Types Of Acne and Their Causes

Acne is a skin condition that affects a great number of people. Acne consists of whiteheads, blackheads, and raised blemishes that cover the skin. While acne is commonly found on the face, acne can also affect the chest, shoulders, back, and other areas of the body. Because these areas of the body are commonly exposed while wearing clothing, acne is a condition that truly distresses many people. This is why it is important to not only know how to treat acne, but to understand the causes of acne and the condition itself.

The Two Types Of Acne:

1. Inflamed Acne Blemishes: These blemishes are usually known as pimples or zits. Inflamed blemishes are usually red, raised and can be painful to the touch. These blemishes can also be further broken down into two groups, known as papules and pustules.

- Papules are created when a hair follicle becomes infected. Hair follicles are surrounded by a thin wall, and when the follicle becomes infected, these walls can easily break. This will cause white blood cells to fill the follicle wall and try to fight the infection; therefore, causing the area to become inflamed or raised. Papules are generally referred to as regular pimples, and are usually the same color as the surrounding skin or may also appear a bit red.

- Pustules are much like papules, but these blemishes tend to have a white spot or whitehead on top of the raised pimple. This occurs when the white blood cells that have invaded the hair follicle are directly under the skin. Many times, acne sufferers will “pop” these pustules, which often results in acne scars.

2. Non-inflammatory Blemishes: These are blemishes that lie directly on the skin, and do not become raised or inflamed. There are two types of non-inflammatory blemishes, known as blackheads and whiteheads.

- Blackheads occur when sebum, or oil, gets caught in a pore. Sebum contains melanin, which is what
causes skin pigmentation. When the melanin that is trapped in the pore is exposed to the air, it turns the pore dark brown or black, which is why it is called a ‘blackhead’.

- Whiteheads are formed when sebum, or oil, gets trapped directly underneath the skin. This causes a
small white spot to form, which is why these blemishes are called whiteheads.

Severe Acne: Cysts and Nodules

Sometimes a blemish can get so severe that it causes the entire follicle wall to break or collapse. When this happens, the infection can spread to other follicles, which will cause a nodule or cyst to form. These blemishes are larger than regular pimples, and in many cases, also more painful and more difficult to treat.