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What are Blemishes?

Blemishes are imperfections on the skin, such as acne, pigmentation, or scars, that can affect anyone's complexion. They're a common concern, often impacting self-esteem. Understanding their causes and treatments can lead to clearer skin and confidence. Ready to uncover the secrets to blemish-free skin? Join us as we explore effective skincare solutions.
Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Blemishes are marks or areas of discoloration on the skin. They can be raised off of the skin or flat, and come in a range of colors. Since there are many different types of blemishes with many different causes, the treatment for each is a little different. Common types include acne, scars, birthmarks, age spots, and an uneven skin tone.


Applying cream to face to help remove a blemish.
Applying cream to face to help remove a blemish.

One of the most common blemish-causing conditions is acne. This can cause both raised pustules and pimples as well as flat blackheads and whiteheads. These happen when a hair follicle gets clogged with a naturally-produced oily substance called sebum, dirt, or bacteria, and can also be caused by ingrown hairs. Most people have acne during puberty, when hormonal changes cause the body to produce too much sebum, which increases the changes of clogs. Over-the-counter (OTC) cleansers and medications can reduce sebum, soothe inflammation, and clean out pores for people with mild or moderate acne, but those with severe acne may need prescription anti-inflammatories and medications to regulate hormonal changes.


A person's hand with an uneven skin tone.
A person's hand with an uneven skin tone.

Scarring is another of the most common blemishes. It's caused by too much collagen building up after an injury, and can range widely in size, color, and texture. Though most scars fade over time, using skin oils containing vitamin C, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser therapy can reduce the appearance of large or brightly-colored scars. One exception to this is keloid scarring, which continues to grow even after skin has healed, and doesn't respond well to many types of treatment. Radiation therapy, corticosteroid injections, and cryosurgery may reduce the appearance of these types of scars.


When a hair follicle gets clogged with sebum, acne forms.
When a hair follicle gets clogged with sebum, acne forms.

Blemishes that appear as flat patches of discoloration that are present at birth or develop when a person is very young are called birthmarks. They can range widely in size, and are typically black or brown, as in the case of moles; or red, as in the case of port wine stains and stork bites. They're almost always benign, and are caused by too much pigmentation in one particular area, or blood vessels coming close to the surface of the skin. Since they're usually just a cosmetic problem, they can usually be treated with steroids or laser treatments, or can be frozen off or surgically removed.

Age Spots

Acne can sometimes be caused by ingrown hairs.
Acne can sometimes be caused by ingrown hairs.

Sun exposure may cause age spots or liver spots in older people or younger people who tan a lot. Like birthmarks, they're generally flat, and can be found anywhere on the body, though they're most common on the face and hands. They usually look like small gray, black, or brown marks, and can be treated with skin-bleaching creams.

Uneven Skin Tone

A blotchy skin tone is also a very common, though often more subtle, form of blemish. Also known as hyperpigmentation, it's caused by an irregular overproduction of melanin. Since melanin production is influenced by sun exposure, hormones, and skin injury, too much of any of these things can change skin tone for the worse. Depending on the type of discoloration and the underlying cause, an uneven skin tone can be treated by exfoliation, topical creams, and medications affecting hormone production.

Preventing Blemishes

Acne is one of the most common blemish-causing conditions.
Acne is one of the most common blemish-causing conditions.

Though it's impossible to prevent birthmarks, the chances of getting other types of blemishes can be greatly reduced through proper skin care. Wearing sunscreen and avoiding tanning can help prevent age spots and can help with an uneven skin tone, and staying hydrated can help keep skin looking healthy. Washing the face on a regular basis with a cleanser that matches a person's skin type is also important, as is regularly moisturizing the face. Additionally, proper wound care, breathable bandages, and anti-scarring cream can all reduce the chances of noticeable scars.

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Discussion Comments


For acne one has to watch what they eat. You need lots of water, vegetables and fruits and stay away from fatty foods.


@anon129728: " I'm 33 years old and have skin blemishes on my butt since i was teenager ..."

I had this problem too, made worse by stress. It was extremely embarrassing and I avoided going to any doctor until I got a secondary infection. I finally went to my dermatologist. She prescribed oral antibiotics and a cleanser and an ointment. It began to improve immediately!

I get the occasional itchy, weepy spot but keeping it clean and using cordran tape as a spot treatment clears it up quickly. Don't put it off any longer, get thee to a dermatologist! Good luck.


