Understanding Types of Acne and their Effective Treatment

Understanding Types of Acne and their Effective Treatment

When we wake up one morning to find red, painful bumps, that we term as acne on our face, we are bound to get scared & as dramatic as it sounds, it does feel like the end of the world sometimes. They don’t come with a disclosure or a warning, these tiny troublemakers just sit there, while you have to worry about how you’re going to cover them. But how about, instead of hiding or covering them, you treat them.

Let’s start with basics & understand what exactly is acne, what are its types & how can you potentially treat them.

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when your skin gets clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, leading to the formation of various types of acne. This can erupt as blackheads, whiteheads or pimples.

Understanding the different types of acne and their respective treatment options is crucial for effectively managing and preventing breakouts. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of different types of acne and explore the treatments, with a particular focus on salicylic acid, a popular ingredient known for its effectiveness in combating acne.


Whiteheads are small, closed comedones that appear as white or flesh-colored bumps on the skin's surface. They occur when pores become blocked by excess oil and dead skin cells. Salicylic acid, an ingredient with exfoliating properties, can penetrate the follicles, unclog the pores, and prevent the formation of whiteheads.


Blackheads are small, dark-colored bumps that appear on the skin's surface. They are known as open comedones because the clogged hair follicles are open to the air. The dark color of blackheads is not due to dirt but rather the oxidation of melanin (skin pigment). Blackheads are typically caused by a combination of excess oil (sebum), dead skin cells, and bacteria clogging the pores. Salicylic acid works effectively to dissolve accumulated oil and dead skin cells, helping to unclog the pores and reduce the appearance of blackheads.


Papules are a common manifestation of inflammatory acne. These are small, raised, red bumps on the skin that can be sensitive to touch. These form when the hair follicles become clogged with excess oil (sebum), dead skin cells, and bacteria or when the walls around the pores break down due to inflammation. The combination of these factors triggers an inflammatory response in the skin, leading to the formation of papules. Treatment options for papules typically involve topical medications containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids. These medications help reduce inflammation, unclog pores, and promote the healing of acne lesions.


Pustules are similar to papules but contain a yellow or white tip filled with pus. They develop when the bacteria present in the pores cause an inflammatory response. Salicylic acid helps dry out the pustules and promotes faster healing by exfoliating the affected area and reducing inflammation.


Nodules are large, painful, solid bumps that develop beneath the skin's surface. They result from the build-up of bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells deep within the pores. Nodules often require professional medical intervention, such as prescription medications or dermatological procedures, and salicylic acid may not be as effective for treating this severe form of acne.


Cysts are large, pus-filled, painful lesions that extend deep into the skin. They are the most severe form of acne and can lead to scarring if not treated properly. Cysts typically require medical intervention, including prescription medications, to manage and prevent further complications.

These were the types of acne & their potential treatment for it, but there are a few things that you could do from your end to ensure that you don’t aggravate it any further. When it comes to treating acne, there are certain things you should avoid as they can potentially worsen the condition or cause skin irritation. Here are some don'ts of treating acne.

Do not pick or pop your pimples:

Picking or popping acne can introduce bacteria into the skin, that can lead to inflammation, and increase the risk of scarring. It's best to let acne heal naturally or seek professional help for extraction.

Do not scrub your face vigorously: 

Scrubbing your face aggressively can irritate the skin, disrupt its natural barrier, and worsen acne. Use a gentle cleanser and wash your face with soft, circular motions.

Do not use greasy or pore-clogging products: 

Avoid heavy, oil-based cosmetics that can clog your pores and worsen acne. Look for products labeled as "non-comedogenic" or "oil-free" to minimize the risk of pore blockage. Lightweight serums with actives like Salicylic Acid, work well on easing acne out.

Do not rely solely on home remedies:

It's better to consult a dermatologist or use products that are dermatologically tested, rather than simply testing home remedies. Some home remedies may not be suitable for your skin type or could interact with other acne treatments.

Now that you know the different kinds of acne, just have a look at your skin. Is it filled with blackheads or do you have cystic acne? You can now answer these questions yourself & treat it accordingly. Treating acne can be a constant struggle for a lot of people & even though it might feel like the end of the world, it’s really not. A few changes in diet & lifestyle can help a lot. 

It’s important to note that you build a skincare routine around your skin & its issues, because it differs dramatically. Focus on your personal skin concerns & customize a routine that’s fit for you. And we can certainly help with that, just by talking a couple of minutes & asking you to take a 2-step skin quiz, where you tell us about your skin concerns & leave the rest to us.

Customizing skincare has never been this easy, won’t you agree?

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