Do you have an acne problem? Recognizing the different types of acne and their symptoms is one of the first steps to achieving clear skin.

Almost everyone suffers from acne at one time or another. Unfortunately, those annoying pimples seem to pop up at the worst possible time, like before a hot date or a dream job interview. Many young adults suffer from acne. But if you think this is a teenage problem, you’re wrong. Acne is also present in adults, and even in some infants.

Acne develops when pores or hair follicles become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. Most people complain about acne on their face, but in reality acne can appear anywhere on the body. This includes the back, neck, buttocks, shoulders and chest. Although many people use the term “acne” to describe all bumps, acne is actually a general term for different types of bumps. Read on to learn more about the types of acne and their symptoms, and find out when it’s time to see a doctor.

The different types of acne and their symptoms

For some, an occasional bump or rash is not a big deal. Persistent acne, on the other hand, can be a frustrating problem, affecting self-esteem and self-confidence. Your feelings about acne may be related to the extent of your skin problem, which can range from mild to severe. Mild acne is the mildest form of acne. This type of acne is easier to control and usually does not leave long-term scars.

It is quite different with moderate acne and severe acne. Moderate acne is more visible and can leave dark spots and scars, while severe acne is the most severe form. It is more difficult to treat and often leaves scars when it heals. It’s important that you learn to recognize the most common types of blemishes, as well as their severity, because different types of acne respond to different treatments. Bottom Line: If you want clearer skin, you need to know what you’re dealing with.

The different types of acne (and their symptoms) are as follows

1. Whiteheads

Whiteheads are a type of acne where bumps develop below the surface of the skin. These buttons are round and small. They are also covered with a thin layer of skin, which gives them a white or yellowish appearance. Different factors contribute to the appearance of whiteheads, such as oily skin, hormones, puberty and the use of cosmetics and moisturizers on the face.

2. Blackheads

Blackheads look like whiteheads. But instead of a white bump, blackhead pimples are black or dark. Blackheads are not covered by skin like whiteheads. They rise to the surface of the skin. Exposure to air darkens the sebum trapped in the pore, hence the darker appearance of the bump. Possible causes of a blackhead are oily skin, an irritated hair follicle, hormones and skin care products. Certain medications can trigger the appearance of blackheads.

3. Inflammatory papules

A papule forms when a pore or hair follicle becomes clogged with bacteria. The immune system responds to these bacteria by producing infection-fighting white blood cells. This inflammatory reaction causes clusters of red, inflamed pimples. Sebum and dead skin cells also contribute to the formation of inflammatory papules.

4. Inflammatory pustules

This type of acne is similar to papules. But in the case of pustules, the body’s inflammatory reaction causes the pimples to fill with pus made up of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. These groups of bumps are red, slightly larger, and tender to the touch.

5. Nodules

Nodular acne is a severe form of acne characterized by large, hard bumps under the surface of the skin. This type of acne also involves bacteria and develops when the walls of a pore break down. Bacteria and sebum then penetrate deeper into the skin and affect other pores. The nodules are painful and can cause permanent scarring.

6. The cyst

Cystic acne also grows deep under the skin, and it is the worst form of acne. It occurs when a severe inflammatory reaction in the pores triggers fluid-filled nodules, similar to boils, and is usually seen in menstruating women. Varying levels of estrogen work at the follicle level to cause cysts buried deep under the skin.

When should you see a doctor for acne treatment?

Acne may or may not warrant a visit to the doctor. Some people can control their blemishes with over-the-counter treatments and other self-care measures, while others feel their acne is severe enough to require medical help. The decision to see a doctor will likely depend on your ability to manage pimples, as well as the severity of your acne.

It’s always good to make an appointment for persistent acne that won’t go away. What you think is a trivial acne could actually be another skin condition like rosacea, keratosis pilaris or perioral dermatitis. To diagnose acne and determine the type of acne and the treatment you will need, your dermatologist will visually examine your skin.

For mild to moderate acne, start by taking over-the-counter medications before seeing a doctor. These include topical creams (retinoids) and facial cleansers that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Retinoids and retinoid-like medications prevent clogged pores, while topical antibiotics kill bacteria on the skin. Salicylic acid facial cleansers slough off dead skin cells through exfoliation. The use of some of these products can be dangerous during pregnancy. Consult your doctor to be sure.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.