@anon90568: I am very sorry for her and I suggest you use Clinique because it worked for my sister. Then I used it. I had acne on my face and it's worked for me too. Actually it has the best products and I also used tea tree oil for my face from the Body Shop. I am hopeful that will work. All the best.


I work in a warehouse and there is dust everywhere. Acne was a big problem. I started using Clinique mild soap. It cleans the skin, gets rid of makeup that you missed and you skin is clean. It's rather drying in these Canadian winters but I'd prefer no acne.

You must wash your face twice a day. Keep you skin super clean of dirt in the air, and natural oils from your skin. If it doesn't feel clean, it's not.


I want share my experience to all of you. when i started using conditioner for my hair, i had a pimples on my forehead a lot. i was so sad that time. i bought all some products for pimple but it didn't work, then it made me think it might be the conditioner. i used pantene but i think all the conditioner have the same purpose, which to make your hair shine and oily.

yeah oily, and that is the reason why i had pimples. i stopped using conditioner because i don't need it anyway so now the pimples are gone! try it if you want. i will go for my face than my hair. Good luck!


i have dark patches on both sides of my face, especially around the eyes. i need help to get rid of this ASAP.


i agree totally with anon11738. You guys are trying to solve an internal problem externally. Cleansing is important, yes, but you should also watch your diet and drink lots of water.

I've had blemishes since my teenage years till now (I'm in my twenties). I've noticed that when i drink water (even just two glasses a day) and include veggies and fruits in my diet, my condition improves.

I know what's it like when you cleanse and use blemish creams and nothing works. Trust me: water will improve your skin!


I'm 33 years old and have skin blemishes on my butt since i was teenager due to menstruation and now it's wors because i am pregnant. this has me so worried because it's too embarrassing when my boyfriend looks at it. Please help me find a solution that can remove it fast. thanks ahead.


i had acne on my back ever since i was a teenager till now I'm in my twenties. The problem now is that this acne left me with a lot of scars on my back.

As of now I'm in the process of removing them and I'm using Palmer's Skin Success Fade cream. Hopefully this will work.


i have so many blemishes its crazy. I hate them. they make me look ugly. I just started using aveeno products. let's see how that goes.


Sometimes acne is caused by your internal body. I was 16 and had acne on my forehead. I'm 20 now and i just recently started to get them on my cheeks. it's horrible, i know.

but I'm going to a dermatologist and now it's slowly getting better. It takes time, maybe two to three months. I'm taking pills. I tried all face washes and it never worked.

Hang in there! I agree pimples make one uncomfortable and you may think you're ugly, but that's just the exterior. if i can manage, so can all of you!

Don't stress! That makes it worse! Just smile!


Hang in there anon90568! The teen years are really tough, but be strong. I use Neutrogena Deep Pore Cleanser on my face. Warning: It should only be used about every other day or even less (and only once on those days!). It will dry your skin if you use it too often. I used it four days in a row and my skin looked really dry and leathery, lol and then it started peeling.

But now that I have the usage adjusted, it works just fine. I use it about once a week all over and every other day on the oily spots (forehead and chin are oily on my face). Don't fret about the expensive lotions, cleansers, etc. Hopefully the cucumber, honey, lemon, and/or Neutrogena will help your problem. Just don't pick at it! I have dark spots because of it.

Some sites suggest lemon and cucumber for oily skin, and lemon and honey for dry to normal skin for mild breakouts. Wishing you the best.


i have blemishes on my cheeks and forehead. my skin is very dry. Could you please tell me the solution for that?


Everyone use benzoyl peroxide for blemishes! It works!


aveeno moisturizing bar works wonders. wash your face as much times as you can! It's a miracle! You'll see change in one week and i mean change!


i have bad blemishes on my forehead. i have been trying the st ives apricot scrub for blemishes and am waiting for results. Any suggestions?


well i have acne on my face. i tried proactive, clean and clear and a lot of other products, but i still have really bad acne on my face, chest and back. i have scars too.

as you can all see, I'm the ugliest person in this world. you guys have acne but not as bad as mine. i feel like dying. i don't want to live anymore.

i would love to go to the doctor but my mom just won't listen to me. what should i do? kill myself since i don't have no solution for my ugly self?


I am 38 and I had never had any blemishes or acne on my face during my teenager years. However for the last three years, I have a blemish (quite big) in the middle of my forehead and few acnes that pop up and disappear in the same place.

