Understanding the Different Types of Acne

Blemished skin? We can help. Learn all about the different types of acne

Learn about the different types of acne

Every one of us dreams of having a flawless, clear complexion. One of the biggest enemies of this dream of ours is acne and the many different types of acne that can ruin an otherwise good-skin day.

Acne is mainly caused by the clogging of our pores. To be more specific, when dead cells and oil collect in our pores, they slowly pull away from the skin, giving an inflamed appearance. This, of course, is the excess of sebum in our skin that is imbedded in the pores. This is how acne is caused. But, you should know that acne is a broad term. While a good face mask for acne can help clear up your problems, there are different types of acne that you should know of. Read on as we discuss the different types of acne in greater detail.


Of course, we had to start with whiteheads. This is one of the most common types of acne. Here, the hair follicle, called comedo, becomes clogged with dead skin cells and oil. The comedones are closed due to the clogging and stay closer to the skin surface. You can use spot treatment and over-the-counter medicines to treat whiteheads effectively. Whiteheads should not be picked at as they have a tendency to spread.


Unlike whiteheads, blackheads are comedones that have an opening at the skin surface. Within this opening, there is an excess of dead skin cells and oil. These comedones can turn black in color due to exposure to pollution or when the hair follicles have an irregular light reflection. Even blackheads can be treated by over-the-counter medications, a blackhead mask, blackhead removers, or through careful extraction by a dermatologist. Similar to whiteheads, picking or squeezing of blackheads should be avoided.


A kind of an inflamed pimple, pustules are filled with either yellow pus or fluid. This pus is the result of the accumulation of bacterial cells and immune cells. Imagine a whitehead, and then a red or pink color ring around the comedones. This is exactly what a pustule looks like. Squeezing or picking pustules can cause dark spots or scars on the skin so it should be avoided.


Cysts have a boil-like exterior. They are usually larger and are lesions filled with pus. These types of acne are of the more severe type and can be quite painful as well. Cysts should be treated by a dermatologist as soon as possible.


This type of acne is more sensitive and occurs when dead skin cells and oil collect within the hair follicles. Papules have an inflamed, bump-like appearance on the skin that can be red or pink in color. They shouldn’t be picked or squeezed as it may lead to scarring of the skin tissue. Also, the inflammation can become worse as well. Papules can be termed as a severe type of acne when they’re found in larger numbers.


Nodules are generally deep-rooted within the skin. They are painful and inflamed lumps that become hard over time. They are papules that have a larger surface area and are also deeper. Here, the clogged pores damage the cells and soft tissues underneath the exterior skin surface that, in turn, causes a lesion to form. Nodules can lead to scarring or dark spots development on the skin. It is better to get them treated by a dermatologist who can suggest prescription drugs that can control them.

Acne Conglobata

When many inflamed, interconnected nodules form under the surface of the skin, it is commonly termed as Acne Conglobata. This is actually one of the most severe types of acne that can affect the arms, chest, neck, and buttocks. They are usually more common in men as compared to women. Dermatologist consultation is advised here as this type of acne may leave deep scars.

Acne Mechanica

This is also known as “sports-induced acne” as Acne Mechanica is very common among athletes. The skin can become inflamed due to friction, heat, and pressure. Because of this, it’s advised to take a bath immediately after playing or practicing sports.

Severe Nodulocystic Acne

When multiple inflamed nodules and cysts are formed, turning purple or deep red in color on the skin, it is called severe nodulocystic acne. This acne is really painful and quite serious. Dermatologists directly inject steroid hormones such as corticosteroid into the cysts and nodules.

Regardless of the different types of acne you might have, it's important to see a dermatologist if you can't control your breakouts through a good skin care regimen.

Resources— MedicalNewsTodayWebMD