Types of Acne

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Whatever form it takes, acne can take a major toll on an individual’s self-esteem. There is, however, a benefit to differentiating between different types of acne. Once you know what types of acne you suffer from, you’ll be better prepared to find the best acne treatment and avoid ineffective skin clearing products. Some of the best acne treatment therapies may produce clear skin in some acne sufferers but only exacerbate the problem in individuals with different types of acne.


Acne vulgaris and acne rosacea are two of the most common forms of acne. Treating each of these requires a different acne treatment approach.

Acne Types: Descriptions and Treatments

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Acne vulgaris is the most common form of acne, and the majority of individuals will experience at least a mild outbreak during their life. This form of acne is typically caused by excess release of sebum, a type of oil, into the hair follicle. When hair follicles located throughout the face are filled with too much oil, they can clog the pore, mix with dead skin cells and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Depending on the way in which they’re clogged, affected skin pores may result in whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, papules, nodules, or cysts.


Whiteheads are a mild type of acne vulgaris. They form when oil and dead cells are trapped beneath the surface of the skin, creating a bump without inflammation.


Blackheads are another form of mild acne not characterized by redness or inflammation. They are similar to whiteheads, but the oily mixture clogging their follicles reaches the surface of the skin and oxidizes, darkening as it comes into contact with oxygen.


Papules are a moderate form of acne vulgaris. Like whiteheads, they are caused by an oily mixture that clogs hair follices trapped beneath the surface of the skin. However, papules are also associated with acne inflammation, and they can be tender to the touch.


Pustules are more commonly known as pimples. They are filled with a mixture of oil and bacteria that’s trapped beneath the skin’s surface. Pustules are often painful and also cause inflammation.

Cysts and Nodules

Cysts and nodules are more severe then the forms of acne vulgaris described above. They are both larger than whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pimples, and they are often associated with scars, pain and longer recovery periods. Cysts resemble nodules, but they are visibly filled with pus.

Best Acne Treatment Options for Acne Vulgaris

The best acne treatment solutions for acne vulgaris often include the active ingredients salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These two acne treatments are found in numerous acne fighting products on the market. The salicylic acid works by clearing away dead skin cells form the surface of the skin, opening the pores and allowing trapped contents to escape. Benzoyl peroxide is used as an acne treatment for its bacteria fighting powers. These common treatment options may also be accompanied by a calming agent such as chamomile or aloe leaf extract to treat the dryness that may be caused by acne treatment products.

Acne Rosacea Description and Treatment

Acne rosacea is less common than acne vulgaris, but it causes bumps and inflammation that resemble those typical of acne vulgaris. Outbreaks often take the form of a red rash found on the forehead, chin, nose and cheeks. Acne rosacea is more common in individuals over the age of 30 and occurs more frequently in women. Unlike acne vulgaris, it is a chronic condition, and, while its symptoms may be controlled, is not curable.

Acne Treatment: Options for Acne Rosacea

There is currently no cure for rosacea, but some of the best acne treatment options can effectively reduce the risk of outbreaks. A dermatologist may recommend that patients with rosacea use antibiotics as part of their acne treatment therapy. Antibiotics may also be used with long term topical acne treatment products. Individuals who are frustrated by redness associated with acne rosacea may also consider laser treatment to eliminate blood vessels visible beneath the skin and think about reducing alcohol intake to prevent possible skin irriation during outbreaks. A combination of oral, topical and environmental solutions can be the best acne treatment solution for those who suffer from rosacea.


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