6 Different Types of Acne and Their Traits

Acne is a skin condition that develops when your skin pores become clogged with oils and dead skin cells. Although it can affect anyone irrespective of age, it’s prevalent among teenagers. Depending on how severe it is, it can cause distress and scarring on the skin. Besides prevention, the best way to treat acne is by dealing with it as soon as it strikes.

Below are the top six most common types of acne:

1. Blackheads

Blackheads are tiny bumps on your skin that develop as a result of clogged hair follicles. They are known as blackheads mainly due to the fact that the bump appears black or dark. This is a less severe type of acne that forms on the face, the back, chest, neck, arms, or shoulders. Each follicle has one hair and a sebaceous gland for producing an oil known as sebum, which keeps the skin soft.

When dead skin cells collect in the pores of your skin, it results in a bump called a comedo. When the skin over the bump cracks and opens, exposure to air causes it to turn black, forming a black head. There are many medications, mostly available in cream, gel or pad form, that work by killing bacteria, drying excess oil and stimulating the skin to shed dead skin cells.

2. Whiteheads

This condition results from trapped dead skin cells, oils and bacteria within your pores. They appear as small, round, white bumps on the surface of your skin. Just like blackheads, whiteheads appear on the face, back, neck, chest, and shoulders. In the US, statistics show that over forty million people battle with acne each year.

Whiteheads vary in size; in some cases, they are so small that they are virtually invisible, while at other times they can grow into big noticeable acne blemishes. They are generally not painful, but they tend to lower one’s confidence and self-esteem. Some of the reasons you could have whiteheads include puberty, hereditary factors, stress, hormonal changes, or some other life habits. Always seek effective dermatology treatment to prevent acne from worsening.

3. Papules

This is an inflamed blemish that appears as a red bump (pimple) on the surface of the skin. As tempting as it is to squeeze pimples, you should avoid squeezing papules as they do not have any pus inside. Squeezing them will only scar your skin. However, following a good skin care routine can effectively prevent papules. If you are constantly exposed to the sun, your skin may become inflamed and hence enhance the development of papules. To prevent this from happening, always make sure you are wearing a sunscreen.

4. Pustules

Basically, a pustule is a papule (pimple) with a yellow fluid known as pus. Pustules can be caused by acne or the once-deadly smallpox disease. They are caused by some sort of infection, which your body tries to fight off using the white blood cells. This is what leads to the formation of pus.

When this pus builds up under your skin, it causes a pustule. Treatment involves attending to the underlying condition, or whatever is causing the pustule. However, some over-the-counter prescriptions such as calamine lotion and benzoyl peroxide gel can reduce the appearance of pustules.

5. Nodular Acne

Generally, all acne is usually as a result of clogged pores. Nodular acne appears as a small ‘headless’ bump on your skin that is very sensitive to touch. It involves a bacteria known as P. acnes, which although harmless to your skin may result in infection if it is trapped in your pores alongside sebum and dead skin cells. It then permeates deeper into your skin, causing the affected part of your skin to look swollen and red. Nodular acne is considered one of the most severe types of acne since it causes problems deep inside the skin.

Unlike blackheads, nodular acne cannot be treated solely by using over-the-counter solutions, which only clear the surface but do little to address the issues deep inside the skin. You will need to visit a dermatologist for effective treatment.

6. Cysts

This is a severe acne condition caused by blocked pores that lead to infection and inflammation. The primary cause of cystic acne is a change in hormones during puberty. It is a round, red, bulging pimple that no amount of makeup can conceal. Cystic acne is usually very painful and could last for up to two weeks. Avoid squeezing a cyst as this will only enhance mark formation. While you might try over-the-counter treatments, for such a severe type of acne, you will need to seek professional help.

Acne treatment requires patience and perseverance. It can take between two and three months of treatment to start seeing noticeable improvements on your skin. You should consult your primary care physician or dermatologist if the acne starts to get out of control.

Ronald Ryan

I'm a self-proclaimed science geek and all-around nerd. Useless fun trivia seems to be my forte. If you ever need to hear a good dad joke, I'm your guy!

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