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: Clear Out paired with the Protective Moisturizer will do the trick for acne vulgaris. This formulation is left on your skin where it has sufficient time for retinol + azelaic acid to get to work inside the pore. 98% of users who use the Clear Out see significant improvement after a single set.

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 the Complete Trio 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 the Complete Trio 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 the Complete Trio for five months in order to work out all of these stubborn clogs. Augment by applying benzyol peroxide (BP) gel in the mornings. BP is highly irritating so get as low concentration as you can. Also, apply the BP once every three days until your skin adjusts.

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.


See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

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See what others have to say about Clearly Basics.

Based on 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

Skin Type: Combination

I am so happy that I stumbled upon clearly basics on instagram. I was skeptical at first but decided to give it a try and bought clear out clarifying lotion. It's been 2 months and my skin has improved a lot. I can see significant reduction in pores and acne.

Skin Type: Combination

After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

So glad to have found these products!

Finding products that helped to control my acne without irritating my sensitive skin has always been a huge challenge. The clearly basics products have been my saviour, I can't recommend them enough ☺️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Excellent and actually works

I am so incredibly impressed with the TLC for pore minimising - it 💯 works and has transformed my skin.

I’m in my 50’s and always had hormonal flare ups with larger pores as I age - this is a game changer and have just reordered my 3rd bottle !


not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

So, long time sufferer of acne. Started when I was 12 and I'm 28 now still battling it. I've tried all kinds of different things to try and get it under control and besides birth control, nothing has helped long term. I never want to take birth control ever again and I just happened upon this brand and decided well, why not try? To my amazement, it has helped more than anything else I've tried, I'd say it has improved my skin to the level it was at when I took BC. Of course I still get pimples every now and then, and tiny flare ups during PMS but my skin is nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I highly recommend this company. To those who are considering trying this out, be aware that during the first week or so your skin will go through a purge and your acne will appear to get worse at first. Stick with it! Once that phase is over is when your skin will begin improving. I do need to use it every night for it to be fully effective, but even when I do forget, the pimples don't get too out of control. I just can't say enough good things about this product. It has helped my confidence improve immensely and I definitely recommend trying it to those who have skin as finicky as mine.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
The only moisturiser I trust

I am super sensitive and this is the only moisturiser that I trust honestly incredible.

Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

My daughters skin is really starting to look better!

Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

Skin Type: Combination
Obsessed !!

Obsessed with this cleanser!! It left me feeling fresh and prevented break outs. It is incredible . Loved this product so much

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

Skin Type: Combination
Fresh and clean!

My face is filled with energy and feels so fresh and clean!

Skin Type: Normal
excellent item!

have been using this for years! so good for my skin :)

So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
Very happy!

Love the texture, the minty scent and the lather.
I wish the bottles were a bit bigger HOWEVER they are just small enough to fly with.

Skin Type: Normal
Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

This is the only product that I have needed to keep my skin clear since discovering it about 2 years ago, after suddenly developing cystic hormonal acne at the age of 25. I now only need to use it every second night, so it's incredibly affordable. It has also never irritated my sensitive skin and it has faded previous acne marks to truly clear my skin. After years of trying expensive supplements/products/harsh prescription creams, Clear Out was the only thing that gave me long-lasting results.

Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

I have always struggled with dehydrated acne prone skin. Every month like clockwork I would get a new breakout on my chin or cheek area. These included large cystic acne that by the time they came to a head would take me months to clear. With new breakouts each month this created more & more spots before the first could heal leaving more hyper pigmentation spots that never have time to clear. Clearly basics changed all that for me. It gave my skin a chance to heal and reduced the number of breakouts each month. When I do get a new breakout it resolves itself quickly with less scarring and redness. Now that the acne is under control the products are helping to eliminate the remaining hyper pigmentation spots left from years of acne. I have not been using the product for long but I will continuing relying on this product and look forward to the day I can happily look in the mirror at a smooth clear & even complexion some day soon.

Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

Individual results may vary

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