Types of Acne: Acne, one of the most commonly inflicted skin problems around the world is definitely something we’d like to keep at bay for it is capable of causing considerable damage to the skin. To be able to keep the acne pimples at bay, however, we should understand just what it is and what the types of Acne are. That would surely be the first step in getting the right treatment. Go on and check out our elaborate description of Acne and it’s types before you get yourself treated.
What causes pimples
Pimples of Acne are predominantly caused by dirt that is piled up in them and an excessively oily skin. This is caused by exposure to dirt and not washing the face often enough. But here are a few other reasons that may also be triggering your acne breakouts.
- Foods that you are intolerant to
- Cosmetics that your skin is not taking well
- Contact with some things (like hats or sunglasses) that your skin is responding to
How does Acne spread
Acne is infectious by nature because of the bacteria involved, however, there are other reasons that your pimples can spread faster. Here are some of them.
- Pressing the pimples
- Not attending to the root cause of the acne
- Not washing your face enough
- Hormonal imbalance
what kind of acne do you have
The major kind of Acne, also called as Acne Vulgaris is classified into these three groups in general based on the severity of the disease. Each group has got a different manifestation of skin in the form of blackheads, nodules etc which fall under these categories as has been classified by dermatologists.(1)
Group 1 – Non Inflammatory
Non-inflammatory acne is the milder form of acne which has no big postules or inflammations manifested on the skin. Blackheads and whiteheads fall under this category. These non-inflammatory forms of acne also respond pretty quickly to treatment and can be kept under control with simple treatments. They are also much more common than the more inflammatory form of acne.
The non-inflammatory acne which are not yet manifested as pimples are a result of clogged pores which got clogged by dirt and sebum. However, these can be kept at bay by repeated cleaning. These little clogs start off as ‘micromedones’ then become the ‘comedones’ which are then classified as closed and open comedones, i.e, the white and black heads respectively.
From the micromedone to comedone – formation of non-inflammatory acne
Micromedones are the very easrly stages of acne and are microscopic. They can be barely visible to the naked eye. Majorly, these are filled with some sebum and that’s about it. The bacteria ‘Propionibacterium Acnes’ just starts its growth at these micromedones.
When some more dirt acc umulates along with more sebum, it turns into comedones. Comedones are visible and although not infectious or painful, need to be cleaned from time to time just so that they don’t lead to the much worse forms of acne.
Blackheads (open comedones)
An open comedone is a plugged pore that has its outer blackish part exposed as there is no skin protecting is (as in the case of whiteheads). These pores are composed of dirt, dead skin cells and sebum. The bacteria Propionibacterium Acnes is found aplenty although is not at its infectious, dangerous state yet in the case of blackheads. It is in it’s stationary phase and may reach its exponential phase which leads to inflammation. This is however, rare and they never actually reach that stage.
Blackheads need to be kept in check by removing them from time to time with cleansing face washes or other more painful treatments so that they are in control.
Whiteheads (closed comedones)
Whiteheads or closed comedones, much like blackheads are clogged collections of dirt, sebum and dead skin cells that are protruding out of the skin but have a layer of skin covering it. This layer turns white due to oxidization periodically. Much like the blackheads, these whiteheads have a lot of p.acnes bacteria which is in its stationary state. The same methods which are used for blackheads are used to clean the white heads off the skin – cleansing face washes, more painful extractor sticks or in extreme cases, laser treatment.
When treated periodically, they stay in control and do not become inflammatory as it is rare for these bacteria to become exponential in this stage.
What happens to the skin cells when we remove blackheads/whiteheads
When we remove the blackheads or whiteheads by using treatments, the big question arises – just how safe is it and what happens to the skin cells after that. There are two possibilities:
- One is that the skin cells are now cleared of the dirt and the sebum and heal going back to their normal state.
- The other is that they get damaged and form a scar instead. This is not very likely unless we use harsh treatments to remove them.
Group 2 – Inflammatory
Inflammation occurs when these p.acnes bacteria get explosive upon reaching the surface from comedones. This is majorly caused when the bacteria get so high in numbers that they form an inflammation within the pore and thereby damage the pore tissue leading to these types of manifestations on the skin.
A papule is a slightly swollen skin that appears a bit reddish. It is caused by just about anything but in many cases, papules are seen before a pimple finally appears. At the stage of papules, the P.acnes bacteria are explosive and the numerous amount of bacteria that is present underneath the skin is what causes the inflammation.
This can also cause some serious damage to the dermis and epidermis of the skin. At the stage of the papules, the white blood cells of the body also reach the dermis to fight the bacteria which sometimes leads to the inflammation and the redness. It does not appear either black or white as the layer of sebum now goes underneath the cells.
A pustule is an outgrowth of the skin that contains ‘pus’. Since the pus is white in colour, so is the pustule. The pustule consists for the most part of white blood cells (which is what makes it look white) and some dead skin cells along with bacterial reproductive material.
