May 2022

Different Types of Acne and How to Get Rid of It

Types of acne

Are you bothered by black spots and enlarged pores on your face? Or maybe you suffer from pus-filled pimples that seem to return again and again? There are actually a few lucky people who have not been affected by this skin issue known as acne vulgaris or simply acne.

Teenagers are most likely to experience the negatives of this condition. However, it is not uncommon for acne to attack adults who have long since outgrown puberty.

There are many different reasons why people get acne, as well as several different types of acne. Understanding what kind of skin breakout you have is crucial to its successful removal.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, make sure to read the text below.

What is acne, and how many types are there?

Acne, or acne vulgaris, as many doctors call it, is a disease of the skin. In most cases, it occurs in the facial region. However, you may also experience such breakouts on your neck, chest, back or shoulders.

These are the skin regions where you have the most oil glands. When these glands are overactive, they can easily block the hair follicles which are joined to them. This, in turn, may result in different kinds of acne blemishes.

In general, acne can be divided into two large groups – inflammatory and noninflammatory acne. They both have a few subtypes. Noninflammatory blemishes normally take two forms, including blackheads and whiteheads. Inflammatory acne includes a few subtypes, namely papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.

What is acne

Types of noninflammatory acne

Noninflammatory acne, such as whiteheads and blackheads, is the most common type of acne. It normally shows as small bumps with either white or blackheads. Both of these formations are classified as comedones.

As its name suggests, this is a type of acne in which the skin is not inflamed so that the blemishes won’t appear red or swollen.


Blackheads are clogged pores which are open (there is no layer of skin over them) at the skin’s surface. As a result, they are subjected to the effects of oxygen in the air, which gives them a black appearance.


The so-called whiteheads are pretty similar to blackheads but the main thing separating them is that they have a layer of skin on top. As a result, they have no opening at the surface and remain skin-coloured or appear yellow or white.

Types of inflammatory acne

Inflammatory acne is a more severe kind of acne. It is usually triggered by an infection below the skin surface. Unlike whiteheads and blackheads, which are not swollen or painful, inflammatory spots can cause discomfort and appear as swollen, pink bumps. They are also more likely to leave dark spots and scars on the skin.

If you have this type of acne, you will probably need to exert more effort in order to get rid of it.


A papule is a red, inflamed pimple that shows on the skin. This type of inflammatory acne is distinguished by the absence of a white pus head. They usually grow from comedones. Inflammation causes the walls around your pores to break down, resulting in papules.


A pustule is a red bump with a whitish or yellowish pus head at its center. Pustular acne typically arises from papules when there is a high rupture in the hair follicle wall. Pus builds up and forms a white head. Squeezing them may lead to the formation of dark spots or scars.


Acne nodules are large and painful bumps that appear deep under the skin surface normally during the later stages of acne breakouts. They are inflamed pimples that can last a long time. If squeezed, acne nodules can worsen and also leave you with scarring on your skin.


Acne cysts are one of the most severe types of acne. The pimple develops deep under your skin. This is typically caused by a buildup of bacteria, oil, and fatty acids in your pores. Cystic acne is not only the most severe form of acne, but it is also the most visible. Lessons frequently appear as large white bumps on the skin that are filled with pus. Cystic acne will leave scars if left untreated.

What causes acne?

Acne develops when your skin pores become blocked with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. All the pores on your skin are actually openings to hair follicles, which are composed of hair and sebaceous glands. These glands release the so-called sebum (oily substance).

Sebum is responsible for protecting your follicles and keeping your skin lubricated. Acne is caused by excessive sebum production and an accumulation of shed skin cells in the pores, where bacteria can grow. When your pores are obstructed, bacteria and oil are unable to escape, which results in the formation of inflamed pimples.

But why does this happen at all? And why do just some people have acne? Here are some of the most common reasons why you may experience skin breakouts.

Hormonal changes

The hormonal changes linked to puberty are a major cause of acne. Teenagers are more likely to produce excess sebum. As a result, pubescent skin follicles shed skin cells at a faster rate, increasing the risk of blocked pores.

