonal acne, consider speaking to a endocrinologist regarding PCOS. Symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods and hirsutism (male pattern hair growth) as well as severe acne.

Adult-Onset Acne

Technically defined as acne after the age of 24, adult-onset acne often rears its ugly head due to changes in lifestyle, environment and stress. There is a big overlap with hormonal acne since changes like the use of contraceptives, pregnancy and menopause often happen during adulthood. Distinguish between the two based on the timing: Hormonal acne tends come the week leading up to your period whereas adult acne is more sporadic across the month.

Solution Step 1: We find that people in this group use many skincare products. If your acne is persistent, simplify your night time routine to a gentle cleanser and use Clear Out + Lighten Up to flatten existing pimples as well as fade the appearance of scars.

As we age, oil production decreases and you will find that your skin becomes more sensitive and easily irritated. If that is the case, use the Protective Moisturizer to nourish and repair your skin.

Escalation Step 2: If acne persists after three months of using the Power Duo, augment by applying a benzoyl peroxide gel in the mornings to the general area where you are breaking out. Consider reducing your intake of dairy, refined carbs and sugars. Eat foods high in zinc such as almonds or walnuts.

Escalation Step 3: Consult your dermatologist regarding a prescription topical antibiotic or topical retinoid.

Closed Comedones

Commonly called blind pimples or under skin pimples, these stubborn clogs start as hard lumps underneath your skin and take up to five months to finally surface. When they surface, they often come as large cysts.

Closed comedones associated with hormonal acne usually occur on the cheeks, the chin and the back. Whereas those associated with diet usually occur inside the neck.

In each step, allot 5 months in order to see through a cycle. Resist the urge to pick at cysts since they can easily cause tissue damage.

Solution Step 1: Discontinue use of liquid foundation or long wear makeup as we often find that these products used by people who struggle with closed comedones.

If you get more than five closed comedones per month, skip to step 2. Otherwise, use Clear Out + Lighten Up for five months in order to work out all of these stubborn clogs. Augment by applying benzyol peroxide gel in the mornings.

Be diligent about using Lighten Up after the cysts have flattened so that you can quickly fade away the red scar. Also, make sure to use sunblock when going outdoors. A red scar will collect melanin and turn brown when exposed to UV. Once it has turned brown, the acne scar can last up to two years!

Escalation Step 2: Consult a dermatologist regarding oral medication. You will need this type of strength to stop closed comedones from forming.

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Nothing on this article should be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical related matters, please consult with your dermatologist.


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Based on 2549 reviews
Skin Type: Combination
All I can say is wow

Got all the acne products on a whim and they did not disappoint! I have noticed such a difference in the texture of my skin. I have tried so many acne products and felt like nothing was working. The clearly basics range has lasted me soooooo long and I saw results in just 3 weeks! Really happy with my experience, I would highly recommend those with acne to try this brand. Love it!

Power Duo*
Chuan Ling T.

Adult acne is a new thing for me- I’ve had clear skin growing up so the outbreaks were very stressful! I did everything and anything I could, from watching YouTube reviews, trying out cult products to professional advice, but nothing quite did the job. So how the power duo panned out for me was definitely a pleasant (-ly hugeeee) surprise. I do acknowledge that my acne challenges are not on the extremely severe end, but I must say, emotionally the positive outcome of using both the power duo encouraged me to wear my skin as it is again. It’s really worthwhile trying as it is also a no fuss duo; hence the currently gild of my staple skincare products.

Calm Down*
Kimberly C.

The entire Clearly Basics product line is the only one that has cleared my skin. I tried any product you can think of including doctor prescribed medication and ointment and nothing worked. After having acne for over 15 years I am so happy to have clear, radiant skin!

I have maybe seen some improvement but nothing amazing yet. Have used the product as instructed, religiously. Will try another bottle and stick to it for a few more months.

I love all of clearly basics! They made my confidence rise because I finally feel comfortable without makeup.
This cleanser is amazing 👏
My skin doesn't feel tight afterwards and now I don't get that mid day shine near as bad.

I love everything from clearly basics! It totally changed my life by clearing my acne. Now they have a new sunscreen and it's great.
It doesn't have a smell or leave your face white or greasy. Best of all it doesn't cause breakouts!

The products are just amazing!! My results in 4 months of using clear out extra strength!!

Clear Out*
Sophie C.

Love this product 👏🏽

Works really well! Enjoy using this face wash, never stings or dries out my acne prone skin !

Clear Out*
Emma S.

Worked really well in quite a short amount of time! I now see long lasting results, my skin is healthy and my acne is finally under control! The first product I have tried which works and is actually affordable!

