Types of Acne

Red outbreaks, painful pustules, and awkward red rashes on infants…these could all be types of acne. To help you tell your pimples from bug bites from your reactions to things like medication or your work, we’ve provided some information here. It’s important that you know what kind of acne or outbreak you have, as that will help you decide how to Get rid of Acne or help you with your blackheads or Whiteheads!

Forms of Acne

This information is to help you understand how your skin acts and to help you classify what kind of acne you may have. The more informed you are, the better you can make choices about your skin and the sooner you can tackle the acne problem you are working with. This is especially the case for any conversations with your doctor: the more proactive you are, the better the outcome of these discussions.

This is a whitehead.

Whiteheads by definition, are not infected, which is why it’s important not to touch them, pop them, or molest them in any way. They’re basically what happens when skin gets clogged up (pores or follicles).

These are blackheads.

Blackheads develop when a whitehead or a clogged pore finally opens and releases most of that sebaceous garbage onto your skin. I say “most” because what’s left in your pore is dead skin cells, expired fats, and melanin (the stuff that makes your skin look good when you tan).

This is called a papule.

Papules, which are sometimes mistaken for whiteheads. Papules are what happens when a whitehead or a blackhead finally does become infected…it changes from those simple acne forms to something more damaging.

These are nodules.

These are nodules. At this point, your acne lesions are so infected that you risk the chance of acne scarring. Nodular or cystic acne is one of the more serious types of acne.

Infantile Acne or “Baby Acne” If it happens, your kiddo will have these outbreaks between three and six months old. It’s usually a case of hormones acting up in the child, though you should check with a dermatologist to make sure it’s not neonatal acne. That usually requires medication, while in a few months baby acne is gone.

Acne Conglobata is a severe form of acne, punctuated by deep, painful nodules usually present on the chest, back, and sometimes the butt. These nodules often form a network and their inflammation and subsequent eruptions can cause a considerable amount of scarring. It is not accompanied by a fever, which helps differentiate it from Acne Fulminans.

Acne Fulminans is system-wide disorder. It’s when the acne outbreaks start to mess with your body’s ability to function. Sores are usually found on the trunk of the individual and are preceded by a fever and other symptoms associated with a systemic infection. It often requires a combination of steroidal and antibiotic therapies. It’s rare, very rare, and it’s commonly confused with Acne Conglobata. That’s why talking to a doctor is a solid idea when you’ve got acne that won’t go away.

Skin conditions that are mistaken for acne:

Rosacea is not acne. Acne Vulgaris requires the presence of comedones (clogged pores) and a hormonal component for a positive diagnosis. Rosacea is not accompanied by any clogged pores, but papules and pustules similar to those caused by Acne Vulgaris may be present. Talk to a doctor, as they’ll be able to tell whether or not it’s rosacea for certain (rather than just on appearance).

Drug-induced Acne is, in essence, whitehead breakouts caused by medicines being taken.

Acne Cosmetica is a fancy-pants term for acne (not Acne Vulgaris, mind you) caused by comedogenic cosmetic products (i.e. oil-based cosmetics).

Occupational acne is, again, a type of acne (still not Acne Vulgaris) caused by individuals being exposed to certain chemicals or materials in their workplace.