Most Common Types of Acne

October 30, 2020

common types of acne

Most of us deal with acne at one point in our lives, but did you know there several types of acne? It’s important to know exactly what type of acne you have since each kind of acne may need a different kind of treatment. 

Acne vulgaris, or commonly known as acne, is a common skin condition as a result of sebum and dead skin cells clogging up your pores.  It is a common problem for teenagers and adults. Acne can cause further complications such as low self-esteem and depression.

Acne affects around 80% of teenagers and adults. About40–50 million Americans have acne at any given time.


Acne is ultimately caused due to inflammation of the hair follicals and pores in our skin. There are at least 4 main factors or causes of acne:
  • Excess oil or sebum production caused by imbalance of hormones 
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation

Aside from these main factors or causes of acne, there are other things that may possibly trigger your acne breakouts such as topical ingredients, cosmetic allergies, food allergies, gut health, certain medications containing androgen and lithium, diet and stress.

The most common locations for acne are on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks.


There's a reason it's called "common acne" as nearly everyone suffers from a pimple outbreak at some point in life.

Althoughacne is more common in teenagers, about 20% of all cases occur in adults. Acne commonly starts during puberty between the ages of 10 and 13 and tends to be more common in people with oily skin.


What Age Is Acne The Worse?

“For women, the worst breakouts happen between the ages of 17 and 18, while for men, it is between 19 and 20. But do not think that adults are free from the grasp of acne. You may experience mild or severe breakouts well into your 40s, depending on the cause.” 

What are the most common types of acne?

The most common type of acne is acne vulgaris which is a general term for blackheads, whiteheads, and pustules which are red inflamed pimples. Below is a full list of all the most common acne types.

1. Whiteheads- This common type of acne occurs when a comedone is clogged and closed. Unlike blackheads, whiteheads have a thin layer of skin covering the clogged hair follical Many people confuse papules and pustules as whiteheads, but whiteheads are actually small in size, not painful, nor are they inflamed.

Whiteheads appear similar to blackheads as a tiny white bump (or bumps). Whiteheads are caused by hormonal changes, genetics, stress, and lifestyle.

2. Blackheads- Blackheads are one of the most common types of acne.  Blackheads affect a range of ages from teens to people well into their adulthood. Blackheads occur when there is an open, clogged comedone. Because the clog is open, it is exposed to air so it appears black. Many people falsely believe blackheads are dirt but they're actually the oxidation of oil and sebum, causing it to look black. The skin around a blackhead usually appears normal, while the center of the blackhead is dark.

3. PapulesPapules are bumps under the skin’s surface. They are solid, tender, pink, and raised, and the skin around a papule is usually slightly swollen and red. They develop when the whiteheads or blackheads cause so much irritation to the point of damaging some of the surrounding skin, leading to inflammation.

Papules are usually caused by eczema, dermatitis, and chickenpox. 

4. Pustules-Pustules are larger, tender bumps with a defined circular center. The center is filled with whitish or yellowishpus, and the bump has a pink or red base. Immune cells and bacterial cells collect to form this pus. Pustules are typically caused by hormonal imbalances or changes in the body and these types of acne are common among teens and young adults.

Pustules can also occur from allergic reactions to food, environmental allergens. The skin around the bump is inflamed.


5. Nodules-Nodules are hard, painful, inflamed lumps located deep within the skin. They look like larger, deeper papules and have no visible center or head. Nodules are considered severe. Unlike normal blemishes, they take a long time to heal -- anywhere from a few weeks to months.

Nodular acne iscaused by several different factors—overactive sebaceous (or oil) glands, an abnormal buildup of dead cells within the pore, and overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria.

6. Cysts-Perhaps the most well-known type of inflammatory acne, cystic acne, is when the skin is clogged with bacteria, sebum and dead skin cells. These occur the deepest below the surface and are the biggest in size. Cysts are large swollen red and white bumps that don’t have a head and are typically due to a severe infection.


Getting rid of acne is no easy task, but don’t fret as there are many ways on how you can bid those pesky companions goodbye.

