Types of Acne

Non-inflammatory & Inflammatory

The source of all acne manifestations is a hair follicle clogged with oil and bacteria. The follicular part of hair is under the skin, and as your skin continues to produce oil the area becomes irritated as it fills up. Bacteria grow, as does the amount of white blood cells sent by your body to fight it. This situation presents as one of two types of acne: non-inflammatory or inflammatory. These two broad categories only indicate how the built up materials show at the skin level.

Whiteheads and blackheads are grouped in the non-inflammatory types of acne. They both are termed as comedones. A whitehead is a closed comedo and remains under the surface of the skin. It looks like a small white bump. A blackhead, on the other hand, is termed an open comedo because it comes through the surface of the skin. It turns dark due to the interaction of your skin’s melanin and the air. The dark appearance is not dirt and cannot be washed off. Both non-inflammatory types can remain in the skin for long periods of time. A rupture in the follicle wall can turn them into one of the inflammatory presentations.

There are four subcategories of inflammatory types of acne. These are classified according to degree of severity. The least serious of these is the papule that appears as a pink bump just under the skin. The follicular wall ruptures and blood rushes into the area. The next level is the pustule. They appear with white or yellowish centers and are commonly referred to as zits or pimples. The next group is termed nodules or cysts and can be quite painful. They contain larger amounts of pus from your immune system, and can last for months. The final category is called acne conglobata and can contain severe bacterial infection.

Acne appears mostly on the face and neck for the largest number of people. It is possible to have one or more of the six presentations on the back, chest and buttocks. Generally beginning in the teenage years, it usually fades in the early twenties. Regardless of the types of acne you may have, it is important to leave the eruptions alone. Attempting to rid your skin of zits or pimples by forcing them out can possibly make the situation worse. Remember that your skin is trying to heal, and forcing it can slow the process.