But Cysts And Nodules Are The Most Severe Acne Types
Ask anyone who has ever suffered from a cyst and they’ll tell you that these pus-filled inflammatory blemishes deserve a league of their own. Nodules, pus-free cysts, are equally as awful, and “are the hardest and deepest acne lesions found within the dermis and are associated with a hormonal imbalance,” explains Dr. Akridge. They’re hard and sore, and can take weeksif not monthsto go away. This leads us to the main problem: If you suffer from hormonal acne, even the most curated skincare routine won’t make a difference. What will can only be found in the dermatologist’s office.
“A doctor may need to prescribe a short course of oral antibiotics like tetracycline, not only for the bacterial reduction but also for the antibiotics’ ability to reduce inflammation,” shares Jacqueline Piotaz, a certified esthetician. In more severe cases, spironolactone and isotrentinoin may also be utilized cortisone shots can also be injected directly into cysts for quick relief. Whatever your cystic acne’s severity, it’s critical to leave these blemishes alone: Since nodules exist deep under the surface, you can’t physically extract them at homewhich is why they’re better left to your dermatologist.
Common Places To Experience Acne
The most common places to experience acne are the face, neck, back and chest.
Face acne – most people who experience acne would have some acne on the face, typically across the cheeks and forehead
- Neck acne – some people who experience acne will have some acne develop on their neck
- Back acne – more than half of people who experience acne will be affected by some back acne
What Your Answers May Mean
- If you had mostly A’s, your acne is likely in the severe range.
- If most of your answers fell into the middle categories, B’s and C’s, your acne probably would be categorized as moderate.
- Mostly D’s indicates mild acne.
Even if you have only mild to moderate acne, a dermatologist can guide you to OTC products to try. And if your acne is severe, a dermatologist can create a treatment plan that’s tailored for you.
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How Does It Work
Our comprehensive skin type test is designed to tell you as much about your skin type as possible by asking you a few simple questions about what your skin is normally like. These questions will help determine where your skin falls on four important skin type spectrums: oily vs. dry, sensitive vs. resistant, loose vs. tight, and pigmented vs. non-pigmented. The quiz should only take a few minutes to complete, and when youre finished, you will have a much clearer picture of what your skin is really like and what kind of acne treatments are most effective for your unique skin.
How To Treat Different Types Of Acne
To see clearer skin, it helps to know what types of blemishes you’re dealing with. Each type requires different treatment.
Whats that blemish?
Is that a blackhead, papule, or something else? See what the different acne blemishes looks like and how to treat them.
Blackheads and whiteheads
These appear when pores become clogged with excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. If the pore closes up, youll see a tiny bump that looks white or flesh colored. These are whiteheads.
Blackheads and pimples
If the pore fills with debris but stays open, youll see a blackhead. The black dots arent dirt, so resist scrubbing. It will only worsen your acne.
Treating whiteheads and blackheads
To unclog pores, dermatologists recommend using a retinoid. You can buy one retinoid, adapalene, without a prescription. Youll also want to use a benzoyl peroxide wash. It can help get rid of the excess P. acnes bacteria on your skin.
Stubborn whiteheads and blackheads
Give treatment six to eight weeks to work. If you still see blemishes, you may want to see a dermatologist. A procedure like comedo extraction may help. Prescription-strength acne treatment is another option.
When excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells push deeper into the skin and cause inflammation , youll see small, red bumps. The medical word for this type of acne blemish is a papule. They feel hard. If you have a lot of papules, the area may feel like sandpaper.
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It Sounds Like You Have Cysts
Cysts are very large, inflamed, pus-filled lesions that develop deep under the skin. These lesions form when the walls of a pore rupture, allowing oil and bacteria to spread to the surrounding tissue to create a painful infection.
When a membrane forms around the infected area, it becomes known as a cyst. Cysts are often painful and can be difficult to treat.
Many people with cystic acne struggle to treat it with over-the-counter acne treatments. Prescription treatments like tretinoin and clindamycin can help control the infection and reduce inflammation.
Oral contraceptives may help regulate hormonal fluctuations and treat cystic acne. Additionally, oral antibiotics can help to treat cystic acne.
Ask your healthcare provider if these could help with your acne.
Diagnosing Acne: What Kind Of Acne Do I Have
All acne is not the same. There are many specific types of acne, each type having its own characteristics and treatment options. Knowing which type of acne you suffer from is the first step to successful treatment and minimization of symptoms.
Acne is generally categorized into two distinct groups, inflammatory acne and non-inflammatory acne:
- Inflammatory acne manifests as red and painful papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules. This type of acne develops after clogged pores become infected with bacteria. The pain and inflammation is the result of the bodys natural production of white blood cells in order to fight this bacterial infection. Inflammatory acne can last for weeks to months and can leave sufferers with permanent scarring.