After using many products, I began using tea tree products of Body Shop. They are affordable and results are a lot better than all these expensive products I used previously. I highly recommend their set.


i think you should use clearasil. i have acne like all over my face but since i started to use it, my acne seems like it is fading away. Good luck.


i have blemishes and wrinkles also. If anyone has any good advice, i would like to know about it.


it seems to be a very common problem, having oily skin and blemishes. well i am trying lately this home remedies; egg white to control oily skin and honey for blemishes. i have already tried it for about two weeks and my skin condition seems to be better. i hope these will work for you, too.


It can be unimaginable facing skin irritants but we all go through it one way or another. I have so many clients that face the same problem many of you are facing. Best of luck to all. Mekia96


i suffer from blemishes. please could you give me a remedy to clear them? i'm so very very desperate to get rid of the blemishes. --aac234


i have these very ugly blemishes on my face and i have tried everything and they just won't go away. now i have to put a lot of make up to cover the marks and am just so depressed at the way i look. please could you help me get a remedy to at least lighten or get rid of the marks? please i am so like very desperate. mins145


hi. i have blemishes all over on my cheeks and nose. i have tried few treatments but it didn't work. can you recommend anything?


I just turned 60. the reddening around my nose becomes worse when I get I find blemishes after sweating. Any ideas or advice?


I've always had quite good skin because i've always taken doxycycline, but i've been on the contreceptive pill for about 3 months now and cannot take it anymore and unfortunately i'm getting pimples. is there anything i can take for a substitute?


I got blemishes on my face and nose. Any remedies for them?


Things like Proactiv, Neutrogena, Clean&Clear and all the others have trouble working because they are a Unisex product. They just don't address the root causes of acne.

None of these products impact DHT which is THE reason that oil is produced and acne bacteria is feed. You simply can't control acne if you don't knock down oil production.

There's only one product that is has a designed for guys and a different design for girls based on their unique skin anatomy - I use it everyday with great results. My estethetician directed me to it, it's called CTRL.


I have many spots, scars and blemishes in my face and I've tried many ways to get rid of them but they can't just come out. Can you please tell what I can use to get rid of them?


well i've heard laser can remove those blemishes and acne scars so if you can afford it go for it in the future if nothing else works


try proactiv!!


Like mentioned above, acne is formed by bacteria, clogged pores and irritation. Make sure your pillowcases are clean and changed regularly as you sweat at night and your face rubbing against the pillow, this causes perspiration, dirt and bacteria from the bed to come in contact with your skin. Also, diet is significant. Eliminate processed foods, they contain chemicals are body are not meant for digesting. Sometimes we will be intolerant (but not allergic) to a food and are not aware of it. Unlike allergies, which manifest themselves with noticeable symptoms (i.e. a rash, hives, etc) food intolerances can easily go unnoticed. Also, make sure you are not over cleaning. Over cleansing causes excess agitation to your skin, you are penetrating the surface to deep and this to is causing sebum activation. Also, be aware of the cosmetic products you are using: products should be hypoallergenic (will not cause allergies), noncomedogenic (will not clog pores) and oil free. Lastly, make sure your hair and hands are out and away from your face unless washed before coming into contact with your skin. Also, drinking water helps get toxins out of your system. Good luck!


Hey I have pimple marks on my nose...which are visible from a distance and looks ugly. I have tried many things. But can't get rid of them. I would like know if I can do anything to remove them. Plz advice.


hey i also have that problem. am pimple free yet i also have blemishes but only on my forehead if there's any gooood advice out there that works i would like to hear about it.


hi.. i'm 17 years old and had acne when i was about 14 which lasted until i finally went to my doctor at the age of 16 when he finally subscribed me with dual lotion which contains hydrous benzoyl which worked very well it cleared my acne up however i still have blemishes all over my head and cheeks dark ones which i've tried 2 get rid off but they just won't go or fade i drink lots of water to and there's no difference is they any solution please i'm desperate

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    • Applying cream to face to help remove a blemish.
      Applying cream to face to help remove a blemish.
    • A person's hand with an uneven skin tone.
      By: Axel Bückert
      A person's hand with an uneven skin tone.
    • When a hair follicle gets clogged with sebum, acne forms.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      When a hair follicle gets clogged with sebum, acne forms.
    • Acne can sometimes be caused by ingrown hairs.
      By: F.C.G.
      Acne can sometimes be caused by ingrown hairs.
    • Acne is one of the most common blemish-causing conditions.
      By: Cheryl Casey
      Acne is one of the most common blemish-causing conditions.