Acne symptoms: Acne Treatment Guide

Acne is often used as an umbrella term to encompass a mixture of spots, bumps, pimples, cysts and scars. These are all classed as symptoms of acne and can be divided into the following two categories:

  • Inflamed acne
  • Non-inflamed acne

Inflamed acne

This type of acne is characterised by angry red, swollen skin which is painful to touch. There will be some irritation and in severe cases, scabs will form over the acne or will ooze sebum and pus.

Inflamed acne varies from mild through to severe. You may be fortunate and only develop the odd swollen pimple whereas others will end up with a face full of inflamed cysts. If these cysts rupture then infection will be spread which can result in acne scars.

This category includes:

  • Cysts: pus filled bumps
  • Blackheads: small, black coloured spots
  • Papules: pink, inflamed spots
  • Nodules: red, inflamed bumps
  • Pustules: pus filled spots

Non-inflamed acne

This is as the name says: this acne is not red or swollen and generally, does not cause any discomfort.

A whitehead is a type of non-inflamed acne. It is similar to a blackhead in terms of size and appearance except for the fact that it has a white top. This is formed when air is unable to access the opening to a sebaceous gland in order to reach the sebum which results in a white spot.

Both inflamed and non-inflamed acne result in a rough textured, greasy skin.

Acne usually occurs on the face but it can develop on areas of the body such as the back, neck, shoulders, chest, arms and legs. This is discussed further in our body acne section.

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