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How To Tell What Type Of Acne I Have

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Find out what type of acne you have

A dermatologist is a key resource for individuals who are struggling with any form of rosacea. Whether youve been diagnosed in the past or you just suspect you may be suffering from rosacea, we hope youll reach out to a U.S. Dermatology Partners location near you to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable dermatologists. We are happy to schedule a time for you to visit us in our dermatology offices, and you can start that process right now by taking a few moments to complete our simple scheduling request form. Once we receive your request, a team member will be in touch soon to verify your information and finalize all the details of your visit. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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What Are The Rare Types Of Acne

A few other types of acne are acne fulminans, acne mechanica, acne rosacea, pyoderma faciale and acne conglobata. Those who suffer from these types of acne should seek the care of a dermatologist as soon as possible. They are rare, can be difficult to treat, and may result in permanent facial scarring if immediate treatment is not sought. Check out these resources on the rarer kinds of acne: Acne Fulminans, Acne Mechanica, Acne Rosacea, Pyoderma Faciale, Acne Conglobata.

It is important for you to know what type of acne you have so you know how to treat it. Proper hygiene, a sugar-free diet and a health lifestyle are the best ways to avoid these skin breakouts. Consult your dermatologist and ask for proper advice and a prescription.

It Sounds Like You Have Blackheads

Blackheads are also known as open comedones. They develop when the pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

Their black color isnt caused by dirt – it develops when sebum oxidizes at the surface of the skin.

Non-inflammatory acne lesions like blackheads are best treated with regular cleansing and exfoliation.

Though they can be extracted, squeezing could lead to scarring. Other abrasive options to pull out blackheads like pore strips and peel-away masks can damage the top layer of skin and make your acne worse.

Also Check: Can Smoking Weed Cause Acne

Things You Can Try If You Have Acne

These self-help techniques may be useful:

  • Do not wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day. Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse.
  • Wash the affected area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse.
  • Do not try to “clean out” blackheads or squeeze spots. This can make them worse and cause permanent scarring.
  • Avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics. Use water-based products that are described as non-comedogenic. This means the product is less likely to block the pores in your skin.
  • Completely remove make-up before going to bed.
  • If dry skin is a problem, use a fragrance-free water-based emollient.
  • Regular exercise cannot improve your acne, but it can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem. Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising as sweat can irritate your acne.
  • Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.

Although acne cannot be cured, it can be controlled with treatment.

If you develop mild acne, it’s a good idea to speak to a pharmacist for advice.

Several creams, lotions and gels for treating spots are available to buy from pharmacies.

Products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide may be recommended, but be careful as this can bleach clothing.

If your acne is severe or appears on your chest and back, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger creams that are only available on prescription.

When Should You See A Doctor For Acne Treatment

Can anyone tell me what kind of acne I have? Photo included

Acne may or may not warrant a trip to your doctor. Some people can control their blemishes with over-the-counter treatments and other self-care measures, while others feel their acne is serious enough to require medical help.

The decision to see a doctor will likely depend on how well youre able to manage bumps, as well as the severity of your acne.

Its always a good idea to make an appointment for persistent acne that doesnt clear up. What you think is run-of-the-mill acne could actually be another skin condition like rosacea, keratosis pilaris, or perioral dermatitis.

To diagnose acne and determine the type of acne and the treatment youll need, your dermatologist will visually examine your skin.

For mild-to-moderate acne, start with over-the-counter medicine before you see a doctor. These include topical creams and acne face washes that contain acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs prevent clogging of pores, while topical antibiotics kill bacteria on the skin. Salicylic acid facial washes remove dead skin cells by exfoliation. Some of these products may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Check with your doctor to be sure.

Also Check: How To Get Acne Scars To Go Away

What Are The Complications Of Cystic Acne

Opening up acne cysts by popping or picking them increases the risk of scarring and bacterial skin infections like cellulitis.

Some people develop pigment changes spots at the site of the acne cyst after the skin clears up. These spots may be pink, purple, red, black or brown. They eventually fade away, but it may take more than a year.

How Is Acne Treated

Your healthcare provider may suggest some non-prescription medications for your condition. Depending on the conditions severity, your age, the type of acne you have and how effective the over-the-counter remedies have been, you may need stronger prescription medications.

The use of certain contraceptives can sometimes help a womans acne go away. The Food and Drug Administration has approved three types of birth control pills for treating acne. All four contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone .

Various medications and therapies have proven to be effective. They target the underlying factors that contribute to acne. You might require at least one or multiple, depending on the severity of your condition.

Medications applied topically:

Medications taken orally :

Other therapies:

Depending on your condition, your healthcare provider might suggest one of these specialized therapies, possibly combined with medication.

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How Can I Determine What Type Of Acne I Have

By | Submitted On March 17, 2008

For anyone who suffers from acne or just has a break-out every now and then – it is important to be able to tell the difference AND know how to deal with the various types of acne.


Whiteheads happen when the pore is blocked, trapping oil, bacteria and dead skin cells within. This causes the white appearance on the surface of the skin. Using a product with benzoyl peroxide works great at diminishing this type of acne although a few days may be needed before the whitehead completely disappears.


Blackheads appear when a pore is partially blocked. Therefore only some of the oil, bacteria and dead skin cells drain to the surface of the skin. The black color is a reaction of the skin’s pigment reacting to the oxygen in the air. Blackheads are known to be very stubborn and many get aggravated at trying to rid them of the skin. The best bet is to exfoliate the skin on a regular basis. This will help remove the dead skin cells from the top layer of skin which will further block the pores. If this does not help, extractions can be done – however it is best to have an esthetician or dermatologist perform the task. Many people are quick to use their fingers to extract – which can actually damage the skin – if performed the wrong way – the bacteria can be pushed deeper into the skin causing an infection. An esthetician should use an extractor – a special tool used to give even pressure around a pore.




Determining Your Acne Severity

Skin Care for Acne – Step 1: Identify Type and Cause

There isn’t a universal way to classify acne severity. That means every skin care professional classifies acne in a slightly different way.

Many dermatologists use grades . But the most widely used, and simplest, way of classifying acne is fairly straightforward: mild, moderate, and severe.

There’s no test to determine your acne severity. A dermatologist does so by a simple visual inspection of your skin. Your skin can move between these grades because acne tends to wax and wane on its own.

Also Check: How To Deal With Back Acne Scars

How Do You Treat Keloids

The first way to attack a keloid is typically with a shot of cortisone, but this isnt a guaranteed way to shrink them. Retinol topicals and laser treatments can also be used on keloids once theyve been flattened a bit. Keloids can be surgically removed, but they can often grow back so treating them topically is typically a better bet.

What Are The Symptoms Of Fungal Acne

One of the reasons fungal acne can last for so long is because fungal acne looks similar to acne vulgaris, or bacterial acne.

People with fungal acne, not knowing the difference, may treat it with regular acne skin care options. These treatments dont work, and they can make the infection worse.

Heres how to tell the difference between fungal acne and bacterial acne:

  • Size. Pus-filled bumps caused by fungal acne tend to be nearly all the same size. Bacterial acne can cause pimples and whiteheads of varying sizes.
  • Location. Fungal acne often shows up on the arms, chest, and back. It can also be on the face, where bacterial acne is most common.
  • Itching. Fungal acne often causes itchiness. Bacterial acne rarely does.
  • Clusters. Fungal acne often appears in clusters of small whiteheads. Bacterial acne is less clustered and more sparse.

Fungal acne is the result of yeast growth, so you may experience other yeast-related conditions, like psoriasis and dandruff. This can help you determine whether your breakouts are from yeast or another cause.

Read Also: How To Prevent Chin Acne

How Is Acne Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider can diagnose acne during a skin exam. They may also ask if youre undergoing significant stress or if you have a family history of acne, all of which are risk factors. Teenage girls and women may also be asked about their menstrual cycles, as breakouts are sometimes related. Sudden, severe acne outbreaks in older people can sometimes signal another underlying disease that requires medical attention.

Inflammatory Acne Involves Papules Pustules Cysts And Nodules

What type of acne scars do I have and what

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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What Is Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is largely due to how the body’s immune system responds to “regular” acne. It can also be due to irritation , genetics, hormones, diet, lifestyle, and the list goes on! Inflammatory acne is typically defined as moderate to severe acne and will typically need professional treatment to see results.

These are the four types of inflammatory acne:

  • Nodules

Nodules are large, inflamed, tender breakouts. Nodules are much more serious than your typical blackhead or whitehead. Unlike normal blemishes, they take a long time to heal — anywhere from a few weeks to months. Nodules feel like hard knots under the skin and usually stay under the skins surface though sometimes they will develop a whitehead. Nodular acne can affect your face, back, chest, and even buttock!

