What are the types of Ance?

There are several types of acne. Some are simply clogged pores while others contain inflammatory bacteria. Understanding the difference between the various types can aid in choosing the proper treatment method.

  • Comedones – Whiteheads and Blackheads

    The most well-known forms of acne are comedones. Whiteheads are closed comedones and blackheads are open comedones. Both are clogged pores, follicles that are filled with sebum and sloughed off cells. Whiteheads are closed off and have not been exposed to air. Contrary to popular belief, blackheads are not dark because they are just dirt ground into open pores that can simply be scrubbed away. Blackheads are whiteheads turned black because they are exposed to air and oxidize.

  • Papules

    Papules are red or pink bumps that never seem to “come to a head.” Papules are clogged pores or sebaceous glands that are infected with bacteria. They are often tender, and appear to be a whitehead in formation, but it is important not to squeeze or try to force a papule to the surface, as that can cause scarring or further infection.

  • Pustules

    Pustules may at first glance appear to be whiteheads, but they are different. They are yellow or white at the center, but have a pink or red base. These are inflammatory and infected with bacteria. They can leave scars.

  • Nodules and cysts

    Larger than other acne formations, nodules and cysts are more like boils. Both can be very painful, infected with bacteria, can last for months, and are subject to collapse and can cause severe scarring. They both form hard lumps and should be treated by a dermatologist. The primary difference between them is that cysts fill are filled with pus. In order to properly address any legions or formations it is necessary to understand what you are dealing with. Whiteheads and blackheads are easily dealt with at home. Inflammatory legions, such as papules and pustule, are filled with bacteria and pose a risk of scarring. Nodules and cysts are serious, can cause significant scarring and are often a symptom of a more serious health problem which should be brought to the attention of you health care practitioner.

    Even those who practice a regular washing and moisturizing routine can suffer from various forms of acne. Responding to acne with a more vigorous cleansing routine can aggravate the problem. While daily washing and moisturizing can help minimize acne, other underlying causes are usually involved.

Solutions and Treatments

Acne is a very common problem, and the treatments vary from simply improving your skin care regimen, to costly medical procedures. Some acne is serious enough to warrant treatment from a dermatologist or other skin care specialist, and some can be handled at home. In either case, proper diet, drinking plenty of water, and cleaning your skin properly, not necessarily more often, will contribute to the solution.

Things you can do for yourself include:

  • Reduce stress
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Shower immediately after working out
  • Wash and moisturize your face daily, but no more than three times a day
  • Exfoliate
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Topical treatments


    • Retinoids – derivatives of Vitamin A that help to unblock pores. They are available in over-the-counter and prescription forms, usually as a cream containing retinol or retinaldehyde. Retinoids can increase the chance of sunburn.
    • Benzoyl peroxide – available over-the-counter or in a stronger prescription form. It works by helping to unblock pores and killing bacteria.
    • Antibiotics/Anti-inflammatories – kill bacteria and sooth as well as reduce swelling and redness.
    • Azeliac acid – kills bacteria and decreases the production of keratin.
  • Oral medications

    Antibiotics work by reducing bacteria from the inside. This is an effective way to reduce acne, but can have side effects such as increased chance of sunburn and yeast infections. Birth control pills can reduce or stop acne by regulating the hormones which increase the production of sebum causing breakouts.

  • Triamcinolone Acetonide Injections

    Triamcinolone acetonide is a corticosteroid which is injected directly into acne legions. This anti-inflammatory works well on cystic acne that has not responded to other treatment.

  • Laser Treatments

    Laser treatments kill the bacteria and alter the sebum gland, resolving existing acne and reducing the production of sebum to prevent its return. Most patients will need several treatments about two weeks apart for full results.

  • Photo Therapy

    Red and Blue light kill the bacteria associated with acne, and promote healing of the skin. The treatment is gentle and painless. In-office treatments resolve acne in about four weeks with treatment at intervals of twice a week. Photo therapy at home normally requires daily sessions for about 12 weeks. Photo therapy is not appropriate for cystic acne, but is very effective for persistent mild to moderate acne.


    Is acne caused by a lack of cleansing?

    Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit, which consists of the hair follicle, sebaceous gland and duct. When oil and dead skin cells become trapped within the follicle, it creates a comedo. If bacteria invade and the follicle wall ruptures, an inflamed lesion develops.

    Acne is triggered by androgens. Androgens are hormones released from the adrenals, ovaries, and testes. Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands, creating an oilier skin that is more prone to comedones.

    Acne is not caused by lack of cleansing. In fact, scrubbing your face too often or using harsh soaps can exacerbate the condition.

    Can you prevent acne?

    If you know your skin is prone to acne, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the chance of a breakout.
    Cleanse daily with a mild cleanser.
    Exfoliate regularly to help reduce the amount of dead skin cells.
    Drink plenty of water.
    Avoid oily skin and hair care products.
    Don’t pick or “pop” existing blemishes.

    What can I do about my acne?

    Although there is no cure for acne, there are many options available to help improve and control acne breakouts. If your acne is mild, try an over-the-counter acne product that contains benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide helps control Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium responsible for acne breakouts. Other helpful ingredients include salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol.

    If you have moderate to severe acne, you should talk to your dermatologist or skin care professional. They can discuss treatment options with you, which may include topical treatments and/or oral medications.

    How long will it take my acne to clear up?

    The severity of your acne and how consistent you are with your treatments are just some of the many factors that determine how long it will take to see improvement. There is no reliable acne therapy that works for 100% of sufferers. It isn’t uncommon to try several acne treatment options before finding one that works best for you.

    Most dermatologist agree you should see improvement of the skin within one to six months. Results are seen more quickly if you adhere to a strict skin care regimen.

    What role does diet play in acne?

    Acne is not caused by food. Following a strict diet will not, clear your skin. While some people feel that their acne is aggravated by certain foods, particularly chocolate, colas, peanuts, shellfish and some fatty foods, there is no scientific evidence that suggests food causes or influences acne. Avoid any foods which seem to worsen your acne and, for your overall health, eat a balanced diet–but diet shouldn’t really matter if the acne is being appropriately treated.