Different Types of Acne

There are a number of different types of acne and in order to treat acne properly the type of acne present needs to be determined.

Here is some information about the different types of acne:

Acne Vulgaris

is the most common acne affecting 60-70% of Americans at some time during their lives. Twenty percent of Americans have severe acne with permanent physical and mental scarring; however this does not have to be the case if treatment is administered at the first signs of flair up. Each person is a little different from the next so treatments vary upon the type and severity of your acne.

Mild to Moderate Acne Vulgaris consists of the following types of acne:

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form when a pore is completely blocked, entrapping sebum (oil), bacteria and dead skin cells. Since the air is unable to reach the follicle it causes a white appearance on the surface. Whiteheads are normally dissipated within a shorter life cycle than blackheads.


result when a pore is only partially blocked, allowing some of the trapped sebum (oil), bacteria, and dead skin cells to gradually make its way to the surface. However the black color is not caused by dirt. More or less it’s the skin’s own pigment, the melanin, interacting with the oxygen in the air. Blackheads are much more stable structures, allowing them to take much longer time to clear than whiteheads.


are the inflamed, red, tender bumps with no head. It is highly recommended to Never squeeze papules do to the outcome of scaring.


are inflamed and show up as a red circle with a white or yellow center. Pustules are your garden variety zit.

Severe Acne Vulgaris

Severe Acne Vulgaris is characterized by nodules and cysts:


As unlike the information on lesions noted above, nodular acne is spots of acne which can be much larger, quite painful and can last for several months. Nodules are large, hard bumps under the skin’s surface and scarring is quite common with this type of acne. Untreated nodules can sometimes leave an impaction behind, allowing it to flare time and time again. The worst thing you can do if this occurs is to squeeze it. You most likely will cause severe damage to the skin as the lesion may last for months longer than it normally should. It is recommended that treatment be sought from a dermatologist where they can administer a shot of cortisone to reduce any inflammation as well as the chance of scarring.


An acne cyst appears almost similar to a nodule but is pus-filled, and is explained as having a diameter of 5mm or more across. Again they are quite painful and scarring is commonly known to happen with cystic acne. Squeezing an acne cyst will only worsen the situation and cause the infection to spread as it deepens; more painful inflammation which will last much longer than if you had left it alone. Dermatologists usually have ways to reduce swelling and take preventative measures to reduce the chances of scarring scarring, such as administering a cortisone shot.

Acne Rosacea

is commonly mistaken for Acne Vulgaris do to the similarity in features. Rosacea appears in the form of a reddish rash and is usually limited to the chin, cheeks, nose and forehead and it affects millions. Rosacea typically affects those who are over the age of 30. The redness is often accompanied by bumps, pimples and skin blemishes. In some cases vessels of blood become more visible through the skin. Rosacea and blackheads are not likely to be found on the same person. It more commonly found in females yet often more severe when found in males. This condition left untreated could cause swelling of the nose along with excessive growth tissue, a condition called Rhinophyma. The treatment for Rosacea is usually different than for acne, Therefore if you suspect your experiencing this condition, contact your dermatologist right away.

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Severe forms of acne

Severe forms of acne are rare, but inflict such hardship on those people who experience them.

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Acne Conglobata

The most severe type of Acne Vulgaris and is most commonly found in males. It is characterized by numerous large lesions, which are sometimes interconnected, along with widespread blackheads. It can cause severe, irreversible damage to the skin, and disfiguring scarring. This unfortunate type of acne is found from your thighs up “Thighs, buttocks back, chest and face.” Acne Conglobata can show up as early as 18 and usually no later than 30, however this condition can stay active for several years after. As with all forms of acne, the cause of Acne Conglobata is unknown. Treatment usually includes Isotretinoin (Accutane), and although Acne Conglobata is sometimes resistant to treatment, it can often be controlled through aggressive treatment over time.

Acne Fulminans

This is the sudden flair up of Acne Conglobata which normally affects young men. Symptoms are severe nodulocystic and often ulcerating acne is apparent. As with Acne Conglobata, extreme, disfiguring scarring is common. Acne Fulminans is unique in that it also includes a fever and aching of the joints. Acne Fulminans does not respond well to antibiotics. Isotretinoin (Accutane) and oral steroids are normally prescribed.

Gram-Negative Folliculitis

This condition is a bacterial infection characterized by pustules and cysts, possibly occurring as a complication resulting from a long term antibiotic treatment of Acne Vulgaris. It is a rare condition, and we do not know if it is more common in males or females at this time. Fortunately, Isotretinoin (Accutane) is often effective in combating Gram-Negative Folliculitis.

Pyoderma Faciale (Rosacea Fulminans)

This type of severe facial acne affects only females, usually between the ages of 20 to 40 years old, and is characterized by large painful nodules, pustules and sores, all of which may scar. It begins abruptly, and may occur on the skin of a woman who has never had acne before. It is confined to the face, and usually does not last longer than one year, but can wreak havoc in a very short time. Doctors often prescribe Isotretinoin (Accutane) and systemic corticosteroids.

After reviewing the different types of acne you realize how important it is to identify which type of acne you have so that you determine the right type of acne treatment to pursue.


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Comments on Different Types of Acne Leave a Comment

June 20, 2010

Suzanne @ 1:10 pm #

This is a very good list. I did a search on your site for ways to treat the other forms of acne besides acne vulgaris. Will you be writing about those?

June 23, 2010
August 20, 2010

This is a great list of the types of pimples and acne. I saw that you also have a list that goes over the types of folliculitis. Thanks and keep up the good work.


October 17, 2010

Carl @ 1:43 pm #

Great post. I don’t have what I thought I had but what I have still needs treatment. At least I know how to treat it now.

October 20, 2010
February 3, 2011

Daryl @ 4:16 am #

After looking at this I have had some second thoughts as to what I should be doing to treat my acne. I appreciate the thought stimulation as to what type of acne i have.


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