Not All Acne Is The Same

Whether you are 13 or 40, the key to fighting acne is knowing the type of acne you have. No acne is alike. There are many types of acne and the best way to cure acne is with knowledge. Each type of acne is caused by different elements and each type may need different care.

Types of Acne

Acne Conglobata
Nodules & Cystic Acne
Back Acne

Whiteheads/Blackheads: When the pores of skin accumulate sebum (a natural oil our body produces), you will get a whitehead. When the sebum plugs your skin’s follicle it creates a lesion. This turns into a whitehead because the clogged sebum is not exposed to air. When air causes oxidation, the oxidation darkens the tips of the clogged pores and causes a blackhead.

What To Do: To prevent white/blackheads you need to keep the skin cleansed with a mild cleanser for oily skin without drying the skin. Apply a moisturizer formulated for oily skin types and use an exfoliating cleanser 2-3 times a week to rid dead skin cells that trap debris in pores.

Papules: These are small pink bumps. What they actually are is inflamed whiteheads. Unlike whiteheads, they do not contain pus. You should never attempt to pop or squeeze them as you will aggravate the papules and can possibly lead to permanent marks on the skin.

What To Do: Avoid papules by having whiteheads properly extracted and practice the cleansing regimen to prevent whiteheads.

Pustules: Similar to Papules these are small red bumps. In some cases they may have red, yellowish or whitish centers. Pustules don’t have a lot of bacteria and they are a result of chemical irritation from free fatty acids that circulate in the bloodstream and quite common in many persons’ skin.

What To Do: Pustules and Papules need to be extracted by a skin care professional to avoid marks and scarring.

Nodules & Cystic Acne: Nodules are hard bumps lodged deep in the skin. Cysts are softer, pus filled lesions under the skin. The pus hardens and forms a cyst. Both develop when the contents from a whitehead can’t break through the pores to be extracted. Cystic acne and nodules are known to exist for weeks, even months because the contents in the pore hardened into stubborn cysts deep into the skin. When left untreated it causes scarring best known as “potholes” in the skin and need professional microdermabrasion to remove the scars. Most cases of cystic acne is genetic.

What To Do: The best way to avoid cystic acne is preventive techniques with better care of your skin. Getting deep cleansing facials with steam once every 4-6 weeks is beneficial.

Back Acne: Another popular place for acne is the back area because it’s a large area of the skin with a large area of oil secretions. Back acne is often triggered from heat, friction and sweat from certain fabrics. These elements make it a perfect breeding ground for acne.

What To Do: This area needs to be thoroughly cleansed on a daily basis and avoid “body crèmes” used for a moisturizer as these may cause clogged pores. Use an oil free moisturizer if the skin feels dry. In the hot, humid summer months try to wear clothing with breathable fabrics like cotton. Avoid polyester that tends to trap moisture on the body.

If you currently suffer from any of these types of acne, it’s best to use the suggested techniques so your acne condition won’t become worse, or lead to scarring. Acne can also have an emotional effect on persons no matter what the age of the person is. With any type of acne, avoid chemical based products with parabens and sulfates as this will actually aggravate the acne more. There are several acne products that contain these ingredients and many persons don’t realize the effect of certain ingredients.

About The Author

Sandy Alcide’s articles have been featured in notable magazines and websites. Sandy is the founder of Motion Medica skin care and the President of the American Athletic Skin Care Association, raising awareness for the rise of melanoma among outdoor athletes. She can be reached at

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