Skin Blemish 101: Different Types, How to Treat Them, and How to Prevent Them

December 29, 2023
Reading Time: 7 mins
types, how to prevent skin blemish, BodyTonic medspa Ohio

If there’s one thing we can safely say that every single person will face during their life, it’s skin imperfections. 

A totally normal and inevitable part of life, skin blemishes are just one of the many things that make you and your skin uniquely you. Plus, of course, there’s no such thing as “perfect” skin to begin with. 

That said, there’s no denying we all want to have the clearest, healthiest, and most youthful-looking skin possible, so tackling skin blemishes is high on most people’s skincare agenda. 

Here at BodyTonic Med Spa in Cleveland, our clients are always looking for tips and advice on how to improve their skin, and from the cosmeceutical skincare brands to the cutting-edge skin rejuvenation treatments we offer, we’re able to give them ~and you~ plenty. 

So what exactly are skin blemishes, how can you treat them, how can you prevent them, and how can you keep your skin looking as flawless as possible? Keep reading to find out…

What is a skin blemish?

A blemish is technically any mark, spot, discoloration, or other imperfection on the skin.
However, when people talk about blemishes they are most often referring to pimples and acne, acne scars, or hyperpigmentation, rather than things such as birthmarks, eczema patches, or psoriasis.

Skin blemishes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, from the barely noticeable to the painful and more distressing, and each has its own cause. There is also, unfortunately, no “one size fits all” approach to dealing with them.

The vast majority of the time, blemishes don’t pose any kind of health risk. However, they can be emotionally distressing if severe, so it’s always worth seeking treatment or advice from professionals, as there are always things you can do.

Types of skin blemishes and imperfections

Here’s a quick low-down on the most common types of skin blemishes and their causes. 

Pimples and Acne

The most “irritating” type of blemish, these include everything from blackheads and whiteheads to the slightly larger and more inflamed papules and pustules, and on to the more severe acne territory of nodules and cysts. The cause and way that each type is formed varies slightly, but excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells clogging the pores is a consistent factor behind each of them.

Acne scars 

There are three main types of acne scars, which range from indentations in the skin to raised growths of scar tissue to dark or red spots of discoloration. The type of scar usually depends on the type of acne it came from, and is often unavoidable, but scars can also be caused by squeezing pimples.

Hyperpigmentation and melasma

Dark spots, sun spots, liver spots, and melasma are the most common terms associated with hyperpigmentation. These are areas of darker skin, that are most commonly caused by sun exposure, age, hormonal changes or imbalances, or trauma to the skin – including acne.

Visible pores

Pores are a vital part of our skin, but sometimes they can start to appear larger and more noticeable. This is often a result of having blocked pores; when excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells collect in your pores, the skin swells which causes the pores to enlarge. People with naturally oily skin are therefore more prone to having enlarged pores, while genetics, age, and sun damage are all other common factors.

How to treat and get rid of skin imperfections

Depending on the type of skin blemish you’re facing, the best way to treat it will vary. 

In the case of more severe acne, medical treatment is often recommended or even necessary, but for the less severe types of blemishes such as pimples, hyperpigmentation, and scarring, there are a number of things you can do. 

Skincare routine

A good skincare regimen is the first step to managing blemished skin, which includes three core aspects:

  1. Regular gentle cleansing and exfoliating to keep your skin and pores free from impurities that lead to breakouts and other blemishes. 
  2. Hydration and moisturization to keep your skin healthy, prevent it from over-producing oil that leads to breakouts, and to reduce the appearance of scars, dark patches, or redness. 
  3. Using quality skincare products with specific blemish-fighting ingredients.

Many people mistakenly believe that “drying out” the skin will help reduce breakouts, but the opposite is actually true. Dry or dehydrated skin overproduces oil to try and compensate, which immediately increases the likelihood of breakouts. Equally, aggressively scrubbing at pimples or acne will only worsen it, so a gentle regime that deeply cleanses and moisturizes is vital for achieving healthy and blemish-free skin.

