Acne Vulgaris: Definition and Types of Acne

Facing popping pimples or stubborn blackheads? Beware! Acne just hit you

As a teen, almost each one of us has faced some or the other kind of acne symptoms. And we all know, it has been frustrating at some point in life.

But, do you actually know why these pimples or blackheads appear or what are they called as? They are specifically a part of the so-called “Acne Vulgaris”!

A major knock-knock that your puberty has hit you right now! Most of us know it as a Pimple, and others as blackheads. And quite strangely, we are not serious about it in the starting and it gives us all the pain and irritation afterward. Moreover, if noticed acne vulgaris is more than just an effect of the change in age and it has many other types than just a small pimple or a blackhead.

So let’s explore:

What is Acne Vulgaris?

Acne or Acne Vulgaris is a skin disease that occurs when the pores of the skin become clogged with oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells.

And what is its most common symptom? It is caused due to the changes in the sebaceous gland that is connected to the pores via follicles. Due to these changes, it produces excess of sebum that leads to the formation of a plug in the follicle.

Now, acne may range from simple to mild to severe cases and its effect varies from person to person. I know it feels bad to see an unwanted breakout on your face, neck or back. What acne does is not just related to your physical being but also to your mental health. Don’t you feel a bit less confident when you have a pimple mark on your face? Yes, we do, we all do.

And thus, it is very important to know the symptoms and types of acne in order to treat them right. As, if you don’t know about the main disease, you will not be able to treat them properly. Moreover, by using wrong treatment, you might adverse the situation.

So, here we are to explain acne types in detail to help you in determining your acne situation.  Once you know the cause and type of your acne, you can contact your dermatologist and treat it right.

Types of Acne Vulgaris

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Pores present on your skin have their own pathway to allow oils from your oil glands flow to the surface of your skin. Point is when your body produces oil at a normal rate, it always remains smooth and glowing but sometimes due to hormonal imbalance it may start producing oil in excess thereby causing acne or a pimple.

A pimple thus, makes your skin dull in appearance & full of bumps or scars. Depending upon the skin type, the oil remains in your skin pores to cause mild, moderate, severe, cystic acne.

Thus, based on the form and severity, dermatologists classify acne into these four types:

Mild Acne

Mild acne, an early sign of acne vulgaris appears just similar to the open comedones in the absence of bumps and redness. This type of acne is generally non-inflammatory & sometimes referred to as ‘flat acne.’  Following are the two types of mild acne:

1. Blackheads

When the oil and dead skin cells trapped in the pore lining of the pores are exposed to light, they oxidize. This oxidisation creates black dots across the nose, centre of forehead and chin. These black dots are actually blackheads.

Blackheads can’t be treated by topical disinfectants such as sulphur, benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics etc as they are not caused by any bacteria, dirt or due to general hygiene. The main aim is to reduce the size of the pore and to wash the build-up layers of dead skin cells. For this purpose, it is recommended to use a well-formulated BHA product. Sometimes scrubs and pore strips are also used for removal.

But these are generally upper surface blackhead removal techniques and doesn’t remove the blackheads from its root.

Pro Tip:

In some cases, Renova with skin care products and Retin-A with retinol can help

Read more: 5 tips for Blackhead Removal

2. Whiteheads

These are just like small red pimples with white surface color or head on them. Whiteheads are generally clogged below the surface of the skin and remain closed in the color of flesh.

They may generally be noticed as small white dots, sometimes invisible to the naked eye. And the main spot of its occurrence is on the cheeks, forehead and the under eye area.

Pro Tip:

Always use well-formulated BHA product once or twice a day to overcome whiteheads because they are a bit stubborn

Moderate Acne

Moderate acne generally occurs in large numbers. These are marked by the presence of whiteheads which are closed comedones. You may recognize these as there is slight swelling with mild inflammation and it adversely affects the area of the face rather than only the affected area.

Types of moderate acne:

1. Papules

Papules occur when the wall of the hair follicle breaks and ruptures the clogged pores. This, in turn, allows a white fluid to enter the surface of the skin.

It causes raised red bumps with a white surface underneath filled with dirty fluid and oil. These originate deeper inside the dermis layer of the skin rather than just the outer layer.

Pro Tip:

Use skin care products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These products are the best way to treat this type of acne

Know more here: Quick Acne Treatment Remedies

2. Pustules

Pustules are the extreme result of papules which are produced when a pimple becomes more reddish, swollen, and engorged. Due to the accumulation of the white blood cells and debris, pustules are present as the white pus. A Pustule can be large and painful and requires proper care to be healed properly.

Pro Tip:

Teens having a combination of pustules and papules should use dermatologist prescription. Sensitive skin care products can also be used

Severe Acne

This type of acne is not that easy to be treated because it occurs in large number and is more painful. A severe acne is the end result of when blemishes spread out in large number and merge together infecting the entire area of the skin.

These get much dense due to their property of merging together and doesn’t stop only at the single pore thus resulting in high skin inflammation level. Dermatologists prescribe medical treatments including oral and topical antibiotic treatment.

Pro Tip:

Do not squeeze severe acne as they may spread the bacteria immediately and more breakouts may occur.  In turn, it will force the infection deeper inside the skin

Cystic Acne

A cystic acne is a severe form of inflammatory acne. It is characterised by the appearance of large blemishes on the face and jaw line. It not just affects the face, but can also affect the neck, shoulders, back, arms and the upper body.

The main cause of this kind of acne is because of the build-up of white blood cells, oil and fluid. Its most common appearance is like the pus filled regions or cysts present deeper than 5mm in diameter. Nodules is one of its types.

1. Nodules

A large, sore bump on the surface of the skin occurring when the bottom of the follicle breaks off and the follicle collapses. As compared to cysts, nodules are hard and painful bumps but contain no pus and other fluids. If you don’t take care of it properly, it may leave permanent scars on your skin.

Pro Tip:

Normal skin care products can’t treat cysts and nodules because these are so large and deep that they may affect the whole skin surrounding across them. Thus resulting in severe scars. Along with the oral medication and topical treatments, the dermatologist may inject corticosteroids for their treatment

We hope that the above-mentioned article about acne vulgaris and its types may have served its purpose in making you aware of your skin situation. At least, being aware of it will make you get the right treatment.

If there’s anything else we missed out on, please do let us know in the comments section below.

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