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Types of Acne

Acne is a skin condition that can come in several varieties. The two most common types are whiteheads and blackheads. Other acne types include papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.

Types of Acne: An Overview

Nearly 17 million people in the United States have acne, a common condition that affects the skin's oil glands. The term "acne" simply refers to several pimples occurring together. Although it is not a serious health threat, severe acne can lead to disfiguring, permanent scarring.


There are many kinds of acne. The most common types are:
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Nodules
  • Cysts.
The two most common types of acne are whiteheads and blackheads.

Whiteheads and Blackheads

The basic acne lesion, called the comedo (KOM-e-do), is simply an enlarged and plugged hair follicle. If the plugged follicle, or comedo, stays beneath the skin, it's called a closed comedo and produces a white bump called a whitehead. A comedo that reaches the surface of the skin and opens up is called a blackhead because it looks black on the skin's surface. This black discoloration is not due to dirt. Both whiteheads and blackheads may stay in the skin for a long time.

Other Acne Types

Other troublesome types of acne can develop, including:
  • Papules, which are inflamed lesions that usually appear as small, pink bumps on the skin and can be tender to the touch
  • Pustules (pimples), which are papules topped by pus-filled lesions that may be red at the base
  • Nodules, which are large, painful, solid lesions that are lodged deep within the skin
  • Cysts, which are deep, painful, pus-filled lesions that can cause scarring.

Acne Information

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