No matter how much you care for your skin, acne breakouts appear now and then. Isn’t it? But, do you know among the different forms of acne, acne papules are one of the most common types that you develop on your skin?
Papules are usually not dangerous and can be prevented with easy natural remedies. In this article, we help you understand what causes acne papules and how you can treat them.
What Are Acne Papules?
Acne papules  form as tiny red bumps within a diameter of 5 millimeters on average. They do not have any visible pus and commonly occur on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, back, and butt areas.
“In most cases, these papules may start to accumulate pus and become pustules within a few days of occurrence,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
How Do Acne Papules Form?
An acne papule begins as a comedo, which is a blocked hair follicle due to the accumulation of excess sebum and dead skin cells trapped in it. The bacteria, Propioni acnes , starts infecting and colonizing these comedones by feeding on the sebum plugs. This causes rupture and inflammation in the surrounding skin of the infected hair follicle, which forms a red, sore and bumpy papule.
In Ayurvedic terms, the imbalanced doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, manifest in the form of different kinds of problems in your body, including skin-related issues. “Ayurveda links papules with raised levels of Vata and Pitta doshas along with slight elevation of Kapha dosha levels in the body. While the overproduction of sebum is caused by deranged Pitta and Kapha doshas, the increased dryness in skin due to high levels of Vata results in excessive shedding of dead skin,” says Dr. Zeel.
What Causes Acne Papules?
The most common factors that cause an imbalance in dosha levels, thus leading to acne papules include:
- Stressful lifestyle
- Improper diet and consumption of excess sugar
- Intake of certain medications such as corticosteroids
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking
- Hormonal imbalances during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause
- Using unsuitable skin products or the ones made of harsh chemicals
Studies revealed that stress may slow down the healing activity in your body by up to 40% . This, in turn, slows down the healing of acne lesions.
How To Treat Acne Papules Naturally?
1. Ayurvedic Methods
Below are some of the effective Ayurvedic methods that bring your elevated doshas to balance and in turn helps in controlling acne papules.
It involves perspiration or sweating through herbal steam baths to open up the clogged pores and remove toxin buildup from your skin. Swedana also improves blood circulation, relieves stiffness and increases your skin tone.
Based on your elevated doshas, your Ayurvedic practitioner determines the herbs used for Swadana.
Virechana is a process of controlled purging to detox your colon, small intestine, and liver. It helps in relieving excessive internal heat (Pitta) from the body caused by stress and unhealthy diets.
“In a way, Virechana helps to eliminate toxins present in your GI tract , blood and sweat glands, which in turn are responsible for the formation of acne papules,” says Dr. Zeel.
C. Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments
Below are some of the potent herbs which you can include in your skincare regimen regularly to control acne papules.
- Turmeric: Add half spoon of honey to a spoon of turmeric and make a paste. Apply the paste on the papules and wash it off after half an hour.
- Neem: Prepare neem juice by crushing 5-10 leaves. Apply the juice over the acne-affected areas on your face. Leave it for half an hour before rinsing it off with water.
- Amla: Make a face mask by adding adequate water to 2-3 spoons of amla powder. Apply the face pack and rinse it off after half an hour.
- Manjistha: Prepare a thick paste by adding a little amount of water to a spoon of manjistha powder. Apply the paste on the papules and wash it off after 20-30 minutes.
- Sariva: Add half spoon of water to one spoon of sariva powder to make a smooth paste. Apply it on your acne spots and wash it off after half an hour.
D. Dietary & Lifestyle Changes
- Avoid eating fermented, spicy, salty, sour, and oily foods.
- Include a whole lot of fruits, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and vegetables in your diet regularly.
- Include spices such as turmeric, coriander, cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, cumin, etc. in small quantities in your meals every day.
- Stay away from processed sugars and junk foods.
- Eat your meals at the same time every day in a quiet environment.
- Do not drink water while you have meals. You can drink water half an hour before and after your meal.
- Get adequate sleep of 6-8 hours/day with a fixed schedule every day.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol completely.
- Stay positive and stress-free by practicing meditation.
Vedix Tip: Engage yourself in any form of daily exercise such as yoga which results in sweating. Swedana (sweating) helps you eliminate toxins from your skin, in turn, may prevent acne. Always take a bath after such a physical activity.
2. Home Remedies
A. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water. Apply this solution to your face using a cotton ball. Leave it for 1-2 minutes and then rinse your face with water. Repeat twice a day.
B. Honey & Cinnamon
Add a spoon of cinnamon powder to 2 spoons of honey. Use the mixture as a face mask and wash it off after 20-30 minutes.
C. Tea Tree Oil
Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to a cup of water. Apply it on the affected area using a cotton ball. After half an hour, wash your face, pat dry and apply a moisturizer.
D. Green Tea
Boil water for 4-5 minutes and add a spoon of green tea leaves to it. Wait for another 5 minutes and then strain the tea. Pour the tea into a spray bottle and use it across the acne-infected regions on your face. After half an hour, wash your face and pat dry.
E. Aloe Vera
Use freshly extracted aloe vera on your skin as a moisturizer daily. You can apply it 1-2 times a day.
Tips To Prevent Acne Papules
- Always use lukewarm water and gentle herbal soaps, preferably neem-based, to cleanse your face twice a day. Avoid scrubbing your face when you cleanse it.
- Do not forget to moisturize your face every day after cleansing and drying.
- Choose products that are suitable for your skin type and follow a consistent skincare regimen.
- Don’t use any perfumed lotions or makeup on the acne papules. Let the acne-affected area get sufficient air circulation.
- Use a sunscreen lotion daily and re-apply every 2-3 hours.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Consume 2-3 liters of water daily.
- Always maintain a hygienic lifestyle and keep your personal items clean.
Acne Papules Vs Acne Nodules
Acne papules are small or large red inflamed bumps on your skin surface whereas nodules are inflamed and painful acne that is deeply rooted in your skin tissue. However, both acne papules and nodules are formed due to clogged hair follicles.
In a way, nodules are a more serious form of acne  and take longer (a few months) to heal when compared to even larger acne papules, which reduce within a few weeks. Also, nodules often result in scarring while papules don’t unless you pop them.
FAQ About Acne Papules
1. What Does Papules Acne Look Like?
Acne papules look like small, raised bumps on your skin. The bump may have a dome shape or a flat surface on the top. Also, it doesn't form pus.
2. Do Acne Papules Go Away On Their Own?
Mostly, acne papules can reduce on their own in a significant period. However, not all acne papules go away quickly and may need spot treatments to heal faster. In some cases, if not treated in time, they may grow larger and may develop into acne pustules.
3. How Long Does Acne Papules Last?
Typically, acne papules may last on your face for 1-2 weeks. The larger papules may take 3-4 weeks to subside. However, they may take more time to disappear if the papules convert into pustules with whiteheads.
Follow the treatments mentioned in this article for acne papules only after consulting your doctor.
The Last Word
Though papules are not really a serious problem, they may turn into scarring pustules if not treated at the right time. In some cases, it may worsen if you attempt to pick on them. You should follow a regular skincare regimen suitable for your skin type to keep your doshas in balance and prevent acne problems.
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