What Kind Of Acne Do You Have?

Acne is never just acne. There are actually several different forms of this very common skin problem. The more you know about what kind you have, the better you can handle it.

Here's a crash-course on the variations:

Papules
These are small, raised, firm bumps that may appear in groups, causing the skin to feel rough.

Pustules
When papules become filled with pus, they are then classified as pustules, a kind of whitehead. You may be tempted to pop these if they come to a head, but squeezing any kind of blemish is a no-no, since this can lead to a mark that takes much longer to go away.

Closed Comedones
The other kind of whitehead, these pores become clogged with pus and have a small opening, lending to the appearance of a white “head.”

Open Comedones
Usually called blackheads, they're clogged pores that appear black due to visible oil and debris that has darkened upon exposure to air. They typically show up in the T-zone, and on the nose and chin.

Nodules and Cysts
Acne nodules are firm, usually red lesions that extend deeper into the skin, causing inflammation, pain and possibly scarring. When firm nodules become filled with pus and/or blood, they are then considered cysts. They can linger for weeks if left untreated.

If the packaging on over-the-counter formulas don't give you a clear idea on which type of acne they target, ask a dermatologist for a product recommendation.

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