Types of Acne

Acne is referred to as a condition of the skin when the hair follicles under the skin become clogged by dead skin cells and oil. As a result of this clogging, there are outbreaks of lesions in the form of pimples and zits on the skin. Usually, these outbreaks mostly occur on the face but can also occur on the chest, back, and shoulders.

Acne is common in adolescents and teenagers. In most cases, acne gets subsided on its own without any acne treatment, but in severe cases, treatment becomes necessary. Acne is a commonly used term, but very few are aware of the different types of acne. Here we will delve a bit deeper into the topic and not only understand the acne’s types but also their treatment.

Table of Contents

Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:

  1. Whiteheads
  2. Blackheads
  3. Cysts
  4. Nodules
  5. Pustules
  6. Papules

1. Whiteheads

A whitehead refers to the type of acne which forms at the time when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped within the pores of the skin. Whiteheads happen to be quite irritating and can even get worse at times.

Causes of Whiteheads

A clear understanding of the causes of whiteheads helps in not only their cure but also prevention in the future. A few of the important causes of whiteheads when the amount of oil or sebum production is increased to clog the pores are as follows.

  • Puberty
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of contraceptives or birth control pills
  • Genetics

Treatment for Whiteheads

Whiteheads are considered as mild types of acne and hence easier to treat. Topical retinoids are commonly used for treating whiteheads. In case of inflammation, the doctors might suggest some oral or topical antibiotics as well.

Also Read : Acne Scar Removal: Types, Causes, And Treatment At Clair Skin Clinic In Delhi

2. Blackheads

Blackheads are small bump-like appearances on the skin that occur as a result of clogged hair follicles. These are referred to as blackheads since their surface appears black or dark. They appear most commonly on the face but can also appear on the neck, chest, back, shoulders, and arms.

Causes of Blackheads

Blackheads occur due to the development of plug or clog in the opening of the skin’s hair follicles. Some factors that increase the chances of causing blackheads are listed below.

  • Production of an excessive amount of body oil
  • Undergoing hormonal changes during teenage, menstruation, or while having contraceptive pills
  • Building up of acne specific bacteria called Propionibacterium on the skin
  • Consumption of certain drugs like androgens, lithium, or corticosteroids
  • Irritation of skin’s hair follicles when the dead skin cells are not shed regularly

Treatment for Blackheads

Over the counter treatments are the most common acne treatment followed. The treatment procedure includes medications available in the forms of gel, cream, and pad that are directly put on the skin. These medications contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and resorcinol that work by eradicating bacteria, drying the excessive amount of oil, and compelling the skin to shed all dead skin cells to ensure no clogging.

Treatment of acne

3. Cysts

Cystic acne or cysts are one of the serious types of acne that occur as red and painful breakouts deep in the skin. Pimples occur when a skin pore gets clogged with dead skin cells. When bacteria get trapped too, it causes the area to become swollen and red. Cysts occur when this infection goes deep under the skin, creating a bump full of puss.

Causes of Cysts

The exact causes of cysts are not known, but the hormone androgen plays a significant role in this regard. As a teenager, the levels of androgen go up, causing cysts. Other factors causing cystic acne or cysts are mentioned below.

  • Menstruation cycle in women
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Use of certain medicines or skin products
  • High humidity

Treatment for Cysts

Cystic acne treatment is of immense importance to appropriately deal with this serious type of acne. Hence, visiting a skin specialist in Delhi to get the most effective treatment for cysts or cystic acne is always helpful. Over the counter medicines usually do not work in this regard, and special treatment methods are followed.

  • Use of oral antibiotics and Benzoyl peroxide to control bacterial growth and reduce inflammation
  • Retinoid is used to unclog the pores and facilitate antibiotics to work effectively.
  • Use of spironolactone for reducing excess oil
  • Use of steroids that are directly injected into the cysts

4. Nodules

Nodules or nodular acne involves the bacteria known as ‘p. acne’. These bacteria are commonly found on the skin but when trapped in the pores along with oil and dead skin cells, it leads to the formation of nodules under the skin.

Causes of Nodules

Some of the common causes of nodular acne or nodules are as follows.

  • The Occurrence of skin infections
  • Overproduction of thyroid hormones
  • Deficiency of iodine
  • Enlargement of lymph node or lymphadenopathy

Treatment for Nodules

Being one of the most serious types of acne, acne treatment for modules should be done with more care. Topical acne medications are directly applied to the nodule as well as for acne scar treatment. Use of antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids are common for killing the bacteria trapped in the pores, dry out the trapped oil, shed out dead skin, as well as unclog the trapped hair follicles.

Also Read : Does Hydrafacial Work For Acne?

5. Pustules

Pustules appear like small bumps on the skin containing pus. The bumps are usually white with surrounding red skin. Pustules are similar to pimples but might grow quite big.

Causes of Pustules

Pustules or pustular acne occurs due to skin inflammation owing to any allergic reaction to food, poisonous insect bites, or environmental allergens. Pustules clog the skin with dead skin cells and oil resulting in patches of skin.

Treatment for Pustules

Pustules are types of acne that go away normally without treatment if small. But if the bumps are large and consistent, acne treatment is important. Use of over the counter medications, creams, cleansers, and soaps are commonly used for treating small pustules. In more severe cases, topical medications like salicylic acid, peroxide, and sulphur are used.

6. Papules

Papules are very small red bumps devoid of any yellow or white center of pus. If pus is accumulated in a papule, it becomes a pustule. Papules are types of acne that become pustules within some days but can be prevented by getting proper acne treatment in Delhi so that it does not spread further.

