Those who have experienced acne know that the quicker the diagnosis, the quicker the pimple treatment gets to work. When your acne is diagnosed by a dermatologist, they’ll categorise it into one of two types: inflammatory or non-inflammatory. Each type needs to be treated differently.
Know Your Spots: How to Get Rid of Acne
Before you can begin pimple treatment, it’s important to first know the kind of spot you’re dealing with.
Acne is mainly categorised into two groups: non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne
Non-inflammatory acne (also known as comedonal) is milder than inflammatory acne. It will usually appear as blackheads or whiteheads on the forehead, nose and chin. It’s usually caused by the oil on the skin (sebum) blocking the pores.
Inflammatory acne is when blackheads and whiteheads have been infected with bacteria and become inflamed. The inflammation under the skin causes papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.
Below we’ll cover the different types of inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne and the best way to clear each one.
What Are Whiteheads? (Comedones)
Whiteheads are a type of non-inflammatory acne that are usually caused by blocked pores in hair follicles. They’re a combination of sebum and dead skin cells that build up below the skin’s surface. Those tiny, painless bumps on your nose? They’re whiteheads
How to Get Rid of Whiteheads
The good news is, whiteheads are really easy to treat. However, as they’re usually the first sign that a breakout is on the way, it’s best to act fast. Keep your face clean, and your hands away from your skin. The important thing to do is not to add more dirt and bacteria to the affected area. Keeping your skin as clean as possible is the best pimple treatment in this instance.
What Are Blackheads? (Comedones)
When the closed plugged pores of whiteheads come in contact with outside air, they oxidise and turn a blackish colour, forming blackheads. This means that blackheads are really whiteheads – a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells – after they get exposed to air.
Whiteheads and blackheads are caused by plugged pores and are non-inflammatory.
How to Get Rid of Blackheads
First and foremost, don’t touch them. The oil and dirt from your hands are full of bacteria, which can go into the blackheads, potentially making things worse. Make sure you wash your pillowcases regularly to keep them clear of dead skin cells.
What Are Papules?
A type of inflammatory acne, papules are small, red bumps on your skin that are tender to touch. They can get as big as one centimetre across. When papules get infected with bacteria, they form pimples on your face.
How to Get Rid of Papules
Stick to the cleansing routine that works for you, but don’t wash your face too often. Over-washing can strip your skin of its natural oils, potentially making your pimples worse. Sometimes the simplest pimple treatment is the best.
What Are Pustules?
Pustules are an inflammatory form of acne, caused by sebum that’s blocked by a clogged pore. Sebum sits below the skin and is meant to stop it drying out, but when it’s trapped, it creates acne.
Pustules appear as red spots with white or yellow tips, which are full of puss. They can be very painful, and make you feel self-conscious. They’re also very common – you’re not alone.
How to Get Rid of Pustules
Don’t pop them! It’s tempting, we know. But popping a pimple can cause scarring and potentially further inflammation. Repeatedly touching the pimple may damage the skin, making it look much worse.
Instead, keep the area clean, by using a gentle cleanser twice a day. A washcloth risks further irritation so use your fingertips instead.
What Are Nodules?
Nodules are large, solid, inflamed and painful lumps beneath the surface of your skin. When bacteria enters the open plugged pores of your blackheads, the pores get infected. To contain the infection, the skin becomes inflamed on the inside and nodules appear on the outside. Nodules can take a while to disappear.
How to Get Rid of Nodules
If you have nodules, you should see a dermatologist. They will be able to recommend the best treatment for you.
What Are Cystic Lesions?
Cystic lesions are pus-filled lumps that are red, swollen and painful, and sit beneath the surface of your skin. Cystic lesions are another type of inflamed acne caused by bacteria, just like nodules. While nodules are big, hard lumps, cystic lesions are pus-filled and feel like fluid-filled sacs.
Papules, pustules, nodules and cysts are inflammatory.
How to Get Rid of Cystic Lesions
Cystic lesions are particularly nasty. These are another form of acne that a dermatologist can help you with.