Acne is like an uninvited guest—we don’t want it, it sprouts up without warning and takes forever to leave. It is one of the most common skin conditions, yet one of the most difficult to cure. In this piece, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of identifying the type of acne you have and some simple treatments.
How Is Acne Formed, Really?
Basically, these zits result from increased production of natural oils a.k.a sebum. When this sebum joins hands with bacteria, dirt and dead skin cells, it blocks the pores. The result is that which we all dread—acne.
What Are The Different Types Of Acne?
We’ve done the homework for you. Depending on the severity, acne can be of 6 different types, and here are simple ways of identification:
The following two types of acne do not result in swelling and inflammation. This is because bacteria aren’t part of the picture.
- Blackheads: Small black bumps on the skin—think black strawberry dots. In this case, the outer layer of the pore is open. Due to contact with oxygen, oil and dead cells undergo oxidation and turn black. Think of oxidation as the reaction that occurs when a cut apple blackens. Most of the time, blackheads are pretty harmless and are commonly seen on the nose.
- Whiteheads: Whiteheads are similar to blackheads in terms of their makeup and formation. However, as the name suggests, they’re white in colour. This is because the pores are completely closed and oxidation doesn’t occur. These small white bumps are generally seen chilling around the eyes, nose, and chin.
Inflammatory acne is the work of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. This type of acne is way more severe, and in some cases, painful.
- Papules: Meet papules—inflamed and infected pimples that look reddish and feel rough. They develop when the walls surrounding the pores are ruptured. Papules are a moderate type of acne and particularly appear on the face.
- Pustules: Several people confuse pustules for whiteheads. However, pustules are much larger, more tender and filled with pus. While pustules commonly appear on the face and neck, sweaty areas like the chest, the armpits and the pubic area are also highly vulnerable.
- Nodules: Caused by tissue and cell damage, nodules are rooted deeper in the skin. They are much bigger in size and don’t often have a visible centre. Moreover, nodules are reddish or flesh-coloured and could be painful.
- Cysts: The most severe of all—cysts are huge, angry-looking pimples that are filled with pus and blood. They differ from pustules as cysts are way larger and painful. The ickiest characteristic of cystic acne, perhaps, is its immortality—it tends to reoccur. Yikes!
Does Acne Require Medical Attention?
Acne is common and in mild to moderate cases, you need not see a doctor. However, you must seek medical attention if your acne is too painful and hampering your daily life.
Simple Ways To Prevent And Cure Acne
To prevent acne from plaguing your life, do your skin a favour and keep it clean. Wash your face twice daily with a deep cleansing face wash that keeps the bacteria at bay.
Switch to an anti-acne diet
This would involve doing away with foods that stimulate oil production. So, swallow your cravings and fill your pantry with skin-friendly choices like tomatoes, berries, leafy vegetables, brown rice, salmon and nuts.
Keep your hands off your face
Touching your face is second nature and it is tough breaking habits. However, touching your face is the #1 cause for the spread of dirt and bacteria on your face.
No pimple popping
As far as pimple popping goes, it’s a big no-no! It’ll only worsen your acne by making it more noticeable and painful.
There’s no denying that acne can be a major downer. However, making simple lifestyle changes and following the right skincare rituals can set your skin to rights. Try it!