Common types of acne and how to treat them

Acne happens to every one of us—often, at the most inconvenient times. A big zit just before a big meeting or a hot date can throw anybody off their A-game. How do you keep the pimples away? The first step is simple: get to know the type of acne you are dealing with. That will help you zero in on an effective treatment plan.


What causes acne?

Acne is a skin condition involving the sebaceous glands. These glands sit at the base of the hair follicles and get activated at puberty. They then start producing an oily substance called sebum, which travels through the pores to arrive at the skin’s surface. 

The function of sebum is to hydrate and protect the skin. The trouble arises when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum. This leaves the skin feeling greasy and sticky. If excess sebum and dead skin cells block the pores, the skin breaks out in spots and pimples.

Although breakouts are most common during the teen years, adults have acne too. Pimples show up on the face and neck as well as along the chest, back, and shoulders.


Know the different acne types


Skin breakouts fall under two broad categories: non-inflammatory acne and inflammatory acne. Let’s take a deep dive into the big, bad world of zits to find out more.


1. Non-inflammatory acne

Non-inflammatory acne is a mild form of acne comprising blackheads and whiteheads. These blemishes are usually free of swelling and inflammation. 

  • Blackheads: Blackheads look like slightly raised black spots. They appear when pores get blocked with sebum and dead skin cells. However, the surface of these pores remains open. Blackheads may look like dirt deposits, but the dark colouring is merely due to light reflecting off the clogged pore.
  • Whiteheads: As with blackheads, pores clogged with excess sebum and dead skin are to blame for whiteheads. The difference here is that the surface of the pore closes up. A whitehead looks like a tiny bump on the surface of the skin.

2. Inflammatory acne

True to its name, inflammatory acne is marked by swelling and inflammation. Pimples, which appear in the form of papules and pustules, are a moderate form of acne. Nodules and cysts are more severe forms of acne. 

The culprits? Clogged pores are to blame once again, but this time bacteria also play a role. 

  • Papules: These little red bumps appear when bacteria and debris accumulate in the skin. Papules mostly appear on the face. They contain no pus but may feel tender to the touch.
  • Pustules: These are reddish bumps with a white or yellow head. When bacteria enter the skin, the white blood cells kick into action, creating these pus-filled pimples. Pustules usually show up on the face, chest, or back
  • Nodules: Nodules form beneath the skin’s surface. These hard, inflamed bumps are painful as well. Because they form deep inside the skin, nodules do not develop a white head.
  • Cysts: Cysts are painful and the most severe form of acne. These large, soft bumps form deep below the skin. Cysts contain pus and blood, and they often cause scarring.


Tailor your acne treatment

Now that you know about the various kinds of acne, bring out the mirror and turn on the lights. It is time to study the spots and bumps on your face and figure out their severity. Your findings will determine the best treatment plan.

  • Mild to moderate acne: Are spots and little red bumps getting you down? If you have mild to moderate acne, what your skin needs is extra love. Make it a habit to cleanse, tone, and moisturise the skin twice a day. What else? Boost your skin’s acne-fighting ability with a high-performing blend like Clearica’s Anti-Acne Cream. This targets multiple acne symptoms (redness, clogged pores, acne spread) and eliminates acne-causing bacteria. You could also include a weekly exfoliation ritual to remove skin debris and clarify your pores.
  • Severe acne: Nodules and cysts are hard to treat at home. Because they grow deep below the skin’s surface, you may need prescription medicine to clear them up. A dermatologist may prescribe oral or topical ointments to ease the breakouts.

If you are prone to severe acne, you will need an effective skincare regimen. Your dermatologist could suggest ways to control future breakouts.


Clear skin is within your reach

All you need is a targeted plan for your acne problem. That could mean over-the-counter products for your mild-to-moderate breakouts or medicine for severe acne as prescribed by a doctor. Once you know the course of action, stick to it. Healthy, happy, breakout-free skin is waiting just around the corner!