What Are The 7 Most Common Types of Acne

What Are The 7 Most Common Types of Acne

The 7 most common types of acne are: blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, cysts and hormonal acne.

What is Acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by the appearance of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of blemishes on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders. It can occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

Acne can be caused by a variety of factors such as hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy, genetics, stress levels, diet and lifestyle choices.

While acne is most commonly associated with adolescence due to hormonal changes during puberty, it can affect people of all ages.

Genetics may also play a role in determining who is more likely to develop acne.

Determining Your Acne Type For Improved Treatment


Whiteheads are a type of acne that develops when pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Unlike blackheads, which have an open pore that allows the contents to oxidize and turn black, whiteheads are closed off from the air. This causes the contents to remain white or flesh-colored and gives them their name.

Whiteheads typically form on oily areas of the face such as the forehead, nose, and chin. They can also appear on other parts of the body like the back and chest. If left untreated, whiteheads can lead to more severe forms of acne like cystic acne.

To prevent whiteheads from forming in the first place, it’s important to maintain a consistent skincare routine including regular cleansing and exfoliation. Additionally, avoiding pore-clogging products like heavy makeup and greasy hair products is key. If you do develop whiteheads or other types of acne, there are many over-the-counter treatments available such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.


Blackheads are one of the most common types of acne. They are formed when oil and dead skin cells clog hair follicles on the skin. The black color comes from melanin that is oxidized by air exposure, giving it its distinctive appearance.

Blackheads are often found on the face, particularly around the nose, chin, and forehead. They can also appear on other areas of the body such as the chest and back. While they may not be as inflamed or painful as other forms of acne, they can still be frustrating to deal with.

To prevent blackheads from forming, it is important to keep your skin clean and exfoliated regularly. This helps remove dead skin cells that can contribute to clogged pores. Additionally, using non-comedogenic skincare products (products that don’t clog pores) can help minimize your risk for developing blackheads in the first place.


Papules look like small, pink bumps on the skin’s surface and can be painful to the touch. Papules form when there is a build-up of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells in hair follicles.

Papules are often confused with other types of acne such as pustules or cysts. However, unlike pustules, they do not contain pus. Additionally, they are smaller than cysts and usually appear in clusters rather than individually.

One effective way to treat papules is by incorporating salicylic acid into your skincare routine. Salicylic acid helps to exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause papules to form. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce redness and swelling associated with these pesky pimples.


These inflamed pimples are typically filled with pus, which gives them their characteristic yellow or white color. They can be painful to the touch and may leave behind scars if not treated properly.

Pustules develop when bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil clog up hair follicles in the skin. This causes inflammation, which leads to the formation of a pimple. Pustules often appear on the face, chest, and back but can occur anywhere on the body.

To treat pustules effectively, it’s important to keep your skin clean and avoid picking at pimples. Over-the-counter acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help clear up pustules, as can prescription-strength topical or oral medications prescribed by a dermatologist. In severe cases, laser therapy or other medical procedures may be necessary to treat stubborn pustular acne.


Nodules are a severe form of acne that develop deep within the skin. They are typically painful and can take weeks or even months to go away. Nodules appear as large, inflamed bumps that may be red or purple in color. Unlike other types of acne, they do not have a whitehead or blackhead on the surface.

Nodules occur when the hair follicles become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This leads to inflammation and infection within the hair follicle. Nodules can also result from hormonal imbalances or genetics. If left untreated, nodular acne can lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Treatment for nodular acne usually involves prescription medications such as isotretinoin, oral antibiotics, or corticosteroids. In some cases, drainage procedures may also be necessary to relieve pain and reduce swelling. It is important to seek medical advice if you suspect you have nodular acne in order to prevent long-term damage to your skin.


One of the most common types of acne is cystic acne. Cysts are large, painful bumps that can be filled with pus and appear red or purple in color. They usually occur when the hair follicle becomes clogged and infected, causing inflammation deep within the skin. Cystic acne is more likely to leave scars than other forms of acne because it affects deeper layers of tissue.

Cysts can also occur as a result of hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty or pregnancy. Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be more prone to cystic acne due to increased levels of androgens in their body. Treatment options for cystic acne include prescription medications like isotretinoin and antibiotics, as well as topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

It’s important to see a dermatologist if you suspect you have cystic acne, as they can help determine the underlying cause and provide effective treatment options. Trying to pop or squeeze a cyst at home can lead to infection and scarring, so it’s best to let a professional handle it. While cysts can be frustrating to deal with, there are many effective treatments available that can help improve your skin’s appearance and reduce your risk for scarring over time.

Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne typically occurs during puberty or menopause. It is caused by an imbalance in hormone levels, specifically an increase in androgens such as testosterone, which leads to overproduction of oil in the skin. This excess oil production can clog hair follicles and cause breakouts.

Hormonal acne often appears on the chin, jawline, and neck areas. It tends to be deep and painful pimples that do not come to a head easily. In some cases, hormonal acne may also cause whiteheads or blackheads.

While hormonal acne can be frustrating to deal with, there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms. For mild cases, topical retinoids or benzoyl peroxide may be effective. More severe cases may require oral medications such as birth control pills or spironolactone to regulate hormones and reduce oil production in the skin.


To conclude, understanding the different types of acne is crucial in determining the best course of treatment. Acne can vary greatly in severity and appearance, so it’s important to know which type you’re dealing with before starting any treatment regimen. Consulting a dermatologist is highly recommended for those struggling with persistent or severe acne.

In addition to seeking professional help, maintaining good hygiene habits and using non-comedogenic skincare products can also help prevent and manage acne. Remember that what works for one person may not work for another, so be patient and persistent in finding the right solution for your skin.

Overall, while dealing with acne can be frustrating and challenging at times, there are effective treatments available and taking steps towards better skin health is always worth the effort.