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What Type of Acne Do You Have?

If acne is a periodic or recurring issue in your life, it’s time you learn about the different types of acne to treat the problem from the roots and achieve clear skin. It is vital to identify the type of acne you are suffering from because each type is distinct and requires a different handling.

Types of Acne


  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Sebaceous Filaments


  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Nodules
  • Cysts

Non-Inflammatory Acne


Blackhead is a situation where the pore stays open on the surface of your skin. It’s considered an open comedo. Due to the opening in the pore, the sebum inside the pore oxidizes upon contact with the air, hardens and once the air mixes with melanin skin pigment, the blackhead forms a dark coloration that can appear black, brown, or gray.

Blackheads can usually be found on the nose, chin, and forehead, but might also be found on the chest, back, and arms. Blackheads tend to be widespread at the onset of puberty and during times of hormonal change.


If a pore is not open and enclosed by a thin layer of skin, sebum and dead skin cells accumulate, resulting in a thick substance that remains stuck under the skin, forming a plug. While these are not usually infected, bacteria and germs can affect the skin cells surrounding the pore. Whiteheads don’t usually last as long as blackheads, with an average life cycle of a week.

Whiteheads are likely to be found on the face, but may also be observed in other parts of the body. Self-extraction of comedones can cause more harm than good. The follicle walls in blackheads and whiteheads can be ruptured quite easily, and this allows bacteria to enter the cells and leads to inflamed acne. That’s why it’s important to avoid picking the skin, as this can lead to rupturing.

Sebaceous Filaments

Sebaceous filaments are naturally occurring hair-like formations that follow the flow of oil along the inside of a pore. For people with oily skin or larger pores, they’re more noticeable. These become noticeable as a pore is filled with sebum. While blackheads also begin as pores filled with sebum, it’s only once a pore is plugged with dead skin cells that it becomes an actual Comedo.

It’s easy to see the difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments when it comes to extraction, when extracted, a blackhead has a black, hardened, plug-like appearance. Sebaceous filaments are discharged in a flowing stream of sebum that takes on a waxy consistency even when these filaments are removed, they generally refill with sebum within 30 days.

There’s no way to totally rid the skin of these sebaceous filaments, but keeping your face clean with a regimen of regularly treating acne can help reduce their appearance and keep those pores cleaned out.

Inflammatory Acne


Pustules are inflamed acne that is hard to touch, and they are usually red and bumpy, filled with pus and occurs mostly on the face, back, shoulders, breastbone area, groin, and the armpits. They primarily originate in the sweaty areas of your body. It is highly advised for victims to refrain from picking or bursting them – as doing so can lead to permanent scars or dark spots.


Acne nodules mostly appear during the latter stages of a breakout and are usually seen in extreme cases of acne. They are present as large, tender bumps underneath the skin’s surface and can feel hard and rigid to the touch. Similarly to papules, nodules form from an accumulation of bacteria, skin cells, and sebum in the follicles, but this formation is rooted deeper in the skin, and this deep buildup can cause tissue damage to the skin and prompt the immune system to begin an inflammatory response.

While nodules might look similar to papules, nodules are much bigger and more painful. They do not contain any pus but can remain hidden within the skin for a long time. They may be dormant and rear up in occasional bouts, and if squeezed or ruptured, these nodules can spread over a larger area of the skin and cause deep infections, causing damaging and permanent scars to the skin.


Papules are small, firm cone-shaped bumps that are pinkish in color. That’s why they’re tender to touch unlike other forms of acne and they contain no pus. Since they don’t contain pus it is advised against popping or poking them. If you do you might seriously irritate your skin and aggravate your existing pimples – and possibly end up with a permanent scar.


Cystic acne is one of the hardest types of acne to be successfully treated. Unlike others, cysts acne forms deep below the skin tissue and do not come out. Cysts are similar to nodules, except for the presence of pus. And Cysts are almost always painful to the touch, causing great discomfort. The cyst doesn’t necessarily look like a pimple. They may just appear as a large, swollen red lump on the skin or they can occur independently, or you may find your skin has large clumps of cysts grouped together.

Cystic acne is less rampant. According to Medical News Today Where general acne affects 70 out of 1,000 people, cystic acne affects 2 in every 1,000 people. This severe form of Acne Vulgaris usually requires the help of a dermatologist in conjunction with self-care and preventive measures.



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