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Understanding different types of acne

Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterized by the formation of pimples, blackheads, and other types of blemishes on the skin. There are several different types of acne, each with its own unique set of characteristics and symptoms. Understanding the different types of acne is important for effective self-care and acne treatment.

Inflammatory Vs. Non-inflammatory acne

There are two main types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Understanding the differences between these two types of acne is important for effective self-care and treatment.

  • Inflammatory acne is caused by the body’s immune response to bacteria that have become trapped in the hair follicles. This results in the formation of red, swollen pimples and cysts that can be painful and cause scarring. Inflammatory acne is often more severe than non-inflammatory acne and requires medical treatment. Common types of inflammatory acne include papules, pustules, and cysts.
  • Non-inflammatory acne, on the other hand, is caused by the build-up of oil and dead skin cells in the hair follicles. This results in the formation of blackheads and whiteheads, which are not painful and do not cause scarring. Non-inflammatory acne is usually less severe than inflammatory acne and can often be treated with over-the-counter products.

It is important to note that some people may have a combination of both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. This can make treatment more challenging, as different types of acne may require different treatments. In these cases, it is important to seek the advice of a dermatologist or skincare professional.

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Also known as closed comedones, whiteheads are small, flesh-colored papules. They form when oil and skin cells block the hair follicle.


Known as open comedones, blackheads are small black or dark-colored spots that appear on the skin due to a clogged hair follicles.


Papules are small, raised, and red bumps that can be tender to the touch. They occur when hair follicles become inflamed or infected.


Pustules are similar to papules, but they contain pus. They appear as small red pimples with a white center.


Nodules are larger, inflamed lumps situated deeper within the skin. They result from the buildup of secretions deep within hair follicles.

Cystic Lesions

Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the skin’s surface, known as cysts, form due to infections deep within the follicles.