How to Target Every Single Type of Acne
When it comes to acne, you’re likely to have found that what works for your friend may not work for you. The products that help their blemishes may be less than helpful for you—and vice versa. You may be able to chalk this inconsistency up to the fact that everyone’s skin is different but that isn’t the only reason. One of the most important lessons you can learn—in relation to acne—is that there are different types of acne. And as such, each type needs to be addressed differently. If your breakouts seem awfully persistent, the issue could be that you’re targeting pimples as if they’re blackheads. In that case, you’ll need to start by identifying the type(s) of acne you have. To learn about every single type of acne, and how to address each, click through!
What Is a Blackhead?
As far as identifying types of acne goes, blackheads should be one of the easier to identify. That’s because blackheads look just as the name suggests—like tiny black dots. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), these small spots occur when pores become clogged with excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Blackheads also typically have slightly raised borders, differentiating them from sebaceous filaments—which aren’t a type of acne.
How to Address Blackheads
To help unclog pores and remove excess P.acnes bacteria, the AAD recommends using a retinoid in combination with a benzoyl peroxide face wash. Try pairing an over-the-counter retinoid with the AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Cleanser, which is formulated with benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid.
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What Is a Whitehead?
As you may have guessed, whiteheads are similar to blackheads. They both are a form of clogged pore; however, a clogged pore only becomes a whitehead when it closes up. That’s when you’ll notice a tiny white or flesh colored bump.
How to Address Whiteheads
Due to their similarities, whiteheads and blackheads can be addressed in exactly the same way. The AAD once again suggests using a retinoid and a benzoyl peroxide face wash. If, after 6 to 8 weeks, you still see whiteheads (or blackheads for that matter), the AAD shares that a dermatologist may suggest extraction or prescribe a stronger acne treatment.
What Is a Papule?
Papules, also known as early pimples, refer to small, hard, red bumps. The AAD advises that these pimples form when excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells push deeper into the skin and cause inflammation, resulting in the redness and swelling that you see.
How to Address Papules
To help clear papules, the AAD recommends washing twice a day with a face wash designated for acne that contains either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If you prefer the latter, try the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser, which is formulated with salicylic acid and LHA.
What Is a Pustule?
If your pimples are pus-filled, what you have are pustules. According to the AAD, these blemishes are comparable to papules, except they contain a yellowish flush. Oftentimes, this makes pustules easy to identify because there will be a visible yellow or white center to the blemish.
How to Address Pustules
Pustules may be tempting to pop, but you’ll want to resist. Pimple popping can actually worsen acne. Instead, the better practice is to wash your face with product specifically designed for acne and formulated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
What Is a Nodule?
Sometimes blocked pores get worse, becoming more irritated and even going deeper into your skin. And that’s when nodules can form. Mayo Clinic refers to this type of blemish as large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin.
How to Address Nodules
More severe types of acne, like nodules, require a trip to a dermatologist. And remember, the sooner you start to address them, the less scarring you’re likely to have.
What Is a Cyst?
Much like whiteheads and blackheads or pastules and pustules, cysts are similar to nodules. The main point of difference being that cystic lesions are softer and filled with pus.
How to Address Cysts
Cysts should be treated in a similar fashion to nodules, with a trip to the dermatologist. There, the AAD reveals that a dermatologist will often recommend taking an antibiotic and using a topical prescription treatment.
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