Different Types of Acne

We’ve been writing about acne for a while now and we just realized that although we’ve covered a lot of the different types of acne in our various posts, the information is spread out in a bunch of difference articles. To make is easier to find, we decided to pool all the information into one article. That way, we can help you identify the different types of acne in one easy to find place. Being able to identify what type of acne you have is the first crucial step on the road to recovery.

The Different Types of Acne


Non-inflamatory/Comedonal Acne Types

This is the type of acne that is more on the milder side and is normally caused by pores blocked by older skin cells and sebum. These can result in:

  • Blackheads – Blackheads are medically known as an open comedones. They appear on your skin as blackish or yellowish bumps. Blackheads are acne caused by oils which accumulate in the sebaceous gland and, if not removed promptly, will build up with sebum and keratin, both of which darken as they oxidize, hence the color and name. The melanin content inside the blackheads is often more yellow or brown.

different types of acne - blackheads

  • Whiteheads – These are medically known as an closed comedones. These are generally formed when bacteria and sebum are trapped below the surface of the skin. They may appear as minuscule white spots or they might be so small that you can’t even tell that they are there.

different types of acne - whiteheads


Inflamatory Acne Types
  • Papules – These are generally small to medium sized pinkish bumps that are a little bit tender when you touch them.

different types of acne - papule

  • Pustules – This is what most people refer to as “pimples”. It’s generally a red bump with a white or yellowish center in the middle. These are formed when bacteria and oil are trapped inside a pore. The pus that comes out when you squeeze them are dead white blood cells.

different types of acne - pustule

  • Nodules – These are extremely hard legions that are buried deep in the skin and are usually very painful when touched. You can generally find these in larger areas of the body, such as the chest or back.

different types of acne - nodule

  • Cysts – These are similar to nodules in that they are buried deeper in the skin, however they are generally softer because they are filled with pus.

different types of acne - cystic
The last two are considered “severe acne” and generally do not clear on their own. In most situations, a visit to the dermatologist is needed.


Rosacea is a skin disease which causes pimples and redness to appear on your face, specifically your nose, cheeks, chin, as well as your forehead. Most of the outbreaks associated with rosacea mirror acne, warranting the nickname “adult acne” as the redness often times comes and goes. Rosacea can cause a feeling of burning as well as possible soreness in both the eyes as well as the eyelids.

General Suggestions for Acne Outbreaks

1. In order to get rid of and prevent further acne outbreaks, it is extremely important to cleanse your face thoroughly. If your skin tends to be oily, then we suggest you buy facial washes specifically made for more oil skin. Many acne or blackheads washes will advertise having salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in them which will help clear your oil glands. Begin by using the wash once a day. If this does not seem to be enough, then increase it twice a day. However, if you find that your face is clearing up (or if you find that the cleanser is leaving your skin peeling or dry) then reduce it to once every two days. Always pat dry your skin to dry if off, not scrub, so that it doesn’t hurt your skin and make things worse.
2. After washing you can apply astringent for acne outbreaks. Astringent helps reduce blackheads because it reduces oiliness. If these don’t work, the next step is medicated cream. Medicated creams will contain small amounts of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, both of which will dry out the oil glands, eventually helping to peel away the blackheads. Other over-the-counter remedies for little cost include blackhead strips.

3. Exfoliating should be done three to four times per week with a good scrub. You should use any type of cream with alpha hydroxyl fruit acids because it clears away the dead skin cells on top of your skin. Once this is done, the blackhead is exposed and open, and exfoliation and scrubbing can help remove the contents. Keeping your hair out of your face can decrease the spread of acne outbreaks by preventing greasy hair and skin from building up excess grease in your pores. While not advised during the use of benzoyl peroxide, being exposed to sunlight or ultra-violet light will encourage your skin to peel. In small, moderate doses, this can help peel the skin and clear blocked pores. Masks with a clay base can be used once a week or every two weeks to dry up the oil glands in excess and clear up your acne.
We hope this article helps you identify the different types of acne and how to treat your particular acne problems. If you have any questions or comments, please use the form below and ask us anything! Until next time.
Disclaimer – Please keep in mind that we are not dermatologists here at Acne Help Today. The information we posted on the different types of acne was posted for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor and/or dermatologist regarding you health/acne issues.

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