Choosing skincare with the right ingredients is the other critical factor if you want to see noticeable results. A few specific ingredients to look out for include: 

  • Retinoids: A derivative of vitamin A that increases skin cell turnover, helps unclog pores, exfoliates your skin, and increases collagen production. Retinol and other retinoids are some of the most effective skincare ingredients for treating a wide range of skin conditions. 
  • Salicylic acid: A beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps unblock clogged pores, reduce swelling and redness, and improve the overall appearance of skin clarity and pores.
  • Lactic acid: An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) with moisturizing and retexturizing properties.
  • Niacinamide: A form of vitamin B3 that boosts hydration, calms redness, and encourages brighter, smoother skin. 
  • Sodium hyaluronate: A derivative of hyaluronic acid that helps to hydrate the skin.

These ingredients are all extremely effective while also being gentle on your skin, and between them can help to fight the causes of skin imperfections, as well as reduce their appearance. 

SkinBetter’s AlphaRet range is one of our favorites here at BodyTonic Cleveland. A patented technology that combines a retinoid and AHA for gentle and efficient skin rejuvenation, it tackles all kinds of age-related skin concerns and skin imperfections. 
Particularly effective for blemish-prone skin is their AlphaRet Clearing Serum, which is proven to improve skin clarity, pores, and overall tone and texture. SkinBetter products are only available to buy from licensed providers such as BodyTonic, but you can buy them online by registering with us if you’re not able to visit us in person.

Prescription-strength medications

Over-the-counter medications and skincare products that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be very effective at unclogging pores and reducing the appearance of acne and other skin blemishes. These ingredients can be found in a variety of creams, gels, and spot treatments. 

However, if these aren’t working or your blemishes are getting worse, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or dermatologist about stronger prescription-strength medications. These might include topical high-strength retinoid creams, antibiotics, contraceptives, or other oral acne medications.

Skin rejuvenation treatments

Depending on the type of skin blemishes you want to tackle, there are a range of in-office treatments that can also help. 

Most in-office treatments are not suitable for treating active skin conditions such as acne, although there are some options. However, there are a number of treatments that can be highly effective at improving the appearance of blemishes such as scars, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. These include: 

Given that many blemishes are linked to active skin conditions, it’s vital to always have an in-depth consultation with a professional to ensure any treatment you choose is suitable for your needs and current skin condition. 

How to prevent skin blemishes

Preventing skin blemishes and imperfections is just as important as knowing how to treat and manage them. 

No matter which type of blemishes you’re dealing with, the following tips are vital aspects of looking after your skin and ensuring it will be as blemish-free as possible for the long term. 

  • Regular cleansing. Ensure you wash your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser with the right ingredients, to remove all traces of excess oil, dirt, and bacteria. 
  • Gentle exfoliation. Gentle exfoliants are key to keeping your pores clean and your skin clear, but avoid harsh scrubs that can irritate your skin further. 
  • Keep your skin hydrated. This includes drinking plenty of water to hydrate from the inside, and using moisturizer and hydrating serums daily to hydrate from the outside.

Protect your skin from the elements. The sun, wind, and cold can all irritate your skin and cause breakouts and other skin imperfections to develop, so protect yourself as much as possible with clothing and other barriers. And we’ve said it 100 times before, but we’ll say it again: always wear sunscreen (minimum SPF 30), even on grey and cloudy days.

Get rid of skin blemishes in Cleveland, Ohio

When it comes to your skin, getting personalized advice is always recommended. Everyone’s skin is different and there’s no one best way to treat or manage skin blemishes and other concerns. 

Here at BodyTonic Med Spa, in addition to offering the very best cutting-edge aesthetic treatments, we also work with some of the best skincare brands in the industry, enabling us to offer exceptional skincare advice and recommendations as part of our service, and for you to start your med spa experience at home. 

We work with three premium skincare brands, SkinBetter Science, NeoCutis, and iS CLINICAL – all of which offer exceptional medical-grade skincare products that are only available from licensed sellers. 

If you’re based in the Cleveland area, come and see us for a completely free, no-obligation, in-depth consultation in which we’ll use the 7th Generation VISIA® Skin Analysis System to analyze your skin at a deeper level, identify your skin's unique needs, and then recommend you the optimal products, treatments, and services that will help you achieve the blemish-free skin you dream of. 

Not based in Cleveland? You can still access the incredible SkinBetter Science products via our BodyTonic online store! Just follow this link to sign up, and feel free to give us a call if you want some advice on the best products for your needs. 

And while you’re here, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages too. You’ll get inspiration and explanations on other amazing beauty treatments, exciting BodyTonic news, and of course… be the first to hear of our in-Spa special offers!

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