- Non-inflammatory acne includes less severe comedones and seborrhea . Unlike inflammatory acne, this type of acne is not painful and is often short-lived. Breakouts are cyclical with comedones appearing and diminishing within a couple of days.
Dermatologists use the prevalence and degree of inflammatory acne to categorize the severity of a patients acne and determine the proper treatment. Acne is ranked as mild, moderate, and severe.
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There Are Two Types Of Broad Acne Groups
All acne is filed under one of two umbrellas: inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Understanding which category yours falls under is the first step in taking control of your complexion. “Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads, which look like skin-colored bumps or congested black pores on the face,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Inflammatory acne includes red, angry bumps, pus pimples, and the painful, underground cysts.”
Mostly E’s: Sensitive Skin
All the signs say you’ve got sensitive skin. Drs. Rodan and Gerstner agree that if you suffer from eczema, asthma, a laundry list of allergies, or rosacea, you’re likely to have sensitive skin. “If you experience a burning sensation when using many products, you probably have sensitive skin,” says Dr. Rodan, who also notes that fragrance and preservatives are big causes of breakouts and rashes. “To test your skin’s reaction to a product, swipe a small amount on the side of your neck several times a day. If you don’t notice any redness, chances are you’re in the clear to continue using it on your face.” Stick to brands with hypoallergenic labels and your skin woes should be put to rest.
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How Do Clinical Features Vary In Differing Types Of Skin
All characteristic lesions of acne vulgaris can occur in skin of colour, but it usually presents with less discernible redness and more postinflammatoryhyperpigmentation which persists long after the acne lesion has gone. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is often the major reason for seeking medical attention, causing significant psychological effects.
Pomade acne occurs more commonly in people with skin of colour due to cultural practices with hair styling products in African American and Hispanic populations. The use of greasy hair products leads to follicular plugging and comedones along the hairline.
Keloid scarring is more common in skin of colour following acne lesions, particularly along the jawline, chest, and upper back.
Acne in skin of colour
It Sounds Like You Have Pustules
Pustules are white or yellowish pus-filled lesions also known as pimples. These lesions develop when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria combine under the skins surface causing an infection.
Pustules look similar to papules but they contain pus and may exhibit a higher degree of inflammation while the body tries to fight the infection.
Inflammatory acne lesions like pustules can be treated with over-the-counter remedies like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Consider a routine that includes cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturization to manage breakouts.
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How To Determine The Type Of Acne You’re Suffering From
Understanding your blemishes is the first step towards banishing them.
All acne is not created equal, but we can all agree that it’s a bad experience in any form: It pops up at the worst possible time and leaves a mess when it’s gone. There are so many factors that can cause and worsen acnehormones, diet, stress, and environmental damages, to name a few. It gets even more confusing when you factor in all of the different acne types, which are often indicators of those aforementioned factors and changes. Matching them up can feel impossiblebut it doesn’t have to. Here, industry experts explain the forms of blemishes, including the reasons behind them. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to forge the best possible treatment plan for your own skin.
What Causes Body Acne
Some studies associate the presence of body acne with specific lifestyle choices. The severity of the condition can vary depending on:
- Genetic predisposition
- Menstrual cycle regularity
Most people who develop acne do so in their teenage years, but people between the ages of 21 and 25 who have oily skin also have a high chance of developing acne. Body acne is typically not a significant health threat. However, it often serves as a starting point for low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
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Common Characteristics Of Skin Types
Oily skin1 produces an excess of sebum that causes the skin to appear shiny and feel greasyespecially throughout the T-Zone . If you have oily skin, you may be more likely to have enlarged pores, develop acne blemishes and be more prone to acne breakouts.
Dry skin1 is typically dull and may become rough, flaky or even scaly. It often feels tight or less elastic and may be prone to showing more visible lines. In addition, it may become itchy or irritated.
Normal skin1 is balancedfeeling neither dry nor oily. It is not prone to breakouts, flakiness, feeling slick or tight. Pores are generally small, the skin’s texture is smooth, and it is less likely to be prone to sensitivity or blemishes.
Combination skin1 includes areas that are dry as well as oilywith the T-Zone commonly being oily, and the cheeks being either dry or normal.
If descriptions of the different skin types didn’t help you come to a conclusion, there are tests you can perform at home to help you determine what type of skin you have.
Mostly F’s: Normal Skin
All the signs say you’ve got normal skin. This is probably one of the least common skin types, so consider yourself lucky! “People with normal skin will notice very infrequent breakouts and they can handle pretty much any product,” says Dr. Gerstner. “I’d recommend using glycolic pads to keep your pores unclogged and skin smooth.” But hey, not so fastthat doesn’t give you an excuse to go SPF-free!
