Types of Acne

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 2nd Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

Acne can be mild or severe, it can be embarrassing to a teenager or disfiguring in extreme cases.


Remember the days when you were a teenager? One of the biggest medical problems you had was getting a pimple. That one pimple was thought of as disfiguring especially when it was on your face. Parents always told you not to worry about it. It was no big thing.

Parents didn’t understand how it was a big thing among teenagers. Remember Johnny the pimply face boy that nobody wanted to date? Your parents should have asked how awful acne really was. Fortunately today, the treatments have improved since the days we old-timers were teenagers.

Acne occurs because hair follicles get clogged with oils and debris such as dead skin. Teens could cover the neck or back to hid from acne but it is very difficult to cover the face. There is only so much that makeup can do for a girl.

Well the boys were pretty much alone. Depending on the severity of the acne teens could be severely traumatized. Severe acne made them the butt of jokes and in some cases severely curtailed their social life.

Symptoms of acne

Acne will appear on the surface of the skin which contains the largest oil glands. Therefore you will commonly find acne on the face, arms, neck, and back. There are two forms of acne.

Types of acne

Individuals who have serious acne can get an referral from their family doctor for a dermatologist in their area, or they choose to visit a private clinic and pay for the services rendered.

Noninflammatory lesions

When hair follicles get clogged with dirt, debris, bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil secretions, they form what are called comedones or what we call in everyday language, whiteheads and blackheads.

Whiteheads are closed at the skin level. They are also skin colored . When the pimples or comedones are opened at the skin level they are black at the surface lending to the name blackhead. These comedones are flat, not raised and are not considered to be pimples.

Acne can be what is commonly known as whiteheads or blackheads. These lesions do not have inflammation. When they are raised and inflamed they are no longer blackheads and whiteheads, they are pimples.

Inflammatory lesions

When the lesions are raised and full of pus they are inflamed or infected. This is when they are commonly called pimples. The actual term for these legions are pustules. They usually have are red and tender.

However, if no pus is present at the tip, but they are still raised, tender and inflamed, they are called papules.


Nodule lesions are different because they grow under the skin. The large lumps are filled with oil buildup in the hair follicles. They are as painful as they are large.


Just like papulas and pustules are different nodules and cysts are different. Cysts are painful lumps filled with pus which grow under the skin and the sad part is they can cause permanent scarring.

When to see a dermatologist

Normally acne is not that serious and most teenagers grow out of that stage without too much harm done. However, in some cases the acne is so severe that it will cause permanent scarring or there is so much of it that the teenager is ashamed to go outside or even go to school. This would be a good time to consult a dermatologist to see what can be done as treatment to cure and prevent future outbreaks.

Why does acne occur

Why does acne occur

Acne occurs because of the build up of sebum (oil) under the skin, bacteria, the irritation of the follicles of the hair and the shedding of dead skin.
Hair follicles are connected to the oil(sebaceous) glands. When these areas get clogged with dead skin and buildup acne will occur. The sebum of the skin is necessary to lubricate your hair and skin. This oily substance travels through the hair follicles to the outside of the skin. Acne occurs when they become trapped inside the skin and bacteria can build up.

If the trapped substances remain closed to the outer skin you get what is called a whitehead. If there is an opening that area becomes black and you get what is called a blackhead.The medical term for blackheads and whiteheads is comedones.

The common pimple, a form of a more severe type of acne, is a raised bump which has become inflamed. It is red with a white head. It is hard for many people to resist the urge to squeeze or pop these pimples (nodules).

When the blockage is deep down inside the hair follicle the pimples are larger and are known as cysts. These inflammatory lesions can cause permanent scarring.

Factors that trigger or worsen acne


Teenagers produce androgen which starts around puberty. That is why they are the group most affected by acne. However, pregnant women also produce androgen which can lead to acne buildup as well.


Oral contraceptives, drugs containing androgens, corticosteroids and lithium can also trigger acne.


Certain foods including dairy products, such as bread, bagels, and even chips can trigger the release of excess sebum.

It is commonly thought that acne is caused by greasy foods or chocolate, however there is no research to support these claims.

It is also commonly held that acne is cause by dirty skin. This too is not the case. People who over clean their skins to prevent further outbreaks of acne may in fact trigger acne because of the harsh chemicals used. Simply washing with soap and water is all that is needed.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Acne, Blackheads, Clogged Pores, Comedones, Cysts, Dermatologist, Hair Folicles, Inflammation, Nodules, Noninflammatory Lesions, Papules, Pimples, Pustules, Symptoms Of Acne, Whiteheads

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Shamarie
2nd Sep 2015 (#)

Oh, I hated acne and acne scars! Thanks for this well written post, Carol!!!

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