What is Acne-Prone Skin?

Kelly Ferguson

Acne-prone skin is skin that develops acne very easily, as a result of any number of things from oily makeup to genetics. Acne, a skin condition distinguished by pimples, blackheads, or other blemishes, affects nearly everyone at some point in life, usually during the teenage years. People with acne-prone skin may experience more severe acne or acne that does not disappear after the teen years.

A close up of acne.
A close up of acne.

Acne is often a problem for people with extremely dry or extremely oily skin. Very harsh cleansers and exfoliators tend to dry the skin out and cause more harm than benefit. People with acne-prone skin should be careful to use a mild cleanser on the affected skin daily, gently exfoliate, and keep the skin moisturized but not over-moisturized. One should choose a water-based moisturizer instead of one with an oil base to minimize excess oil on the face, which can cause breakouts. Some brands offer moisturizers with acne-fighters, such as salicylic acid, built into the formula.

Acne treatments sometimes contain witch hazel.
Acne treatments sometimes contain witch hazel.

Acne-prone skin can be very sensitive to different types of makeup. Sometimes, experimentation is needed to determine which kind of makeup causes the least problems, but a general rule of thumb is to avoid makeup and other products that contain oil. Products which advertise the phrases “non-comedogenic” or ”non-acnegenic” are claiming that they will not cause acne or aggravate an existing breakout.

Acne can leave behind scars and marks.
Acne can leave behind scars and marks.

Sometimes stubborn acne is caused by other factors that may not have been accounted for. Touching the affected skin with unwashed hands could transfer dirt and oil to the skin. Hair products may also drip down onto the forehead and face and could possibly block pores and exacerbate the condition. Occasionally, persistent breakouts could be the result of continual use of a product to which the user is allergic.

Some people have acne-prone skin, which means they develop acne very easily.
Some people have acne-prone skin, which means they develop acne very easily.

There are many treatments available for acne-prone skin. Most skin care experts recommend using products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on the affected areas to help clear up the acne. For very severe or stubborn acne, one should consult with a dermatologist, as several prescription options are also available. When using acne treatments, one should take care to use a sunscreen daily, as many acne treatments increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Sometimes, overly harsh treatments or trauma from picking acne-prone skin can lead to scarring or pitting of the skin. While acne can be treated with relative ease, scarred skin is often permanent. Most skin care experts recommend not picking or popping acne and seeing a dermatologist to ensure that the right treatment is being used.

Experts recommend not popping acne.
Experts recommend not popping acne.

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Discussion Comments


The article made a great point about dry skin and acne. When I was young, I had acne and oily skin. As I got older, my skin became drier and drier but the acne never disappeared. I thought that dry skin meant no acne, but clearly that's not true.

I don't get acne as frequently as I used to when I had oily skin. But I still get it once in a while, especially when I don't use makeup for acne prone skin. It's frustrating.


@fify-- The severity of acne can range from mild to severe. But as far as I know, if you get pimples, for whatever reason, you have acne prone skin. It's a good idea to use products formulated for this skin type.

During teenage years, most of us have pimples, but when acne extends beyond those years, it means that the person has acne-prone skin. It doesn't matter what the cause is.

I tend to breakout when I don't eat healthy and when I use an oily moisturizer on my face. But my friends do the same things and they don't get any breakouts. So not everyone is acne-prone. If I weren't using acne treatment products, I'd probably be covered in pimples.


So do people with acne prone skin have acne all the time?

I've always considered myself to have oily skin but I do get acne about once a month. I also get a pimple here and there when I'm stressed. But I've never considered myself to have acne. Do I need to be using acne products?

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