What Kind of Acne Do I Have?

Acne is the most common type of skin disease and it is affecting millions of Americans, mostly adolescents. Acne breakout usually begins when you enter puberty because of the different changes that occur in your body such as the increase in aldosterone (a male hormone which can be found in both male and female). However, it can also occur during adulthood, often right before a menstrual period.


Acne is classified into two main groups: The non-inflammatory acne, also called as comedones, which includes blackheads and whiteheads and the inflammatory acne, which includes, pustules, nodules, papules and cystic acne.


Non-inflammatory acne appears to be in white or black spots embedded in the skin. This is not red and painful because our body has not yet responded to an infection. This type of acne is easily treated and removed.


However, inflammatory acne is painful, embedded deep in layers, red and swollen, and usually appears in the most prominent part of the face like nose, forehead, and chin. It can cause facial marring and throbbing pain. It can last for weeks and months and worst, it can leave temporary or permanent dark scars in the face.


Here is a list of acne types with images for you to easily identify what type of acne you do have:


Blackheads and whiteheads

Blackheads and whiteheads are simply clogged pores that are not inflamed. They can be seen blocked below the surface of the skin. Oil, dead skin cells and bacteria accumulate and block pores that result to small bumps in the surface of the face. They are usually pretty easy to treat since they are not inflamed and do not need any serious medication.


Papules and pustules

Inflamed acne starts when a clogged pore grows irritated and becomes inflamed. It swells, appears reddish, and is painful.

papules and pustules


A papule appears to be circumscribed. It is a dense elevation of skin with no visible pus or fluid. They can be seen in different color usually in brown, purple, pink or red, and can cluster into a rash. be seen in different color usually in brown, purple, pink or red, and can cluster into a rash. Anyone with this type of acne should be careful not to scratch the pimple or it can
become infected and crusty.


A pustule is significantly small bumps on the skin that are filled with fluid or pus and looks like a small blister. These bumps are like pimples and can grow big and quite painful. It can form on any part of the body and they are most common on the back, neck, chest, and usually appear on the face. This kind of acne needs a dermatologist. An urgent treatment is necessary because it multiplies faster and can become bigger.


Nodules and cysts

A nodule is another type of inflammatory acne lesions that form and spread on the skin during severe acne breakout. It can be seen as large, hard, painful bumps that embed under the skin surface during the later stages of acne breakouts. They look like papules but they are larger, raw and painful to touch. It appears like cysts but they are not filled with pus. It can last long for weeks or months, difficult to treat, and it causes dark acne scars. The main causes of nodule are hormones and infections. Consult your dermatologist for proper treatment.

nodules and cysts


Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is a type of localized inflammation or abscess formed when oil ducts and pores become clogged and rupture. It can be treated with topical and oral antibiotics, retinoids and isotretinoin.

cystic acne


It is very important for you to know what type of acne you currently have, so that you will know the appropriate course of treatment. Proper hygiene, sugar-free diet, and healthy lifestyle are the best ways to avoid these skin breakouts. Consult your dermatologist and ask for proper advice and prescription.