Acne is not a skin problem that appears only when you are a teen but it can often appear during early or late adulthood as well. Whatever is your age, it is always good to have some general knowledge of the different types of acne so you can try to deal with it as early as possible.
The reason is that there are milder types of acne and more severe ones, so knowing what type of acne you have can help you save time that can be used to effectively treat the problem.
First, let’s have a look at what is beneath your skin and how acne is formed. Then, we will check on the different types of acne and the solutions for an effective treatment.
How is Acne Formed?
Have you ever wondered what is under your skin? It might not seem very interesting but whatever there is there plays a crucial role to how your skin looks on the outside.
Under the skin there is connective tissue. In the connective tissue, there are blood vessels, nerve fibers, sebaceous and sweat glands as well as follicles.
Starting from the base of each follicle and continuing through the pores the long journey of the sweat, hair, and sebum begins and then ends at the surface of the skin.
So, if you have a normal type of skin, you don´t have any problem since the sebum secrets to the surface while the oxygen that penetrates through the pores prevents the excessive growth of bacteria. The dead skin cells shed at a normal rate and that is how the skin remains clear, bright and smooth.
But what happens with the oily acne prone types of skin?
- The sebaceous glands are overactive and therefore produce more than the normal amount of sebum.
- The excessive sebum gets blocked inside the pores.
- When the sebum production is increased, the dead skin cells cling to the sebum.
- The sebum and the dead skin cells block the skin pores.
- The overproduction of sebum in combination with the lack of oxygen in the pores encourage the multiplication of the ¨Propionibacterium acnes¨, a bacteria that, according to the ¨Wikipedia¨, can be found on most people´s healthy skin and is linked to acne.
Different Signs of Acne
Comedones (Whiteheads and Blackheads) Whiteheads and blackheads is a mild or non inflammatory type of acne. On the one hand, whiteheads are closed comedones that are produced when the follicles are blocked under the skin together with sebum and dead skin cells. On the other hand, blackheads are open comedones which are black because sebum and dead skin cells become oxidized. So, while whiteheads are under the surface of the skin, blackheads appear on the surface of the skin.
Papules- If a whitehead does not get treated and the sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells have led to inflammation, then papules appear which can be identified by their swelling and redness. Papules are small to medium sized and they don´t have pus.
Pustules- Pustules are like papules but the difference is that they have pus at the top. They are signs of moderate acne and they can be painful when you touch them. It´s important not to squeeze them but treat them until they become whiteheads again and then it is easier for you even to extract them.
Nodules- They are big painful lumps under the skin and are signs of a severe form of acne. If they are left untreated, they can lead to acne scars.
Cysts- Cysts are also signs of the most difficult, severe and deep forms of acne. They are formed by comedones, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts, scars and are often accompanied by excessive seborrhea. Apart from the face, cystic acne can also appear on the back and the chest.
How to Deal with Mild, Moderate and Severe Acne
The treatment that has to be followed in the case of acne depends on the actual type of acne one has.
Treatments for acne fight inflammation, control the sebum and release the sebum that is blocked. So, let´s see what the right treatment for every type of acne is.
In this type of acne, good cleansing and effective exfoliation with specialized products is the best way to go. AHA and BHA Acids are perfect for exfoliating your skin effectively and removing dead skin cells.
While AHA acids work more on the surface of the skin, BHA acids penetrate deeper, so the combination of the two provides a better treatment.
When, it comes to moisturizing, go for non comedogenic moisturizers and oil free formulas.
This type of acne appears mainly on the face, nose, forehead, chin or cheeks and can occasionally appear on the chest or back.
Ingredients that have been proven effective for moderate acne is Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. Salicylic Acid goes deep into the skin to clean the pores by releasing sebum and bacteria while at the same time removing dead skin cells.
Apart from its strong sebum releasing properties, Benzoyl Peroxide also controls the sebum production. Still, if after using over the counter Benzoyl Peroxide Products or a good Salicylic Acid Face Wash, your acne does not subside, then it´s time for some advice by a dermatologist.
Cystic Acne is the most serious form of acne. Apart from the face, Cystic Acne signs appear on the back, chest, shoulders as well as arms and need a specialized treatment by a dermatologist who might prescribe some retinoids.
In conclusion, knowing about the different types of acne will help you to better understand the acne problem you are facing and find more effective solutions to deal with it.