What Are The Most Common Kinds of Acne?

Acne blemishes, like the people who suffer from them, come in all different shapes and sizes. Some forms of acne are more severe than most and should be examined by a dermatologist. Cystic acne falls into this category, but because it is less common and harder to treat than most other blemishes, it will not be discussed here. If you are looking for info on whiteheads, blackheads, papules, or pustules, you have come to the right place.

No matter what form it comes in, the basic anatomy of a zit is always the same: dead skin cells and excess sebum (oil) get trapped inside your pores, causing swollen, unsightly blockages. These blockages usually come in one of the following forms:


Whenever a pimple begins to form in a pore beneath the surface of your skin, but remains closed, it is commonly referred to as a whitehead. Whiteheads look like little white dots. Dermatologists recommend that you do not pop them, since it could increase inflammation and inadvertently make your pimples bigger. Sometimes these blemishes can precede papules or pustules; other times, they remain as they are until they eventually fade.


When your pores look like they are filled with little black dots, these are blackheads. They often form in clogged hair follicles, which are partly responsible for their dark appearance. Both whiteheads and blackheads contain some form of sebaceous oil; however, blackheads differ from whiteheads in that they are open and contain keratin, not dead skin cells. Because of their unique structure, blackheads may not fade gradually the way whiteheads do, making them tougher to treat and eliminate.


Papules belong to the inflammatory family of acne blemishes, but they are less severe. When a pore becomes inflamed and takes on a swollen, red appearance, it is a papule. You should avoid touching them, if possible, and definitely avoid popping them. This type of blemish is also a common precursor to pustules.


Pustules are severely inflamed and/or swollen pimples with a large white head surrounded by red, irritated skin. Sometimes it may be beneficial to pop these, since evacuating the built-up pus can encourage blood flow to the infected area and speed healing, but be careful! Not only are these types of blemishes the most likely to scar, but opening them up can spread harmful acne bacteria to other parts of your face.

What Are The Best Acne Treatments?

To effectively tackle all of your acne problems, you should invest in a full anti-acne regimen. Look for a treatment system which includes a cleanser and a moisturizer to deal with the problems on the surface of your skin, as well as an acne treatment that helps  address the deeper causes of acne. To learn more about what the best acne treatment systems on the market, read our acne treatment reviews.

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