Acne is a broad term to describe a skin condition that is caused by clogged pores on the surface of the skin. However, acne can vary in form and severity. There are several different types of acne conditions, including:
- Blackheads: Blackheads are open, but clogged pores. Dead skin and sebum collect in the pore, causing a small red bump, and air exposure cause the open pore to discolor.
- Whiteheads: Whiteheads are similar to blackheads, except the pore is closed to the air, causing a white tip.
- Papules: Papules are small, red bumps caused by oil and dead skin cells clogging pores on the surface of the skin.
- Pustules (or pimples): Pimples are small red bumps like papules, but are filled with pus. The pus in a pimple causes a small white tip to form on the bump.
- Nodules: Nodules are firm, skin-colored bumps that live deep under the skin. These bumps can be painful and difficult to treat with over-the-counter medication.
- Cysts: Cystic acne describes large, inflamed, and painful lesions that are found deep beneath the skin. Cystic acne is softer than nodules, due to the infections being filled with pus. These bumps can burst, causing further infection to the skin surrounding the cyst. Cysts are caused by clogged material deep within the pore of the skin. This type of acne can be very difficult to treat and can result in scarring of the skin if improperly treated.
Most acne can be treated with self-care remedies and over-the-counter acne medications. However, more severe forms of acne such as nodules and cysts may require additional treatment from a dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist.