The Different Types of Acne
There are many different types of acne ranging in severity from mild to severe. The most popular question that acne sufferers ask is, “What type of acne do I have?” Read the following descriptions for the different types of acne.
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After reading through this article, if, for some reason, you are still unclear as to the type of acne you have, browse through the different types of acne pictures on the Internet. Sometimes, having a visual aid to match your symptoms can help you to determine which type of acne you have.
Types of Acne – Acne Vulgaris (Mild/Moderate)
Acne Vulgaris is the type of acne that is most common. Mild/moderate acne vulgaris blemishes include comedones, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, pustules, and papules. Some types of acne scars the skin that it infects, but if you maintain a good skin regimen, you can probably avoid scarring with mild to moderate acne vulgaris.
When you have a mild to moderate case of acne vulgaris, you will typically have the following types of acne lesions:
Comedones – A comedo, or comedones (pl.), are certain types of bumps on the skin that are the result of a clogged pore. The pore could be partially or fully blocked, which causes the formation of either a blackhead or a whitehead, respectively.
Whiteheads – Whiteheads occur when a pore has become completely blocked, which traps sebum (the oil found naturally in your pore), bacteria, and dead skin cells. This causes a small white spot to appear on the surface. Whiteheads normally clear up fairly quickly. Dermatologists advise you not to pop whiteheads, no matter how much you want to!
Blackheads – Blackheads form when a pore is partially blocked, which allows some of the trapped oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells to slowly seep to the surface of the skin. The black coloring is caused by a reaction between the skin’s melatonin and the air that seeps into the bump. A blackhead typically takes longer to heal than a whitehead. Dermatologists also advise you not to try to pop blackheads.
Pustules – Pustules are inflamed blemishes which look like a red circle with a white or yellow center. Pustules are what we like to call zits. Before you pop this pus-inducing zit, make sure you know the correct way to pop it.
If You Must Pop
If you can’t stay away from popping that zit, follow these instructions:
- Disinfect a needle with alcohol.
- Gently prick the pimple’s surface. Don’t poke too deeply into the pimple.
- Wrap your two index fingers in tissue, and with a downward and inward motion, gently squeeze.
- If the pimple doesn’t pop, leave it alone! Popping a pimple that isn’t ready can cause worse irritation and scarring.
- Stop squeezing when clear liquid or blood starts to come out.
Papules – Papules are small, inflamed, tender bumps without a head. Don’t bother squeezing a papule. You won’t get the satisfaction of getting the infection out, and squeezing it could lead to scarring. It will certainly lead to irritation- both to you and your skin.
Types of Acne – Acne Vulgaris (Severe)
Severe Acne Vulgaris presents itself with nodules and cysts. These are considered more severe because of the type of infection and the lengths it takes to treat them.
Nodules – Nodular acne, or nodulocystic acne, consists of larger, painful nodules that can sometimes last for months. Nodules are large, hard bumps that occur under the skin’s surface. With nodular acne, scarring is, unfortunately, common. If nodules are left untreated, they can leave an impaction behind that will flare up again and again. Never should you try to squeeze a nodule. Squeezing a nodule could cause trauma to the skin, and the nodule could last much longer than it would if it were not squeezed. Dermatologists have interventions for nodules, such as injecting the nodule with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and possibly prevent scarring.
Cysts – Cystic acne can look much like nodules, but they are a bit different. They are softer, and feel “mushy”, as they are puss-filled. They are painful to the touch. As with nodules, cysts can cause scarring. Squeezing a cyst can cause even more infection and swelling, and makes scarring more likely. Dermatologists can help with swelling and inflammation due to cysts by giving you a corticosteroid shot.
While acne rosacea can look very much like acne vulgaris, it is different.
Rosacea affects millions of people, most often women over the age of 30. If rosacea does appear in men, it is typically more severe a case. It presents itself as a red rash, typically on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Along with the redness, bumps, pimples, and the like can appear as well.
Sometimes, blood vessels stand out more on the skin of the red area. If rosacea is left untreated, it can cause swelling and growth of extra tissue on the nose (called rhinophyma). Treatments for rosacea differ than those for acne. If you suspect that you have rosacea, contact your dermatologist and schedule an appointment.
Severe Types of Acne
There are several types of severe acne. Although they are rare, they plague those who suffer from them with incredible suffering.
Acne Conglobata – This type of severe acne most commonly affects males. Characterized by several large lesions with widespread blackheads, it can cause severe damage to the skin, and scarring to the point of disfigurement. It can be found on the face, chest, back, buttocks, upper arms and upper legs. The condition, which presents itself mostly on those between the ages of 18 and 30 years, can remain active for several years. Another form of Acne Conglobata, called Acne Fulminans, presents itself with the same symptoms as Acne Conglobata, but with fever and achy joints. This type of acne normally requires hospitalization.
Gram-Negative Folliculitis – This condition typically manifests with pustules and cysts. Unlike other forms of acne, we know that gram-negative folliculitis to be directly caused by long term antibiotic treatment of acne vulgaris. It is rare, and there is no conclusive evidence as to whom it affects more, males or females.
That about does it. Hopefully you now have a pretty good idea of the many different types of acne that people can be effected by. If you are suffering from any of the above know that there are treatment options out there, including this one.
The good news is that there are many interventions for the various types of acne. As researchers spend more time learning about acne, medical interventions become more and more effective in treating acne.