Causes of Papules

Some of the important causes of papules are as follows.

  • Excessive production of oil
  • Trapped bacteria
  • Excessive activity of androgens
  • Too much stress
  • Diet including too much sugar
  • Use of certain medications like corticosteroids

Treatment for Papules

Acne treatment for papules starts with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For inflammatory papules, doctors might use topical medicines like dapsone (Aczone), retinoids including tazarotene (Tazorac), tretinoin (Retin-A), and adapalene (Differin). Some antibiotics are also used for acne spot treatment.

At Clair Skin Clinic, every individual suffering from acne or finding a hard time dealing with the same can be assured of getting the best acne treatment. The clinic has some of the best dermatologists in New Delhi who make sure to provide the affected individuals with the best recommendations and premium quality treatment according to their skin type and concern. Moreover, the dermatologist at the clinic also provides detailed information to prevent acne and follows up with the ideal treatment for acne for the best possible results.

7 Other Different Types of Acne - Explained

The term “acne” often conjures images of inflamed and red pimples on our faces. It is a complex skin condition that comes in various forms and types. Besides the typical acne vulgaris, there are several other types of acne with their unique characteristics. Listed are the seven other different types of acne you must know.

Subclinical Acne

Subclinical acne refers to superficial acne that’s located just below the skin. It is also known as comedonal acne and is caused by hormonal imbalances, clogged pores, bacteria, etc. Most dermatologists opine that the best way to treat subclinical acne is by maintaining a good hygiene. Washing your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser can be pretty effective. The most effective treatment for subclinical acne is to use retinoid creams.

Fungal Acne

It is another major type of acne that can severely affect your appearance. Fungal acne causes the hair follicles to get inflamed. It can occur anywhere on your body and is caused by tight clothing and sweating. You might be dealing with fungal acne if you have tried multiple treatments with no results. One of the most effective treatments for fungal acne is cryotherapy.

Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne, also known as adult acne, affects adults between 25 and 50. Acne causes bumps on your chest, shoulders, face, etc. It is typically associated with puberty but can affect adults of any age. It is also a direct result of excess sebum in oil glands. Hormonal acne affects men and women, but the majority of cases occur in women and pregnant women.

During puberty, hormonal acne appears in your T-Zone, which includes the chin, forehead, and nose. Hormonal acne typically forms on your face’s lower part. Some food items, like antioxidants, may help prevent acne. Limiting red meat and refined carbs can help you get respite from hormonal acne. If you have hormonal acne, using non comedogenic products can help reduce clogged pores.

Pyoderma Faciale

Pyoderma Faciale is an uncommon type of facial acne that occurs in adult women. Unlike traditional acne, it doesn’t involve the breakout of whiteheads or blackheads. Pyoderma Faciale leads to the formation of large and inflammatory nodules and ulcers. The exact cause of Pyoderma Faciale is unknown. However, hormonal imbalances are believed to be the main reason behind their occurrence. If you have Pyoderma Faciale, your doctor will prescribe mid to high-potency steroids twice daily.

Acne Rosacea

Acne Rosacea is not your typical acne. It is usually characterised by visible blood vessels, redness of the skin, and puss-filled bumps on the skin. Unlike other acne, rosacea typically affects individuals aged 30. The exact cause of rosacea is still being researched.

But, dermatologists believe that a combination of environmental and genetic factors are responsible for acne rosacea. Your dermatologist will conduct a thorough exam of your signs and symptoms to diagnose rosacea.

Treatment of rosacea varies based on the symptoms of each person. Your doctor may prescribe several types of oral and topical medicines to treat bumps and skin imperfections caused by rosacea. Your doctor can also use lasers to eliminate the visible blood vessels from the skin.

Acne Fulminans

Acne fulminans, also known as acne maligna, is a rare skin disorder. It refers to the sudden and severe onset of acne that usually affects adult males. Acne fulminans can lead to severe scarring and require prompt medical intervention.

The most effective way to treat this type of acne is by administering oral steroids and antibiotics. Your dermatologist can also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications like salicylates and high doses of antibiotics. The main reason behind acne fulminans is hormonal imbalance.

Back Acne

Most of us believe that the face is a common site for acne. But acne can affect other areas of your body too. Acne can occur in any area of your body that secretes sebum. Your shoulders, back, chest, etc., are some areas where acne can appear.

Like other acne, back acne is the outcome of clogged pores. You can take various self-care measures to arrest the growth of back acne. However, if these measures fail to yield any positive result, seeing a board-certified dermatologist is the best option.

Acne Conglobata

Acne Conglobata is a rare but severe type of nodulocystic acne. Acne Conglobata can often lead to extensive scarring. It is usually characterised by abscesses and nodules on the chest and the back. It is a condition that typically affects males.

Due to the severity of this acne, you should consult with a reputed dermatologist. Over-the-counter acne treatments fail to produce feasible results in treating Acne Conglobata. Usually, your doctor will recommend topical and oral medications to treat this type of acne. Oral steroids are the most effective treatment option to reduce scarring.

For effective self-care, it is crucial to identify the type of acne you have. Ensure that you seek the proper and timely treatment to minimise scarring.


1^ Whiteheads, www.healthline.com, 02/10/2021

2^ Blackheads, www.healthline.com, 02/10/2021

3^ Cysts, www.webmd.com, 02/10/2021

4^ Cysts, www.medicalnewstoday.com, 02/10/2021

5^ Nodules, www.healthline.com, 02/10/2021

6^ Pustules, www.healthline.com, 02/10/2021

7^ Papules, www.healthline.com, 02/10/2021