Pimples, blemishes, zits — whatever you call them, acne isn’t the most fun thing to deal with. One of the factors that can make acne such a challenging skin issue is that there are many different types of acne out there. Some acne types respond to certain treatments while others don’t. Some acne types can be cleared up at home, while others might require the attention of a medical professional.
When you look in the mirror and see a spot on your skin, here’s how to identify what type of acne it is and a few tips on what you can do about each kind of blemish.
Some acne spots are known as “comedones,” or, in plain English, hair follicles that have become clogged with dead skin cells and oil. Two types of comedones exist: closed and open. Whitehead is another name for a closed comedo (the singular version of comedones). Whiteheads look like tiny bumps across the surface of the skin. Usually, they can be treated with an over-the-counter facial cleanser that contains an acne-fighting ingredient. Depending on how many whiteheads you have, you might be able to spot treat them.
A blackhead is another type of comedo, or clogged hair follicle. While whiteheads are closed, the pore remains open when a blackhead develops. The blemishes develop a dark color because exposure to air has caused the oil and skin cells in the follicle to oxidize, producing a dark color. So at least, you can rest assured that your blackheads aren’t pores that are full of dirt.
Like whiteheads, you can often treat blackheads with an over-the-counter acne facial cleanser or with spot treatments. Some people also find that pore strips or nose strips help to clear up their blackheads, although these strips won’t keep the spots from returning in the future.
Papules aren’t exclusively a type of acne — any time you have an inflammatory reaction on the skin and a rash develops, you might also develop papules. In terms of acne, though, papules are small, inflamed bumps. They are usually red in color. Since they are inflamed, papules can cause some physical discomfort or even be painful.
Although it seems counterintuitive, your best option is to treat papules gently. Use a mild facial cleanser and lotion and try a spot treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide to dry and clear up the blemishes.
Pustules are what often comes to mind when people think of pimples or zits. They are bigger than papules and usually have a whitish center surrounded by a ring of red. The whitish center of a pustule signifies that the blemish is full of pus. The redness means that it’s inflamed.
It can be really tempting to pick at or try to pop pustules, but doing so can make the situation worse, causing more inflammation and discomfort. Picking pustules can also lead to scarring or the spread of acne. When it comes to treating pustules, it really depends on how many you have. If you get a random blemish from time to time, you can try a spot treatment. If you have multiple pustules on a regular basis, your best bet might be to speak with a medical professional about your acne treatment options.
Nodules and Cystic Acne
Nodules and cysts are two acne types that usually need professional treatment. They tend to be large and are often painful. A nodule is a bump that seems to start deep within in the skin. It usually feels firm and might cause discomfort when you touch it. A cyst is the biggest type of acne. It’s usually filled with pus and often looks more like a boil than a zit. Cystic acne is the acne type that is most likely to leave a scar. Often, the best way to treat nodules and cystic acne is with a prescription-strength product or with an in-office treatment such as IPL.
Acne doesn’t have to interfere with your life or bring your self-confidence down. If you are concern about pimples and acne, Dr. Paul Vitenas and the staff at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, Texas can help. Call 281-810-9083 to schedule an appointment and learn more about your acne treatment options today.