We all know acne as the unwanted spots on your skin, but what we don’t know is that there is actually a variety of types that may require different treatment. Knowing the difference between each type is crucial in knowing how to solve the problem.

Before you seek treatment, first identify the type of acne you have. Here are the common types of acne that people typically have.

Non-Inflammatory Acne

Non-Inflammatory or comedonal acne is the most common type of acne. Here, there aren’t any big, red, and angry zits, just some blackheads and whiteheads. Like all acne, you can find non-inflammatory acne not just on your face but on your body as well.

They usually congregate in the oiliest parts of your face, especially the T-zone area. They will also appear on your back or chest.

These types of acne are the result of pilosebaceous clogging in the skin.

1) Whiteheads

As its name suggests, whiteheads are small, white bumps that appear just among the trapped dead skin cells and sebum. These typically grow under a layer of skin, although a very thin one. This covers them from the air, giving off white color, much like dead skin cells.

2) Blackheads

Although often getting mixed up, blackheads and whiteheads are very different from each other. They are both forms of non-inflammatory acne. However, blackheads appear darker due to a reaction of oxygen to the trapped skin cells underneath the aforementioned layer of skin. 

This process of oxygen reaction is called oxidation, and it is responsible for making your blackheads appear dark and noticeable.

Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne, on the other hand, is what we commonly perceive to be pimples or acne. As its name suggests, there is an inflammation of the skin that occurs, making angry bumps pop up all over your face and body.

There are four kinds of inflammatory acne, namely papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. 

1) Papules

Papules typically don’t have swelling whiteheads that are present in many of the pimples we love to hate. On average, they can come at a whopping 5mm size. The root cause of this type of acne is dead skin cells clogging the pores, making the inflammation even worse.

2) Pustule

The next type of inflammatory acne is the pustule. Unlike papules, they have a very visible whitehead, which can be tempting to pop out of pure irritation, but it is advised not to do so lest you risk infection.

They can come in a variety of sizes, from 1 mm to 5 mm.

3) Nodules

As opposed to the oozing, poppable pustules, nodules are firm lumps that grow far deeper than a papule. Even with its rigid texture, popping it is inadvisable. As a whole, nodules can feel like an uncomfortable, unwanted visitor on your face.

4) Cysts

Cystic acne is a common type of deep acne that, unlike most, takes a while to go away. They are usually spread across your skin, containing highly inflamed or draining acne nodules. It is largely believed that cystic acne is caused by genetic conditions, or be a result of hormonal issues.

These are the types of acne you usually associate with puberty. 


Acne cannot be generalized into simply being pimples on your face. There are a variety of acne types that you should study in order to find the treatment that suits your acne type. It’s also a good idea to perform preventative measures to stop the spread of acne.

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