Here are top 11 ways on how you can get rid of your acne fast:

  • Keep your hands off your face
  • Read carefully about home remedies
  • Apply warm compress
  • Use acne spot treatment
  • Wash face regularly
  • Wear light makeup
  • Tweak your diet
  • Medicate as needed

1. Keep Your Hands Off Your Face– picking a pimple exposes the pore to even more bacteria, including those from your hands. It also increases the risk of infection or scarring. We totally understand that it’s hard not to pick at your skin or your pimples, but for the sake of avoiding risk of infection, stop picking them.

2. Read carefully about home remedies-  According to DrZeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology atMount Sinai Hospital says one way to remove pimples naturally is byapplying tea tree oil,which "may help by reducing inflammation and lowering levels of acne-causing bacteria.” But he warns against applying it undiluted to the skin, because it may cause irritation.

A lot of DIY or home remedy articles state that toothpaste, lemon juice, or even windex can be used but dermatologists advise against them.

3. Apply a warm compress– Applying a warm compress brings the swelling and acne to a surface. “Heat is a super simple way tosoothe your skin if you feel a blemish coming on” says Margarita Lolis, Dermatologist.

4. Use acne spot treatment- You can use a spot treatment to get rid of stubborn pimples once they surface.

5. Wash your face regularly- This is a given, but if you’re prone to breakouts or have oily skin, don’t skimp onwashing your face as part of your morning and evening skin care routine and avoid using an overly drying cleanser.

6. Wear light makeup– Be careful when choosing makeup products for your skin. Always go for light makeup and have a label that says non-comedogenic.Makeup can cause a type ofacne called acne cosmetica. This type of acne looks like small, raised bumps that usually appear on the chin, cheeks, or forehead.

7. Tweak your diet-"Since acne is caused by a combination of genetics and your environment, factors such as hormonal fluctuations, stress, and diet can cause breakouts," Dr. Zeichner says. It’s okay to enjoy your favorite foods or snacks, as long as it’s done occasionally.

8. Medicate as needed- For those who suffer from cystic acne which is a more severe form of acne, a combination of topical products, lifestyle changes, in-office treatments, and medication are often the way to go. A dermatologist or nutritionist can work with you to find the right therapy that works for you long term.


There are plenty of ways to treat acne, from creams, gels, and washes to prescriptions, and home remedies. But which is best? That depends on what kind of acne you have and the severity of the acne.

“For most people there are a lot of options, there are ways to get it under control.” – Arielle Nagler, assistant professor of dermatology.

Acne is common and can affect any age or gender, but don't worry there are common acne treatments available that you can try. You can also try some common over the counter acne treatments along with the natural too!   

Here are common home remedies for treating your acne:

  • Honey
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Zinc Supplement
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Reduce Dairy Intake
  • a Low GI Diet
  • Use products that contain benzoyl peroxide
  • Use products that exfoliate and contain AHA

Acne Proof Your Lifestyle

Acne itself can be prevented or treated by making changes to your poor lifestyle habits and here are just a few tips on how you can do them:

1. Adjust your diet. High-glycemic foods have been proven to with your hormones and affect acne. Try cutting these out for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.  

2.  Stress less. Easier said than done, but a boost in the stress hormone cortisol can make oil glands hyperactive.  It's important spend a few minutes to yourself to reduce stress each day.

3. Get enough sleep- Skin conditions like eczema worsen with poor sleep and acne can too. Make sure to get the seven to nine hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.

4. Less Is More- If you’re tempted to try everything in your medicine cabinet at once, don’t. A pared-down routine is actually the most effective way to tackle skin that’s inflamed.

5. Use Non Comedogenic or Oil-Free products – Check if the label or ingredients list of your skin care or makeup products are non-comedogenic, and you can try oil free products too, however oils are usually okay as long as it isn't a highly comedogenic oil.

Although acne is common, It is important for you to know what type of acne you have so you know how to treat it. The right lifestyle, skincare routine, and diet changes can successfully clear acne. 

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.