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The Common Types of Acne

Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples and spots on the face, neck, shoulders and chest. Acne can be minor or severe. Minor acne responds to over-the-counter medications or home remedies. But for severe acne, you should speak to a dermatologist. Acne can be caused by genetics or hormones. Hormonal causes of acne may be changes in hormones or overproduction of progesterone.

About 50 million Americans suffer from acne each year. Additionally, it affects about 80% of adolescents and young adults.  Identifying the type of acne you are experiencing is vital when it comes to treatment. Fortunately, there are various products you can use to treat acne. Acne is categorized into two categories:

  • Non-inflammatory
  • Inflammatory


It includes blackheads and whiteheads. They don’t generally cause swelling. You can also use over-the-counter drugs to treat them. The following are types of non-inflammatory acne.

1. Whiteheads

This acne is small, whitish, or flesh-colored spots. Whiteheads have a white and circular center enclosed by a red halo. The area around the whitehead may appear to be wrinkled or tight, especially if the whitehead is large.

Whiteheads are more difficult to treat since the pores are closed. But you can use products that contain salicylic acid. Your dermatologist can also prescribe a topical retinoid.

2. Blackheads

Blackheads, as the name suggests, are black spots that may appear as a little raised bump. They occur when a pore is blocked by dead skin cells or sebum. The upper part of the pore stays open, despite it being entirely clogged.

Inflammatory acne

Red and swollen pimples are referred to as inflammatory acne. Inflammatory acne includes:

1. Papules

Papules acne occurs when the walls surrounding pores break down from serious inflammation. This leads to hard, clogged pores that are gentle to touch. The skin around a papule is usually a bit swollen and red.

2. Pustules

Pustules are larger, gentle bumps. They also form when the wall around the pores break down. However, unlike papules, pustules are usually filled with pus. The bumps come out from the skin. They are red in color. Benzoyl peroxide is generally used to fight the bacteria. You can also use salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells and dirt.

3. Cysts

Cyst form when the pores are blocked by sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The clogs occur deeper unto the skin and further below the surface. Cysts are painful.  Hormonal cystic acne is the largest form of acne, and their formation is usually due to severe infection. They are also more likely to scar. The dermatologist is likely to prescribe isotretinoin. This medicine is commonly used to treat cysts. But if the cysts are severe, the dermatologist may do a surgical operation to remove the cyst.

4. Nodules

Nodule acne happens when clogged, swollen pores undergo further irritation and become larger. Since nodule acne is deeper underneath the skin, it is difficult to treat them with home remedies; they require prescription medicines from a dermatologist to help clear them up.

The dermatologist will prescribe oral medication isotretinoin. This is produced from a form of vitamin A and it is taken for four to six months depending on the severity of the acne. It prevents and treats nodules by reducing the size of the oil gland within the pores.


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