  • Pustules

Pustules are small bumps on the skin that contain white pus, surrounded by redness and inflammation. Pustules are commonly found in clusters within the same area. Typically caused by hormonal imbalances or changes in the body, pustules are common for teens and young adults to experience. Pustules occur from allergic reactions to food, environmental allergens, and acne . The skin around the bump is inflamed, when the infection continues to spread the bump becomes hard and painful, resulting in a cyst.

  • Papules
  • Cysts

Other Types Of Skin Conditions

There are other different types of acne that are not considered acne vulgaris, acne fulmians, or acne mechanica. They can look similar and exhibit comparable symptoms, but they tend to be much more difficult to treat and alleviate. If you are struggling with severe acne-like symptoms, its important to determine exactly what is causing your skin condition to get proper treatment.

Read Also: How To Heal Back Acne

The 5 Kinds Of Acne Scars & How To Treat Each Type

The only thing worse than breaking out? Those deep, dark marks your pimples leave on your skin long after theyre gone. Whether the fallout your skin experiences post-pimple is a deep indent in your skin or a dark spot thats more obvious than your original breakout, acne scarring and pigmentation is the worst. Trust us, we get it! Were here to breakdown each type, so youre prepared to treat whatever kind you encounter on your face.

Blackheads And Whiteheads Often Appear Together

What kind of acne do I have QUIZ – ACNE TRIGGER QUIZ!

Non-inflammatory acne sticks togetherso if you suffer from blackheads on your nose, you likely experience a smattering of whiteheads on your cheeks or chin every now and then. The reason? They share the same root cause. “Blackheads and whiteheads are caused by clogged pores filled with oil, dead skin cells, and propionibacterium acnes bacteria,” explains Dr. Dendy Engelman, a New York City dermatologist. “If the mixture is exposed to air, it becomes oxidized, which causes it to turn black, forming what we know as a blackhead.”

Whiteheads are also plugged with sebum and skin cells. But there’s one key difference that distinguishes them from their counterparts. “The top opening of the pore is closed, which results in a tiny bump at the surface, adds Dr. Zeichner. Luckily, you can reduce both types with one treatment plan, he says: “If you suffer from blackheads and whiteheads, stick to ingredients like topical retinoids, which help open up blocked pores and reduce inflammation.”

Also Check: What Does Chest Acne Mean

Do Certain Foods Cause Acne

For the most part, hormonal changes in the body drive acne. There is some evidence that skim milk, whey protein and diets high in sugar may cause acne breakouts, although this remains controversial.

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those rich with vitamin C and beta carotene, helps reduce inflammation. There is also some evidence that eating fish can help.

It Sounds Like You Have Nodules

Nodules are large, painful, swollen bumps that develop underneath the skin when the walls of a clogged hair follicle break down.

When the walls of the follicle break down, oil and bacteria spread deeper into the skin to create a painful infection that can affect multiple pores. Fluctuating hormones can trigger or worsen nodular acne.

Nodules are deeply rooted in the skin and they generally do not contain pus, so they cannot be extracted and they are difficult to treat with over-the-counter acne treatments.

Consider consulting with a medical professional. Such providers can recommend a wide array of options, including prescription treatments like tretinoin to help control inflammation or specific types of birth control to help regulate hormonal fluctuations that can cause nodular acne.

We offer access to providers and a free consultation to make professional treatment possible from the comfort of home.

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Treating Hypertrophic Scars And Keloids

There are many different options for treating hypertrophic and keloid scars. The best treatment for you will depend on your personal situation, but can include steroid creams, silicone gels, cryotherapy , tapes, pulsed dye laser treatments, or injections to help shrink and flatten the scar.

Care must be taken while treating these scars to avoid aggravating the skin, which can lead to a worsening of the keloid.

How Severe Is Each Type Of Acne

Can anyone tell me what type of acne this is? Only appears on lower ...

Blackheads and whiteheads are the mildest forms of acne. These can sometimes be cleared up with OTC topical medications, such as salicylic acid-based toners or benzoyl-peroxide spot treatments. If they dont respond to OTC medications, comedones are easily treated with topical retinoids. There is even one type of retinoid, known as adapalene, which is now available over the counter. Its very effective in clearing blackheads and whiteheads.

Pustules and papules are more moderate forms of acne. These may or may not clear up with OTC meds. Widespread moderate acne may require an oral or topical prescription from a dermatologist.

Nodules and cysts are the most severe form of acne. You have to see a dermatologist to clear up severe acne. Picking or popping nodules and cysts can lead to scars.

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