I struggled with lots of painful cystic acne so tried the clear out product. Found by the end of the first bottle a lot of the smaller spots were not coming back and the more painful larger ones were coming back less inflamed. I was happy with the results from the first bottle so I ordered another, this is halfway through the second bottle and can see most of the acne on my cheeks has gone! I still get cystic acne in the T area but it is much less painful than before. Definitely recommend, but takes time to see real results.

Clearly Basics has been an absolute life saver! Not an over night miracle, be patient and stick with it, amazing products

I saw a huge reduction in new pimples and any new pimples scars healed and disappeared a lot quicker

Power Duo*
Anne F.

I have struggled with acne since I was 12 years old. All through my teenage and adult life my skin has been unpredictable and the breakouts have been constant and so frustrating. I’ve tried everything you could imagine but nothing worked reliably. Clear Out and lighten up have been a total game changer for me and I couldn’t be happier with the results

Acne Care Kit*
Sinead C.

I started using clearly basics at the beginning of the year. I have struggled with acne most of my adult life and when I saw a video from a customer on instagram, everything she described is exactly what I had done…had hormonal acne on chin and jaw line in particular. I had been to the doctor, was referred to a dermatologist and had been on medication, tried all sorts of creams and gels with no success.

I cannot believe this actually worked. I would say I saw results within the first month and probably took around 4 months so really clear up. I have continued with using it and now only get the odd spot at that time of the month but use the calm down on it. It has given me my confidence back and now I’m working on reducing the scaring. I use clear out each evening, the TLC in the morning, lighten up twice a day (but that is a small bottle so doesn’t last long) and then have tried both the so fresh and balancing cleansers. For me it really worked so would highly recommend.

Tightens pores and brightens and smoothes skin. This was my first bottle but I will continue to purchase. I use day and night.

I already use CB balancing cleanser and clear out extra strength, two years ago my skin was spotty, blackheads, raw and very visible. I wondered if the TLC would make a difference in my routine but it has, a glow and radiance I didn’t expect. This is no filter I’ve just woke up. I turned 50 this year the clearly basics range is also an amazing anti ageing tool!

Power Duo*
Mamtha J.

Tried every product out there from proactiv to slurp! None worked, they infact aggravated the condition! Tried clearlybasics as last resort and oh boy it works! Worth every penny! First time in 20 years, stepped out without wearing base makeup! Never thought this day would come!

I suffered with acne for years, and when I finally learned to stop the acne I was left with red and brown scars and hyperpigmentation. But I started using the clearly basics Lighten up cream and Dark mark defends, followed by the moisturiser, and I saw a dramatic difference within days! My scars have lightened so much and most of them are gone. I find this moisturiser is also very hydrating but not greasy, it is absorbed into my skin effortlessly, and it wears beautifully under my makeup. I've now been using the products for 6 months and will continue to use it!

Power Duo*
Laura S.

This stuff changed my life!!!!
After reading the reviews I never thought it would work for me in the same way as it had for other people, as my skin was so bad and cystic. But after just a few months of using this and cutting down on dairy, my skin was 10 times better!
I’m still religiously using the Power Duo and don’t think I’ll ever stop 😊

Clear Out*
Leah N.

It's such a relief to finally have found something that works. I've had acne since I was around 11 and like most people, I tried so many different products and 'hacks' to try and get rid of the spots but nothing really helped.
I was hesitant to try clear out because of the price but I was reassured by the money back guarantee.
To be honest, the purging process they warn about was pretty severe for me. Mine lasted for the entire first bottle and I was so ready to give up. I contacted customer service and they offered me a refund or 50% off my next bottle, reassuring me it would be worth sticking with it. I agreed to persevere and I'm so glad I did! About half way through the next bottle I really noticed improvements and by the end, my skin was the clearest it had ever been. I've completely stopped having breakouts and only occasionally get a spot or two during my cycle. Overall my skin is smoother and I have much less redness and a more even skin tone. I keep using clear out nightly to maintain my nice new skin and I'll happily keep buying it knowing how well it works for me!

Clear Out*
Mandy R.

After a few weeks the results were already visible (right photo). Now the red spots are also less visible!!

Acne Care Kit*
Keiwing W.

My son has serious acene problem and the acene comes back when he stopped taking the anti- biotics. After trying the products, the acene starts to dry up. The result is amazing after one month. Now, trying to apply the product to lighten up the marks.

Calm Down*
Cara W.

This works amazing. As soon as you see a bump, put a small amount on. I’ve used many acne spot treatments and this is by far the best !!

Clear Out
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri

"My skin has changed in better after using these products, they are practical and are not aggressive towards the skin.
I was ashamed of going out in public because everyone was pointing out my acne and scars, but since I started using clearly basic, I found a new me. Thank you changing my life!!"

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