Acne – Types

Last we briefly discussed what causes acne. But there are several types of acne, so today we’re going to look at what some of the different types of acne are and what causes them specifically. Prepare for a lot of terminology, folks. Lots and lots of it.

Blackheads (aka Open Comedones)

When you pore is partially clogged by dead skin cells, this prevents sebum from being released (remember, sebum is the oily stuff usually released from the sebaceous glands and leaves the body through your pores). The sebum then accumulates beneath the epidermis. When sebum is partially released and is exposed to the air, it hardens and turns black  (due to oxidation, for all you science kids).

This type of acne isn’t inflammatory and are often referred to as grade I acne.

Whiteheads (aka Closed Comedones)

These are also non-inflammatory, grade I acne, where there is no way for the sebum or for the bacteria to exit through the pore. This bump in the skin is usually caused by the accumulation of bacteria and sebum due to a closed or narrow pore.

Pimples (Papules)

This type of acne is a grade II inflammatory (red) acne. These develop from whiteheads; when the whitehead becomes really swollen with the mixture of bacteria and sebum, it ruptures (but similar to a leak, not like a balloon popping). This rupture causes the mixture to be released into the dermis. The bacterial contamination leads to your immune response team swooping in and trying to repair the damage while trying to rid the system of the bacterial cells. This immune response leads to the inflammation that we see when get pimples.

Zits (Pustules)

Zits are pretty much a continuation of pimples, where the immune response to also leads to the formation of pus. This pus will then make it’s way back up to the epidermis, which forms a zit. Zits are also considered Grade II acne.

These four are the most common types of acne. There are more severe forms of acne, like nodules (Grade III) and cysts (Grade IV),that are formed by a deep rupture (POP!) of any of the acne types listed above. This rupture causes that mixture of bacterial cells and sebum  to affect more cells in the dermis than in pastules and papules, causing a more severe immune response; this means more swelling and more inflammation (ouchy!)

Next week, we’ll talk about how to treat these bad boys before they become nodules or cysts!

If you have anything you’d like to learn about, hit me up in the comments and I’ll try my best to educate myself and teach you about it! 2013. Types of Acne. <>. April 04, 2013.

Seeley, R.R., Stevens, T.D., and Tate, P. 2008. Anatomy and Physiology (8th ed.). pp. 166. New York: McGraw-Hill.


2 thoughts on “Acne – Types

  1. Pingback: Treating Acne – Natural | Know Your Body and Health

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