What Are The Different Types Of Acne?
February 24, 2021
Oh, acne, you are a real bummer.
Like an uninvited house guest, you pop up unannounced and refuse to leave. I have spent countless hours soothing your tantrums and have tried many approaches to send you away but you are relentless. My quality of life, mood and self-esteem are affected, and I am running out of tricks up my sleeve. I am at my wits end.
Sounds familiar? You are not alone. 95% of the world population, across all genders and ages, is affected by acne at some point in their life. It is a skin condition that is more common than you think, and certainly not a case of bad luck. So, what are we dealing with?
Acne Vulgaris is a chronic skin condition that occurs when oil, bacteria, dirt and dead skin cells clog pores, resulting in inflammatory or non-inflammatory bumps that can potentially lead to scarring on the skin. Beyond just a painful red dot, there’s more to acne than meets the eye as it comes in many forms. Acne sufferers can also be afflicted by more than one type of acne at once.
The first step to battling acne breakouts is to understand the type of acne you have. As the saying goes, “know thy enemy,” and we are here to help.
A mild form of acne, blackheads are open comedones that form as a result of pores clogged by sebum and dead skin cells. Contrary to popular belief, the black parts are not dirt in your pores, but actually a combination of oil and skin. Since blackheads are exposed to air, the sebum oxidises, making the pores appear black.
Like blackheads, whiteheads emerge from clogged pores but these closed comedones appear on the skin as small to medium, white or skin coloured bumps. This mild form of acne is more difficult to treat than blackheads as the pores are closed.
Papules appear as small red bumps that are less than 5 millimetres in diameter. This type of acne occur when comedones rupture in the skin, causing the body to respond to infection with inflammation. The skin layer around the pores then breaks down and as a result, the affected area appears pink and papules may become sensitive to the touch.
Pustule acne, commonly known as pimples, are formed when papules become infected. They appear as small bumps on the surface of the skin and are filled with liquid pus, forming a yellow or white “head”. This type of acne usually occur on the face, chest and back, and is often a result of excess sebum production.
This type of acne is similar to pustules but they start deeper in the skin. Nodules appear as small, red or skin coloured bumps but do not have yellow or white “heads”, and may be hard and painful to the touch. Unlike pustules which often take only a few days to heal, nodules may persist for weeks or even months.
Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. It causes inflammatory large red boils that are filled with pus. These deeply embedded spots are painful and can take a long time to heal. As cysts are most likely to cause scarring, it is important to avoid picking at them as it can make cysts bigger. While most people suffer from acne at some point in their lives, people with oily skin or hormonal imbalances, such as teens, women, and older adults, are more prone to this type of acne.
Weather Forecast: Chin up, clear skin days are expected ahead.
Well done! You have now taken the first step on your acne care journey. By finding out which type of acne you have, you are more equipped to control your breakouts and take on a treatment solution that works best for you. It may be a bumpy (pun unintended) ride but your road to recovery is in sight. We promise to be there for you, every step of the way.
Stay strong, stay positive!