Different Types of Acne

Posted by Marcus Mcfall on

With so many different types of acne, it can be hard to pinpoint the right treatment method for you. There are several kinds of acne, some more common than others, but each kind has different causes, triggers, and treatment types.

It’s for this reason that we asked our team of skincare scientists to create an all-encompassing guide for you to better understand your acne. In this article we will be going over the different kinds of acne, their causes, and what strategies you can use to most effectively treat them.


White heads are probably the most common form of acne that pops up on our faces. White heads appear when pores clog all the way through with things like dead skin cells, dirt, and oil. The head & length of the pore are closed which cause a little white bump to appear.

Prevention is key when it comes to treating whiteheads. Cleansing morning and night to rid of the built-up bacteria, skin cells, oil, and dirt on your face that has accumulated throughout the day is important to make sure these things don’t clog up your pores. Sometimes, keeping our complexion clean isn’t enough and these pesky little guys still pop up.

When they do, DON’T try to pop the white heads! This will irritate them, disrupt healing, and result in scarring. Instead, treat whiteheads with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.


Blackheads are another extremely common form of acne that people deal with daily. While those with oily complexions are most prone to black heads, every skin type will probably deal with them at some point or another. The head of the pore on blackheads remains open, while the rest of the pore is clogged. Blackheads technically can be removed by squeezing, but this can result in scarring so try some of the treatment options also offered for whiteheads. Stay away from pore strips! These damage the skin and can make acne worse.

If you have dealt with blackheads in the past and resulted in squeezing them away, you’ve probably been left with some hard-to-diminish scars. To effectively treat these scars, we recommend using an exfoliating cleanser, an antioxidant serum, and a hydrating serum to further control the regulation of oils and prevent future blackheads from appearing.

This bundle includes just about everything you need to get rid of marks left behind. To treat blackheads that are currently wreaking havoc on your skin, try a salicylic acid-based cleanser, and make sure to double-cleanse morning and night. Don’t forget to wash your pillowcases, too! Bacteria can sneak its way onto your pillowcases and into your pores as you sleep.


Papules are a specific type of inflamed acne that can be hard to spot and difficult to treat. These are small red bumps that do not contain pus. They form when excess oil blocks a pore and mixes with bacteria on your skin. Like most forms of acne, you are going to want to resist the urge to pop these, as that can further spread bacteria on your skin and result in even more problems.

Papules can be caused by an overproduction of oil, a buildup of bacteria, and over-activity of a male sex hormones, androgens. It can also be triggered by lifestyle factors like stress levels and diet. If you are trying to keep papules off of your face, be sure to eat a clean diet and try your best to keep your stress levels as low as possible.

Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinoids can be effective in treating papules, but you may want to consult with a dermatologist. They can prescribe a topical retinoid, antibiotics, or birth control pills to combat this inflammatory acne.


Pustules are clusters of small, bulging bumps with a white center and red, inflamed skin surrounding them. If you have clusters of puss filled bumps surrounded by inflamed skin, you are likely dealing with pustules. They can look very similar to white heads at first, but in time can grow much larger, and require a different course of treatment, so be sure to know how to spot the difference. Don’t try and pop these, only a doctor can safely drain them. Antibiotics prescribed by your dermatologist can also help rid of this type of acne.


Nodules, like most other forms of acne, form when pores become trapped. Nodular acne is not the same as blackheads and whiteheads, though. This type of acne often involves a separate type of bacteria called p. acne that can lead to an infection when it gets trapped within your pores.

The resulting infection is known as nodular acne, and since this type of acne is found deeper within the skin, it is considered to be more severe than other forms of acne. To correctly spot nodular acne, look for bumps within the surface of the skin. They can be red or skin colored.

Nodular acne will also often be painful to the touch. Since nodular acne is more severe, in order to properly treat it, it is recommended that you schedule a visit with a dermatologist. There, they can offer prescription-based treatment options that will be most suitable for you.


Cystic Acne is another severe form of acne that when encountered should be properly treated by a dermatologist. Cysts are similar to nodules because they form deep within the surface of the skin, but they are not the same and usually require different courses of treatment.

Cysts, unlike nodules, are filled with pus and are therefore softer than nodules, they also often break open which could lead to further infection. Cysts are most commonly found in oilier complexions. While easiest to spot on the face, they are also found on other areas of the body like the back, shoulders, and chest. There are several different methods that can be used to treat cystic acne, but you should consult with your dermatologist to determine the right one for you.

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