Most pimples may not form pustules while only some do. These pustules are infectious as well and can spread out onto the dermis and the epidermis. They can be mighty itchy and painful with a lines of red skin around it. It is difficult to control the disease without medication once the acne reaches this stage as the bacteria start multiplying in large numbers already.
Nodules are hardened forms of pustules and papules. They are much larger than these two with a lot more amounts of bacteria, their by-products, white blood cells, dirt and sebum all together clogging the pores. They can be quit painful and are visible on the skin. Unless prolonged skin treatments are continuously given, it is difficult to get rid of them and even if we do, they could leave big scars on the face.
Cysts are also hardened pustules which are much like nodules except that they almost always contain pus. They are large and swollen with plenty of pus and can be quite painful like the nodules. Like nodules, they have plenty of bacteria already reproducing in them vigorously so that it can spread through the skin. Cysts too need medical attention for a prolonged time to be cured.
Group 3 – Inflammatory spreading acne
All of these – blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, cysts, papules and pustules together form layers of infected tissue that spreads all over the skin and this collection of pimples, together comes under group 3 – spreading inflammatory acne. Along with Acne Vulgaris and P.Acnes, there are other bacteria as well, all forming a sort of a matrix over the skin.
The basic kind of Acne which has a blend of the nodules, cysts, white heads and blackheads all in the form of thick layers on the skin of the face is called the Acne Vulgaris. Acne Vulgaris definitely needs medical attention.
Acne vulgaris is classified as mild, moderate and severe depending on the number of pimples that are present on the skin and the pain that they cause. Along with the Acne bacteria, in the severe stages, the mite Dermodex is also said to be responsible for Acne. It is most common in young adults with an excessive sebaceous gland production.
Acne Vulgaris is the most common kind of Acne but here are some other less common types of pimples or rash breakouts that can be classified under Acne.
Acne mechanica is the kind of Acne that is caused by excessive pressure on the skin – for instance when you wear something that presses hard over your skin or something that rubs against your skin constantly or exposure to a hot substance as per the research done on it (2) Here are some of the most common causes :
- Equipment that involves tight straps.
- Tight clothing
- Musical instruments that rub constantly against your skin harshly.
This kind of Acne may not be big but it appears as a rash in the form of very tiny pimples making the skin look reddish from the outside. However, if we continue to expose our skin to the cause, it may erupt out into a more violent form of Acne with larger pimples. Avoiding the causes can be a best way to treat Acne mechanica while using natural remedies like aloe vera can cure it in most cases.
Hormonal imbalance sometimes leads to some chemical changes in the skin composition which leads to Acne breakouts. This kind of Acne is more common in young adults while it can be seen throughout the life of women with hormonal changes occurring in their blood.
When you notice Acne breakouts on your skin in relation to hormonal changes, it is best to attend to the hormones to treat this kind of hormonal Acne instead of the pimples in themselves although dermal treatment can give you a temporary relief.
Rosacea, which is a form of a dermatological disease with red spots and sometimes tiny red pimples like nodules and pustules is also called as acne rosacea. Although not as intense as Acne Vulgaris, this is also a kind of acne as it has got pimples as one of its symptoms. Flushing of the face and a general redness is also seen in Acne rosacea which inflicts mostly the patients’ face along with neck, chest and back areas.
Some of the reasons for Acne Rosacea are:
- Sun burn
- A mite demodex
- Immune reactions or allergies to certain conditions
Quick and Easy Natural Remedies for relief from Acne
Here are a few quick home remedies for acne that can get you some instant relief.
Ice – Ice is one of the most commonly used at-home remedies for relief from Acne pain. It not only soothes the pain but also lowers the inflammation and makes sure the blood circulation is increased over the acne inflicted areas.
Aloe Vera gel – An age-old remedy for Acne, aloe vera reduces acne breakouts by soothing the pimple inflicted areas and also acts an anti-bacterial agent. It is also helpful in removing acne-inflicted scars.
Lemon juice – A little bit of lemon juice when dabbed all over the pimples can help curb the infection to a good extent because of the Vitamin C present in it. It also reduces the inflammation.
Baking Soda – Applying a baking soda paste on the pimples can help greatly. It is an exfoliant, which means that it is capable of removing the accumulated dirt and sebum on the skin along with the dead cells layers.
Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil’s anti-bacterial properties help in curbing acne breakouts to a large extent. It is also a soothing in nature easing the pain and lowering the inflammation. Dabbing the oil over the pimples can help, with tea tree tea extract also doing a good job.
Toothpaste – Toothpaste has been a remedy for pimples that has been sworn by a whole lot of people from a long time. Applying toothpaste over pimples and leaving them for a while (overnight, sometimes) can reduce their size to a great extent.
Once you identify the type of Acne you have got, you can now begin treating it. Although it isn’t as easy done as it is said, with enough determination and discipline, Acne is definitely something we can fight and win over.
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