Which Type of Acne Do You Have?

Acne is a very common skin condition. It affects 50 million people in the United States each year and 85% of people between ages 12 and 24. Adult acne, which affects people in their 30s and 40s, is getting more common with up to 15% of adult women dealing with acne they hoped to have left behind years ago. 

This condition can present itself in different ways, and the methods of treatment can change depending on what kind of acne you have. Even worse, acne can leave lasting scars on your skin if it gets bad enough. 

If you’re looking for reliable acne treatment, you can trust Peach Skin & Laser in Yuma and Tucson, Arizona, for effective, professional techniques to keep your skin looking its best. 

Let’s look at the damage acne does to skin, plus the types of acne and the best ways to treat them.

What does acne do to your skin?

Acne is the result of your pores becoming clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, creating a perfect environment for pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. They usually show up on your face, neck, chest, upper back, and shoulders. 

Acne is often caused by hormonal changes, stress, and certain medications. Other factors, like family history, greasy or oily lotions and creams, and diets high in carbohydrates (bagels, bread and chips) can increase your risk of acne, but contrary to popular belief, it isn’t caused by greasy foods or chocolate.

With bad enough acne, you can find yourself dealing with complications like acne scars (pitted areas of skin) or changes in skin color (lighter or darker). 

What are the different types of acne?

Clogged pores can cause acne to show up in different ways, and it’s possible to have multiple types of acne at the same time. These types can be broken into the following categories:

Non-inflammatory acne

Blackheads and whiteheads are types of acne that don’t cause any swelling on the skin. 

With blackheads, the pore stays open despite being clogged, which results in the black spot you see on the surface of your skin. 

With whiteheads, the pores are closed, resulting in small bumps on your skin. Because whiteheads are in closed pores, they are harder to treat.

Inflammatory acne

Red, swollen pimples are common with inflammatory acne, which can be made worse by bacteria trapped in the clogged pores. This can also cause:

  • Pustules: when the walls of your pores break down and fill with pus
  • Papules: when the pore walls break down, leading to hard, clogged pores
  • Nodules: swollen, clogged pores getting more irritated and growing larger 
  • Cysts: when the combination of oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells form deep in the skin, causing large red or white bumps

How can each type of acne be treated?

It is important to treat each type of acne specifically for best results. 

Non-inflammatory acne is treated with salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid), which is available in over-the-counter or prescription medications to exfoliate your skin and remove dead skin cells. 

Whiteheads may be treated with topical retinoids like adapalene if salicylic acid isn’t enough to penetrate your closed pores.

Inflammatory acne is generally treated with benzoyl-peroxide to reduce swelling and remove bacteria. Isotretinoin (Sotret®) is used to treat nodules and cysts by reducing oil glands in your pores. Cysts may be surgically removed if they are severe enough.

At Peach Skin & Laser, we go beyond the age-old acne solutions by offering cutting-edge acne treatment with the Lumenis® M22 laser. It removes the bacteria, which helps reduce inflammation so your skin can heal.

If you’re dealing with acne, knowing what kind you have will make treatment a lot easier. If you’re ready to be rid of this skin condition, make an appointment today to get clearer skin. 

If you have any questions, please contact us.