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types of acne

Acne is not just a pimple on your skin. There are many types of acne, ranging from whiteheads and blackheads, to much more severe cases. For proper acne treatment, it is essential to understand what causes acne and what type of acne. Understanding the differences between each of the type helps you fight the problem in a better way. Here are various kinds of acne and their specific signs and symptoms:

  • Whiteheads:
  • These are most common types of acne as most people get them on their skin. It is formed when the trapped sebum and bacteria stays below the skin. Whiteheads appear as a small white spot on the skin. Sometimes they are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.

  • Blackheads:
  • Like whiteheads, blackheads are also non-inflamed clogged pore, but with an open head. It is formed when the pore opens to the surface and melanin in the sebum oxidises to turn brown/black in colour. You can usually see blackheads around your T-zone. Blackheads are common among teenagers as a surge of hormones during puberty stimulates skin to produce excess oil that clogs pores. Accumulation of dead skin cells and using oil based cosmetics can also cause blackheads.

  • Papules:
  • If a blackhead or whitehead gets irritated and its follicle wall ruptures, inflammation is cause and it turns into inflamed acne. Papules are one of the kinds of inflamed acnes that appear as small, firm cone-shaped bumps that are pink in colour. These bumps are not filled with pus, but that doesn’t mean that you can pop them. Popping papules can cause acne to worsen and cause scarring.

  • Pustule:
  • This is what you normally call pimple or zit. Pustules are small, round, hard, inflamed, and full of pus bumps. Pustules have a yellowish or whitish centre, which is caused by visible pus. It is formed several days later when white blood cells reach the surface of the skin and cause inflammation. Although pustules are painless, temptation to pop them is high. Refrain from popping them as you could end up with a permanent scar if you do that.

  • Cyst:
  • It is one of the most serious types of acne. Severe inflammatory response due to the explosion or collapse of a papule or pustule may engulf neighbouring follicles causing cyst. It is characterised by soft, pus-filled lesions that are deep under the skin. Cystic outbreak is commonly seen in teenage boys and young men, although it can affect anyone.

  • Nodules:
  • It is severely inflamed, hard lesions that are lodged deep within the skin. Nodular acne is caused just like cysts develop, but the difference is that they are harder and more painful. Nodular and cystic outbreaks can appear together in large areas of your skin. If left untreated, both can leave severe scarring.

  • Back Acne:
  • Colloquially known as bacne, these are the acne outbreaks that occur on the back. Usually back acnes first appear during puberty and are outgrown by early twenties. However, in some cases they can persist for longer. These are formed when pores on back become clogged with skin cells and the oil is unable to escape, causing inflammation.

Irrespective of the type, acne can be stubborn to get rid of and if left untreated, can lead to scarring. Thankfully, there are various acne treatments available. Along with treatment, it is important to maintain a skin care routine to keep the problem from aggravating. If your acne doesn't start to improve within a few weeks after taking treatment, you should consult your dermatologist.