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The Different Types Of Acne And How To Treat Them

Not all breakouts are the same. Here’s how to identify the different types of acne and bid them goodbye.

Are you wondering why you are not getting the desired results from your acne treatments? There are so many different types of acne. It is essential to understand which one you have to treat your breakouts effectively. Here’s a guide to all the different types of acne and how to identify them to find the best treatment for your skin.

What is acne?

Acne is a skin disorder that develops when your hair follicles are clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It results in whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples. Although it affects people of all ages, acne is most prevalent among teenagers. According to a report by the American Academy of Dermatology, around 85% of young adults experience acne.

What are the different types of acne, and how to treat them?

Acne is the term used to describe a skin condition that can cause breakouts. But pimples of all kinds have become synonymous with acne. It’s a complicated skin condition involving the oil glands at the base of the hair follicles,s and all acne symptoms start out the same. However, later they progress to form different types of breakouts. The size, colour, and pain levels of these different types of acne vary. The two common types of acne are:

  • Inflammatory acne

If you struggle with more severe acne, you may experience inflamed blemishes across your face, chest, and back. These are called inflammatory acne. They are caused due to excess sebum and dead skin cells clogging up your pores. Bacteria could also be responsible for this condition as it can cause an infection under the skin’s surface. This can result in painful, swollen acne spots. Some common types of inflammatory acne are:

  • Papules: Papules are inflamed blemishes that appear on the surface of your skin. They are less than one centimetre in diameter. Papules appear solid, tender, and raised. These develop as a result of severe inflammation that destroys the protective walls surrounding your pores. Benzoyl peroxide over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help treat papules. They also might help stop new blemishes from developing.
  • Pustules: A pustule is a bigger, sensitive lump that has a distinct circular centre filled with whitish or yellowish pus. When the walls surrounding the pores break down, pustules are formed. A papule transforms into a pustule if it has pus inside of it. Acne spot treatments containing salicylic acid can help treat them. According to a study, superficial chemical face peels can also effectively treat inflammatory acne like pustules.
  • Nodules: Nodules are hard, swollen lumps that develop deep within the skin. Since nodular acne occurs deep beneath the skin, it is one of the more severe types of acne. If left untreated, nodular acne can last for weeks or even months and cause skin complications such as dark spots or scarring. Nodules often don’t respond to topical treatments. Surgical extraction or LED Phototherapy are some effective treatments for nodules.
  • Cysts:  Cysts are one of the most severe types of acne. Cystic acne is painful to touch and often leaves scars. These large, pus-filled cysts develop when germs, oil, and dry skin cells accumulate in your pores. These types of acne are more common in people with oily skin. Antibiotic creams, gels, solutions, and lotions that reduce inflammation and kill bacteria can treat cystic acne. Your dermatologist may inject a corticosteroid medication called triamcinolone directly into a cyst to reduce inflammation and prevent scarring
  • Non-inflammatory acne

Non-inflammatory acne does not cause swelling or discomfort. And these are also relatively easy to treat. Two common types of non-inflammatory acne include:

  • Blackheads: Blackheads occur when your pores are blocked by a combination of sebum and dead skin cells. In the case of blackheads, the top of the pore remains open despite the pore being blocked. Blackheads are essentially whiteheads that have enlarged and opened up. The contents of whiteheads darken as they are exposed to air. Retinoids are an effective blackhead removal option because they promote skin turnover and decrease the stickiness of skin cells, preventing pores from becoming clogged. If you have persistent blackheads, I recommend a HydraFacial. It is an effective blackhead removal method as it unclogs your pores without overly stripping your skin of moisture.
  • Whiteheads: Whiteheads or closed comedones are small, flesh-coloured spots or bumps. A whitehead occurs when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria become trapped within one of your pores. Salicylic acid is one of the most effective preventive measures against whiteheads as it decreases oil production in pores and gets rid of dead skin cells that can clog up your pores.

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