Acne! Different types explained.

Acne or skin break-out is one of the most annoying skincare problems anyone can experience. Most teenagers at their puberty stage experience skin breakouts. However, some adults get acne as well mostly associated with a skin complication, hormonal imbalance, or use of products that are not compatible with their skin.

Acne can play a toll on one’s self-esteem and confidence. Regardless of the number of times, one has experienced skin breakouts, the experience is always different, and in other cases, the cause could be different as well. Can you imagine getting acne long after your adolescent stage? For instance, on-campus or in the job market? 

Due to the ignorance surrounding acne, most people always end up making their acne worse. Lack of knowledge on what type of acne one has and even the type of treatment to be used is what leads to severe skin complications. Being knowledgeable on the type of acne one is experiencing, makes it easier for them to administer the right method or medication for treatment hence, lowering the chances of scarring the skin or developing a serious skin complication.

picture showing the different types of acne.

There are six different types of skin break-outs that are acne-related, they include; blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, pustules, nodules, and papules. These six different types fall under two categories, non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne types.

Noninflammatory Acne

These are acnes that do not cause any type of swelling on the skin and luckily, can be treated well with over the counter medication. They include Whiteheads and Blackheads.

Whiteheads occur when dead skin cells and sebum clog the pores. Therefore, a lump is always formed on the skin due to the pores closing up. This is what makes it hard to treat them.

Blackheads, also occur when sebum and dead skin cells clog the pores. But unlike the whiteheads, the pores stay open and become noticeable by the black color that pops onto the skin surface.

Noninflammatory acne can easily be managed through the use of Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, Sulfur, and Resorcinol or any over the counter medication that contains the mentioned products.

Additionally, one can use toners, moisturizers, or cleansers to take care of both white and blackheads at home.

Skincare begins at home. Take care of your surrounding, Watch your diet, develop a consistent skin-care routine, be conscious about the topical products you apply on the skin, and ALWAYS ALWAYS drink lots of water.

For short-term home remedies, one can adopt, staying hydrated, eating a well-balanced diet, reducing stress, and washing their face twice a day for healthier skin.

A detailed pictorial of the different acne types. COURTESY

Inflammatory Acne

These can be characterized by a painful red and swollen lump on the skin. Sebum and dead skin cells cause this type of acne however, the pain and clogging of pores are caused by bacteria. The bacteria infect the pores further and clog the pores deeper beneath the skin. Dark spots seen on the skin are always a result mostly of inflammatory acne and often are hard to clear

They include; nodules, cysts, pustules, and papules.


These go deeper beneath the skin and are characterized by a large, soft, painful, red lump. When popped, the pus comes out. This is the most severe type of acne and if popped unprofessionally, the risks of getting a severe skin complication are always high. Equally, they cause skin scarring.


They are caused when the skin is inflamed due to skin irritation. They are small, hard, soft and tender to touch, and pink in color. Equally, they occur when whiteheads and blackheads get too irritated.

These don’t always have a visible center or a weak opening.


Commonly known as pimples. They occur when the skin around the pore’s breaks. Pustules are a bit painful and unlike papules, they contain pus and have a visible center. They are characterized by a red lump that has a white head on it.


Unlike the pustules, these are quite deeper in the skin and occur when clogged swollen pores get more irritated. They are big and quite hard. When irritated more, it can lead to severe skin complications.

Inflammatory acne more often requires a dermatologist check-up than over the counter medication.

Oral medication can be induced in the case of cysts and nodules because of their severeness. Over the counter creams, toners, moisturizers or cleansers are also good for use to clear the dark spots or scars left by the acne. 

Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are good for surface application and can help manage these acnes.

Skincare begins at home. Take care of your surrounding, Watch your diet, develop a consistent skin-care routine, be conscious about the topical products you apply on the skin, and ALWAYS ALWAYS drink lots of water.

Acne is manageable and can be controlled. If symptoms of the skin persist, it is always advisable to see a dermatologist and get a professional check-up.

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