The 5 Most Common Types of Acne and How to Prevent Them

Striving for clear skin can feel like an uphill battle. Before reaching for spot-treatments or multi-step regimens, it's important to begin with the proper knowledge. Your first defense against a bad breakout is understanding the type of acne you're dealing with so you can eliminate it correctly and effectively. To help you identify your specific type of acne, Dermatologist Dr. Robert M. Miller of Long Beach, California has compiled a list of the five most common types of acne and tips on how to prevent them.


The 5 Most Common Types of Acne

Like their name suggests, whiteheads commonly appear as small blemishes with whitish tops or "heads." These blemishes fall under the comedone category, meaning they form as small bumps with a completely closed, clogged pore. Whiteheads often occur when the follicle gets blocked with excess sebum and dead skin cells. When there's a build-up of natural oil, your pores are more likely to clog, leading to a breakout. These can occur on the face, neck, and back.

Similar to whiteheads, blackheads are also classified as a comedone but are open rather than closed. These are also easy to identify given their black, dot-like appearance, which occurs when the excess oil and dead skin within the clogged pore becomes oxidized to the open air. Blackheads commonly form on the nose and the surrounding area, and on the chin.

Also categorized as a comedone, papules are whiteheads that have become inflamed and further irritated. With papules, there is no visible pore and an absence of pus. The blemish presents itself as a hard, small-to-medium sized red bump. It's important that you do not squeeze or agitate papules under any circumstances—since these blemishes are closed and don't contain pus, you'll just be forcing the excess oil and bacteria deeper into the skin, possibly causing even more damage. It's best if these types of blemishes are addressed with the help of a professional. If you're dealing with unsightly papules and would like to consult a dermatologist, contact Dr. Robert Miller.

Pustules are similar to papules but contain pus, resulting in their whitish, yellowish center. They're usually medium-sized bumps that can be painful to the touch. These are usually what comes to mind when people think of unsightly zits. While it can be tempting to try and extract them yourself, it's imperative that you avoid irritating them further; pustules that have been improperly cared for are more likely to lead to post-breakout scarring. If you'd like to meet with a dermatologist to discuss treatment plans to address pustules and minimize scarring, contact Dr. Robert Miller today.

Severe Acne:
If you have painful bumps under the skin's surface, you may be suffering from either nodules or cysts, both of which are severe types of acne. Nodules affect larger areas of the skin, like the back or chest, but can show up on the face as well. They oftentimes feel like hard knots beneath the skin, and rarely come up to the surface. Similarly, cystic acne affects deep layers of the skin but contains pus and can feel soft to the touch. These aren't any less painful though, and shouldn't be agitated further by picking or squeezing. For both nodules and cystic acne, icing the affected area after washing and moisturizing can help reduce redness and inflammation. If you're interested in speaking with a dermatologist about what you can do to clear your skin, contact dermatologist Dr. Robert Miller today.


Preventative Tips:

Below are some healthy habits that are easy to integrate into your daily routine that may reduce your chances of clogged pores. However, visiting a dermatologist is the best way to receive individualized solutions and tips to prevent your specific type of acne. If you're interested in learning more, contact Dr. Robert Miller.

Twice-Daily Cleansing:
Washing your face morning and night can cleanse away the excess sebum and dead skin before a build-up occurs. Just make sure to use a gentle cleanser and moisturize afterwards—a lack of hydration can cause your skin to develop even more oil, which is another common cause of breakouts.

Keep Your Hands Away:
We've already mentioned the dangers of improper care and extraction, but you're more susceptible to breakouts if you habitually touch your face. Our hands come in contact with bacteria hotspots throughout the day, making them carriers for potentially irritating germs. Keeping our hands clean and away from our faces is an easy way to stop the spread of bacteria from leading to breakouts.

Change Your Pillowcase often:
Accumulated dirt, grime, and bacteria from the environment that has stuck to your hair and skin can get caught in the cotton fibers of your pillowcase and can contribute to your breakouts. Make sure to launder regularly so these irritants aren't transferred back to your skin.

Consult a dermatologist like Dr. Robert Miller of Long Beach, CA for the skin care plan that’s best for you. To make an appointment click here.

By identifying the kind of acne you may be suffering from, you have a better chance of managing breakouts by using the correct treatment. While this may reduce symptoms, it's important to remember that all skin types are different, and it's best to consult a dermatologist to create a plan that will be most successful for your specific skin type and acne. Make an appointment with dermatologist Dr. Robert Miller today to learn more about how you can achieve clear skin.