What Are the Different Types of Acne?

male-checks-pimple-in-mirrorOver 50 million Americans are affected by acne annually, which makes acne the most common skin condition in the United States. While acne mostly affects teens and young adults, those over the age of 30 can still experience acne breakouts and flare ups. Given these statistics, chances are that you or someone you know has dealt with minor to severe acne.

Thankfully, there are a wide variety of treatments available to help keep your skin healthy and clear. However, since there are different types of acne, the treatment you need can depend on factors such as acne type, severity, location and other factors. To help you better understand the different types of acne and how you can identify them, the board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta have outlined the more common types of acne we typically encounter.

What is Acne?

At its root, acne is a common cosmetic skin condition that tends to appear on the face, but can appear anywhere on the body including the back, chest and neck. While acne is not a serious health condition, it can lead to physical acne scarring, a lack of self-confidence and overall discomfort for those who have it. Acne is typically caused by dead skin cells, bacteria growth and excess sebum production. As a result of hormones, sebum production increases which is why acne is so common during puberty.

Acne Types

Blackheads – This type looks like small, black dots on the surface of the skin. Blackheads form when a hair follicle is blocked. Because that area is unable to produce sebum, it becomes clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria and turns black due to exposure to the air.

Whiteheads – This kind of acne appears as small, white bumps beneath the surface of the skin. Whiteheads are caused when a hair follicle is completely blocked by sebum. The follicle begins to produce excess sebum which results in the area becoming inflamed and eventually rupturing.

Nodules – This type appears as large, round bumps under the skin’s surface. Nodules occur when whiteheads become severely infected. It often feels like a hard lump on the skin, tends to be visible and can lead to acne scarring if it is not treated properly.

Cysts – This kind looks like raised bumps beneath the surface of the skin. Cysts are similar in appearance to nodules, except they are filled with pus. It’s important to keep in mind that this type can scar as well if it is improperly treated.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of acne types and knowing the difference between all of them can be extremely beneficial. However, there are a number of skin conditions such as rosacea or folliculitis (shaving bumps) that are commonly mistaken for acne. In order to properly assess what type of skin condition you have, it’s always best to consult with one of our board-certified dermatologists or physician assistants to make sure you are following the correct course of treatment.

If you’re interested in learning more about the acne treatment options we offer, contact Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today. Additionally, give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more insights about our skincare services and monthly specials.