Beginners Guide to Male Acne, Causes and Treatment

Learn all the essentials on acne, what causes acne on men, ingredients and how to treat it.

man with acne scars using retinol
Written by Bianca Barbosa
Nov 13, 2021 

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions out there. Many people experience acne at some point in their life, either as a teen or an adult, and it is completely normal. Men are more likely to experience acne in their teen years as part of puberty.

Not only as teens, but men can also carry acne into their adult years. If not continuing from earlier years, there are also a few different factors that might bring back acne after you've hit adulthood.

Acne can cause discomfort and scarring to the affected areas. This condition goes much further than just skin deep. Acne has also been linked to men's mental health as it can be a heavy weight on men's self-esteem (source). 

What Is Acne?

There are two types of acne, and within them, different symptoms. There is acne (also known as Acne Vulgaris) and Rosacea (Also known as Acne Rosacea); both are skin conditions and, as mentioned, a very common one amongst teens and young adults (source). It affects different areas of the body, such as the face, chest, back, and butt, but the face is the most common area (source). 

Keep in mind that there are different types of acne, from blackheads to cystic acne, and different factors that may cause men to have acne. Not all factors are in our control, such as going through puberty for instance. It’s also important to know that each type of acne will require a different approach and treatment. 

Different Types of Acne 

Acne can present itself through blackheads, papules and pustules on the face. Rosacea can have the same symptoms, plus nodules and cysts, but rosacea is most easily spotted due to the redness that appears over the mentioned symptoms (source). It isn’t just one type of spot or congestion, so if you are wondering if you might have acne, there are a few symptoms to look out for. You may have:

• Blackheads

Black bumps that develop on your skin. Keep in mind these are not pores filled with dirt; it’s simply the colour of the inner lining.

• Whiteheads

Firm white bumps, similar to blackheads. 

Inflammatory acne (rosacea): 

• Papules

Red bumps that can feel sore or sensitive to touch.

• Pustules

Similar appearance to papules. They are red bumps on your skin that feel sensitive to touch but also have a white top, indicating it's filled with pus. 

• Nodules

Hard bumps on the skin. These cannot be popped and can be painful.

• Cysts

Large bumps filled with pus and the most likely acne type to leave scarring on the skin. 

(source)

Note: If after shaving you experience bumps, redness or ingrown hairs - this isn’t necessarily acne and could be a result of your specific hair type, using a blunt razor or not using the right shaving products.

Man with acne on cheek

What Causes Acne in Men?

For most men, acne is linked to hormonal changes. This can mean an overproduction of oil on your skin which causes your pores to become clogged and leads to inflammation.

Acne can also sometimes be caused by side effects of certain medications, using the wrong grooming and personal care products or your lifestyle. For example, you might be hitting the gym five nights a week but not taking time to shower and cleanse your face and body properly as you should afterwards. A poor routine can affect your skin and cause acne.

A few other factors that might contribute to developing acne: 

• Poor sleep
• Stress
• Beauty products high in oil
• Certain medications, including lithium, some types of hormonal birth control, anticonvulsants, and steroids

(source)

In some cases, acne can be hereditary as it has proven genetic influences. It may happen if one of your direct relatives has or had the condition before (source).

Acne Myths

Even though there can be a few things that will play a role in developing acne, below are the most common myths. These have little to no effect on acne:

• Greasy Foods

Consuming fatty foods will not improve or worsen your acne. Rubbing grease onto your face may, but eating will not. 

• Hygiene

How many times you wash or don’t wash your face has nothing to do with the appearance of acne. 

Ideal Skincare Ingredients for Men with Acne

Depending on the severity and cause of acne, you might just need to change up your skincare routine to keep spots and congestion at bay. Here are the ingredients to add to your routine to fight acne:

Charcoal

Charcoal is great for absorbing oil, drawing out dirt from clogged pores and keeping the skin clear. 

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is excellent for oily skin and acne - it works as an exfoliant that goes deep into the skin to help clear pores and prevent dead skin and oil from building up in there. 

• Zinc

 Zinc is anti-inflammatory and helps to clear bacteria. Use it on papules and cystic spots to take the pain and inflammation away.

Men’s Acne Skincare Routine

There might be many different factors that can cause acne, and most can be controlled with a healthy lifestyle, a good diet and using skincare products with the ideal ingredients for acne-control.

With that in mind, here are a couple of things to consider! It’s great to have a morning and night routine in place, including a gentle and oil-free cleanser to help keep your pores clean and decrease oil and dead skin clogging. Always have SPF and moisturiser in hand; once your face is cleansed, let's keep it protected to help your pores stay clean and heal quicker (source).

Feeling confident on your next steps now? It’s time to get your routine started. 

Product Round Up

MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser-Humanery
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser-Humanery
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser-Humanery
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser-Humanery
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser-Humanery
MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser-Humanery

MESOA Revitalising Moisturiser

HEATH Oil Control Moisturiser
Oil Control Moisturiser-Humanery
HEATH Oil Control Moisturiser
Oil Control Moisturiser-Humanery

HEATH Oil Control Moisturiser

HEATH Cream Shave
Cream Shave-Humanery
HEATH Cream Shave
Cream Shave-Humanery

HEATH Cream Shave

MESOA Peppermint & Tea Tree: The Daily Duo Set
MESOA Peppermint & Tea Tree: The Daily Duo Set
MESOA Peppermint & Tea Tree: The Daily Duo Set
MESOA Peppermint & Tea Tree: The Daily Duo Set

MESOA Peppermint & Tea Tree: The Daily Duo Set

BARBER PRO Super Eye Mask
BARBER PRO Super Eye Mask
BARBER PRO Super Eye Mask
BARBER PRO Super Eye Mask

BARBER PRO Super Eye Mask

HEATH Face Wash
Face Wash-Humanery
HEATH Face Wash
Face Wash-Humanery

HEATH Face Wash

Read More from The Grooming Journal

Sea Salt Hair Spray | What It Does & How To Use It

What is sea salt spray and what does it do? Learn more about this wonderful new hair styling product for men and take your hair styling game to the next level!

A Beginner's Guide to Sensitive Skin for Men

Sensitive skin is a very common skin type, you might have even heard about it before. You can keep learning and trying to improve your skin by keeping an eye out for products and discoveries. Since you are here, shall we get a little more in-depth about it and what's best for men with sensitive skin?