Adults are also susceptible to hormonal changes, which may result in skin problems. Women tend to suffer from hormonal acne more than men due to hormonal fluctuations during their menstrual cycle, before or after using contraception, or during pregnancy and menopause.

Improper skin care products

In some cases, skin care products that you use can contribute to acne. Too-greasy facial cleansers, moisturisers, and other products can clog pores. Certain ingredients in your cosmetics may also cause skin irritation and inflammation.

Acne-causing bacteria lives on everyone’s skin, and in normal circumstances, it does not cause problems. If you apply too thick and greasy creams or lotions, it will additionally increase the amount of sebum on your skin. The buildup of oil creates an ideal environment for the bacteria to multiply.



Of course, genetics play a role as well. Some people are just predisposed to develop acne due to factors such as sebum overproduction and increased skin cell shedding within hair follicles.

If you have a family history of severe acne, it is a good idea to consult a dermatologist or medical spa therapist to discuss prevention and treatment options.


Chronic stress can cause various skin conditions. This is also one of the key culprits for adult acne.

When you are stressed, your body produces more androgenic hormones and cortisol. Higher levels of these hormones can increase sebum production and inflammation, leading to acne.

How to get rid of acne?

There are many different methods for treating acne, from topical and oral medications, for mild cases, to antibiotics and specialised therapies, for more severe forms of the condition.

So if you want to determine which is the best acne treatment for you, you will first need to find out the type of blemishes you have and their severity. As you might guess, this is most accurately done by skin care specialists. They will create a personalised treatment plan with products customised for your skin’s needs.

Topical medications

If you have mild acne such as blackheads and whiteheads, you might be able to get rid of it with some over-the-counter medications, including:

  • Benzoyl peroxide. It is available as a wash or leave-on gel. It will help kill bacteria and clear out pores.
  • Salicylic acid. You may purchase it as a cleanser or lotion. As with Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid eliminates acne-causing bacteria and prevents pores from clogging.

If over-the-counter treatments do not provide consistent results, your dermatologist or medical spa therapist may recommend prescription medication such as:

  • Topical antibiotic. They are typically used to treat moderate acne such as pustules. Antibiotics will help you regulate bacteria and reduce the redness and swelling of acne. For better outcomes, your dermatologist or medical spa therapist may suggest using them in conjunction with otc medications such as benzoyl peroxide.

Oral medications

If you suffer from a moderate or more severe form of acne, you may need to take oral prescription medications in order to achieve clear skin.

  • Oral antibiotics. Some severe cases such as inflammatory papules, nodular acne and cysts often require more serious treatments such as antibiotics. They are often combined with topical treatments for more effective results.
  • Oral contraceptives. Such an acne treatment option is used when the skin breakout is caused by hormonal fluctuation during the menstrual cycle. Oral contraceptives can help normalise hormone levels, hence reducing inflamed blemishes.

Acne facial treatments

Facial therapies are great for improving acne-prone skin. You can use them to treat both mild acne and more severe acne. When combined with proper acne medication, facial therapies may speed up the acne removal process and help you achieve clearer skin. Here are some of the procedures you may get.

  • Laser therapy. You can use this treatment for both active acne and acne scars. Lasers have the ability to boost collagen production and the growth of new skin cells. There are different kinds of devices available on the market. Non-ablative lasers are typically used to treat mild forms of acne, such as comedones. On the other hand, ablative devices work great for inflamed lesions and severe acne.
  • Microdermabrasion. This kind of facial therapy involves removing the top layers of the skin to eliminate the excess oil and dead skin cells. It is suitable for mild to moderate blemishes. Microdermabrasion is a great way to minimise the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Chemical peel. It involves using special chemicals such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. The procedure might be effective only for a mild form of acne.

Keep in mind that only a skin care specialist can determine which facial treatment is appropriate for you. This is done based on your skin type, the type of acne you have, its severity and the overall condition of your skin.

To conclude

Acne is a very unpleasant skin condition that normally affects one of the most visible areas of the body, namely the face. There are different types of acne – some of them are just mild blemishes, while others may become painful lumps.

The best way to deal with this condition is to seek the help of medical or skincare professionals. They are able to diagnose acne through a visual skin examination. A dermatologist or medical spa therapist can also recommend the most appropriate acne treatments.

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