Affecting nearly 45 million Americans each year, acne is the most prevalent skin condition in humans. Typically, acne develops where there is an abundance of oil glands, like the face, scalp, chest, back and neck. Normally caused from clogging of the pore, Increased oil production, Bacteria, Inflammation and hormonal.
While acne is common, it also varies and can be made up of a complex combination of needs to treat. Seeing a professional is the best way to ensure that this condition is treated appropriately and specific to each person’s unique needs.
What type of acne do you get?
Whiteheads are simply clogged pores that are not inflamed. They are clogged below the surface of the skin, so they remain closed and flesh coloured, but create a little bump on the skin.
Then comes blackheads. Blackheads are basically the same as whiteheads – a non-inflamed clogged pore – but the difference is that the top is open and therefore exposed to the air. The air oxidizes the sebum and keratin that’s stuck there and it turns black.
Here is one you may never heard of probably because it’s not actually a type of acne at all and isn’t even related to an acne breakout – but I’m including it because it’s so often misunderstood. It’s something called sebaceous filaments.
- What are sebaceous filaments?
- It’s what you think are the blackheads all over your nose and surrounding area. Guess what? Almost everyone thinks they have a blackhead problem all over these areas when in reality, every single human has these and they aren’t clogged pores at all! They are actually just the oil glands in your skin.. the tiny tubes that supply a pore with sebum. The tips of them are what you see dotted around your nose and they often resemble tiny blackheads, although they’re usually lighter in colour, evenly spaced, and smooth to the touch, unlike blackheads.
- They are meant to be there, everyone has them, and you can’t make them go away. If you try, they fill right back up.
- I just wanted to bring this to light because many people are needlessly stressing out about their perfectly normal, healthy sebaceous filaments when they shouldn’t be
- More inflamed acne. Inflamed acne is when a clogged pore – a whitehead or a blackhead – gets irritated and becomes inflamed. This mean it swells, turns red, and begins to hurt. (This is why we want to avoid irritating cleansers + your fingers so that a clogged pore doesn’t get inflamed!)
- Papules are tender red bumps … usually fairly small, up to a cm in diameter, and somewhat raised. The defining factor is that they are not filled with pus, although they may go on to fill with pus later on and become a pustule.
- Absolutely do not squeeze these!!! It’s only going to make matters worse and encourage scarring
- Pustules are your classic zit. Hard, inflamed, and full of pus that has the defining white or yellow centrer. While it’s ever tempting to pop these, please try to refrain. It may not be as harmful to pop one of these vs squeezing some other varieties, especially if it’s waiting to burst… but I still would really not recommend it (from a former chronic popper – trust me).
- Nodules and Cysts
- More severe acne lesions… nodules and cysts. These are large (much larger than papules and pustules) painful bumps under the skin that take quite a while to go away and can create scarring.
- Nodules are generally hard and not filled with pus. Cysts are filled with pus and feel like fluid filled sacs underneath the skin.
- Inflamed acne happens when a plug ruptures a follicle wall and leaks fluid into the skin, which your immune system then responds to with inflammation. if this rupture happens near the surface of the skin, the result is usually a minor papule or a pustule. If it happens deep within the skin, it’s much more likely to become a serious nodule or a cyst