First let us not directly dig into the acne types. Let’s have a general discussion about the acne. Acne is one of the most common and most irritating ailments that one can have. Be it if you’re a teenager, a hep millennial or one from a more vintage era – acne can cause problems galore.
Fighting the effects of acne and trying to keep it away from your face as often as possible is an almost every day battle, with quite a few people waking up every day, in the fear that a major zit would have come across their face or that an already-acne filled face would have added, well, more acne.
So, what exactly is acne, and how does it come?
Is there only one kind of acne or are there different types? And if so, what are they?
Will identifying the type of acne help in getting rid of it better?
These are just some of the questions that will be answered here.
So read on and find out all you need to know about that pesky thing that is acne.
What is acne?
Acne can be termed as a skin issue that is formed when hair follicles get in touch with either dead skin cells or the oil from the skin.
What acne does is not just bring about pimples – that is just one part of it – acne can bring about various other marks on your face, which in turn leads to so many problems for so many people.
There are three categories of acne in terms of severity – mild, moderate and severe, and of course treatment for the problem will depend on which scale your issue lies in.
Two distinct types of acne can be found inflammatory acne and non-inflammatory acne.
Let’s find out what these two types of acne are.
A: Non-inflammatory acne:
While annoying, this is the kind of acne that doesn’t cause you too much trouble, in terms of pain or having to go to the doctor to get rid of the problem. However, that also means they are quite common and you could end up getting them anytime, anywhere.
1. Blackheads aka Open Comedones:
Quite common and pretty much all of us would have got it at some point or another in our lives. Blackheads are those tiny little black dots that appear on your skin. Because they are open comedones (meaning clogged hair follicles), they appear black in colour.
Blackheads come as a result of oily skin or dead skin cells when they clog the spores. However, because the top of the pore remains open, it is classified as blackheads or open comedones.
You will usually see blackheads around the nose.
2. Whiteheads or Closed Comedones:
Going by the name you know these are spots that are white in colour. Again, they are most commonly found on the nose and appear as white spots. Whiteheads are classified as closed comedones because the pore is closed.
Whiteheads usually are formed due to oily skin. Basically, the excessive oil produced by the glands come up and are then caught in between the outer layer and the first inner layer. Due to the clogging and the oil being unable to climb to the surface, it gets trapped and shows up as the whiteheads.
Reducing the oiliness of your skin is the best way to ensure you keep the whiteheads away. So, wash your face a few times a day.
3. Sebaceous filament:
This type of non-inflammatory acne is in between white and black in terms of colour – grey, to be more precise (although it can also take a yellowish tinge at times).
A sebaceous filament is formed when excess dead cells and sebum (a short name for the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands) decide to make camp on the hair follicles. The sebaceous filament can usually be found around the nose, although they might also form near the upper lip.
They are fairly harmless and at times you might not even notice them. Sebaceous filaments are also natural in nature and not to be classified as having an infection of any kind.
B: Inflammatory acne:
As the name suggests, this is the more painful form of acne. There are four distinct types of inflammatory acne, with each of them coming with its own problems and solutions.
Ever wake up and find out you have these small red spots on your face, that, sometimes, when you touch them stings a little?
Well, you most probably have papules, an inflammatory form of acne.
As is the case with most inflammatory acne, this might not just be a case of dead skin cells or oily skin. The result of inflammatory form of acne is most likely caused by the presence of bacteria, although, that need not always be the case.
The hint on what kind of acne it is, is in the name itself. These are those really red pimples or acne that form on various areas of the skin – not just the face – and hurt a lot when you touch them. Over time, they grow big and red and, as the above name says, bring out some of that ugly pus.
Usually, pustules will be found where you sweat a lot. So, on the forehead, neck, back and even the armpits.
Just think of pustules as a pus-filled form of papules.
Both of them generally occur when the walls that are around the pores decide they have had enough and break down.
This is a larger, much scarier and more painful version of the pustules. They are red and really big and full of pus as well, just to add another layer of misery.
Nodules onwards is when the acne gets really serious, and if the normal remedies don’t work – you usually need over the counter medicine, at the very least to treat nodules – then you might need to take more drastic actions.
The difference between nodules and pustules is that nodules form much deeper under the skin, which in turn means you need stronger medicines for it to clear up. What the doctors usually prescribe is an oral medication, which taken correctly and for the right amount of time – usually a few months – can treat the problem.
Much like nodules, cysts are quite big, quite red and again full of pus.
Cysts are generally the largest acne you can find, and it is formed as a result of a severe infection, usually caused by bacteria and dead skin cells.
Quite painful to the touch, make sure you don’t try and pick on them or even burst them, because cysts are the kind of acne that does leave a scar.
Cysts are not something that can easily be treated. While prescription medicine might help, sometimes they could also require a procedure from a doctor – usually by draining out the liquid inside.
What type of acne do I have?
That is a question that arises multiple times, around the world, pretty much every single day.
Ask yourself if the acne you have is painful or not. If it isn’t at all painful, then you, most likely, have the non-inflammatory kind, which means you can treat the problem with various, not-to-worry-too-much methods.
If the acne is a little or lot painful, however, they you probably have the inflammatory kind. The next step from that will be to identify just what kind of inflammatory acne you have, and then take it from there.
If it is the first two kinds of inflammatory acne – papules and pustules – then you needn’t worry too much. Home remedies or common over the counter medicines will do the trick.
However, if it is the other two, then you might need to consult a dermatologist and use a more powerful form of medicine.