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Different Types Of Acne And Their Symptoms
The occasional bump or breakout might not be a big deal to some. Persistent acne, on the other hand, can be a frustrating problem, affecting your self-esteem and confidence. Your feelings about acne may have everything to do with the extent of your skin problem, which can range from mild to severe.
Mild acne is the less severe form of acne, says Yoram Harth, MD, a dermatologist and the medical director of MDacne whos based in San Francisco. This kind of acne is easier to control and doesnt usually leave long-term scars.
Its a different story with moderate and severe acne, though.
Moderate acne, continues Dr. Harth, is more noticeable and can leave dark spots and scars, whereas severe acne is the worst form. Its more difficult to treat and often leaves scars when it heals.
Its important that you learn how to recognize common types of blemishes as well as their severity because different types of acne respond to different treatments.
Bottom line: If you want clearer skin, you need to know what youre dealing with.
Different types of acne include the following:
Inflammatory Acne Involves Papules Pustules Cysts And Nodules
Inflammatory acne types are exactly as they sound: red, swollen, and, oftentimes, painful to the touch. The four main forms of this subsetpapules, pustules, nodules, and cystshowever, all have different identifying characteristics. “Papules are typically hard, pink or red, and painful plugged pores without pus. The pore wall is slightly broken down, which allows sideways expansion of the pore content,” says Dr. Robb Akridge, Ph.D., the CEO and founder of REA Innovations. Pustules, on the other hand, have pus these lesions have a head that can be seen on the surface of the skin and are what we typically consider a “zit,” says Dr. Zeichner. Pustules typically exist in the upper part of the skin, but as the pus intensifies, so does the depth and width of the blemish. The best way to treat both papules and pustules? “Look for benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide helps lower levels of acne-causing conditions, whereas salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that helps remove excess oil from the skin and keep the pores clear,” advises Dr. Zeichner.
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Whats Causing Your Acne
Acne develops when hair follicles become blocked with skin oils and dead skin cells. It can cause a range of symptoms on the skin, most commonly whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. Whiteheads and blackheads are plugged hair follicles. Pimples develop if the plug in the follicle becomes infected with bacteria. Some research suggests that the strain of bacteria infecting the hair follicles may affect how severe acne is, and how often it appears.
If the infection is deep in the skin, it can cause cystic acne. This causes large, painful bumps and cysts on the skin. Cystic acne can be a chronic condition that takes years to clear up, and it can cause scarring. This kind of acne is usually best treated by a dermatologist for acne.
Its thought that the main cause of acne is sensitivity of the skin to androgen hormones. Androgens are naturally occurring steroid hormones. Levels of androgens rise at the beginning of adolescence, which is why acne is more common in teenagers than any other age group. However, acne can affect people in other age groups too, its just less common.
How Understanding Your Skin Leads To Better Acne Treatment
When it comes to acne treatment, its important to understand your skin in and out. Is your skin oily or dry? Sensitive, or resistant? Loose, or tight? Heavily pigmented, lightly pigmented, or somewhere in between? All of these properties affect how your skin reacts to various acne treatments, and the better you know your skin, the better it will look.
You can find a wide variety of articles out there discussing the differences between oily skin and dry skin, sensitive skin and resistant skin, and so on, so well only cover those topics briefly before digging into the most important aspect of this article: racial differences in acne skin care. For more information on dry acne-prone skin, sensitive acne-prone skin, and more, check out the video and skin quiz above.
The biggest difference between oily and dry skin is how much oil the skin produces. If you produce more oil, your face is likely shiny and you may have more pimples than blackheads or whiteheads. If you produce less oil, your skin may be flaky and you may have more clogged pores than pimples.
Skin sensitivity is a wide spectrum. Many people fall somewhere in the middle, and their skin improves most when they figure out what products or ingredients irritate their skin, and avoid them. Your may be sensitive to something in your current skin care products if your skin stings or turns red after application.
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Key Questions To Ask Yourself
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology and works as a practicing dermatologist and clinical professor.
Acne is a skin condition that affects the oil glands and hair follicles, which are connected to the surface of the skin. When dead skin cells, hair, and oil clump together within a follicle, they can create a plug. Bacteria in the plug can then cause swelling. When the plug starts to break down, a pimple forms.
When it comes to acne, the occasional zit or constellation of blackheads is one thing. With more vigilant face washing and a dab of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid that you can buy over the counter at the drugstore, within a day or so you’ll be in the clear.
But what if you’re constantly breaking out or frequently have unsightly blemishes, or you have pimples or painful nodules on areas of your body besides your face? That’s another thing altogether. It may mean your acne is severe and you’ll need more aggressive treatment. For instance, acne that’s caused by a hormonal balance sometimes responds well to oral contraceptives.