The 8 Types of Acne & How to Treat Them

Acne breakouts is a prevalent pores and skin issue, but did you know there are diverse varieties of breakouts? Dermatologists demonstrate the eight sorts of acne breakouts—and share how best to take care of just about every.

As an individual who has struggled with zits because the age of 14, I’ve occur to study that not all breakouts are created equal. When you picture pimples, you very likely feel of whiteheads or pustules: clogged follicles with a white idea. But there are really several diverse forms of acne beyond your common breakout. 

Why does this make any difference? Diverse kinds of acne breakouts reply to distinctive varieties of treatment. The right way pinpointing what form of breakout you’re working with can enable you get rid of it ASAP. And whilst there are certain solutions that can support acne breakouts in basic (feel: washing your encounter every single working day, applying retinol, and restricting dairy ingestion), selected pimples involve a a lot more nuanced strategy. 

Beneath, dermatologists split down the different varieties of zits and reveal how to handle each 1.

The Distinctive Types of Pimples

different types of acne

Down below, dermatologists identify the diverse varieties of acne—from blackheads to cysts.

Comedonal Pimples

Comedonal acne breakouts refers to the existence of clogged pores, which result in whiteheads and blackheads.


Also recognized as open comedones, blackheads are open pores that get filled with oil. “The oil is then uncovered to air and oxidizes, which would make it seem black,” describes Purvisha Patel, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Tennessee. The greatest way to consider of them is like a “plug” of sebum, aged skin cells, and germs. You may possibly see blackheads on your nose—but they can crop up on other components of your facial area way too.


Whiteheads are pores that have been clogged with oil and useless pores and skin cells. “The pore turns into a white bump, which is witnessed on the skin,” Dr. Patel describes. These are likely to manifest a lot more commonly amongst folks who have oily skin.

Inflammatory Acne breakouts

“Acne can also be inflammatory, which refers to pink bumps recognized as papules or pustules,” suggests Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a board-licensed skin doctor in New York.


A papule is a smaller, lifted bump on the pores and skin. Papules are crimson in shade and swollen from irritation. They are extra painful than whiteheads or blackheads, but they’re generally not as distressing as cysts or nodules. Papules are what you may well imagine of when you have an “unpoppable” pimple. They should not be popped, as that can guide to a lot more swelling and scarring.


Aptly-named, pustules are what you in all probability assume of when you photo a pimple. It is a zit that has arrive to a head with a white, pus-fulled major (cringe, we know). So, what’s the variance concerning a pustule and a whitehead? A whitehead is a clogged pore (also recognised as a hair follicle). A pustule is a clogged follicle that’s inflamed and entire of pus.

Nodulocystic Acne

This time period refers to further cystic breakouts and bumps, in accordance to Dr. Garshick. If you’ve ever seasoned significant, painful bumps that do not rise to the floor of your pores and skin, you have possible dealt with nodulocystic acne breakouts.


Ever felt a pimple forming beneath your skin? Cystic pimples does not generally have a white top—instead, they kind under your complexion (but they are nonetheless crammed with pus). “Cysts are induced by follicular occlusion, bacterial or fungal overgrowth, oil manufacturing, and irritation,” describes Purvisha Patel, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist in Tennesee. “They are likely to sort deep in the hair follicles, commonly appear all over the neck and jaw, and typically really do not have a pustule. They can be unpleasant depending on your inflammatory response.” 


Nodules are yet another type of nodulocystic pimples. They are distinctive from cysts in that they are not stuffed with pus—instead, they commonly have hardened sebum. Alternatively, they type a difficult bump deep in the skin and truly feel distressing at the area. Nodules aren’t usually red. In truth, they can match your skin tone. They do get time to go absent and normally call for intense solutions.

Hormonal Pimples

If you notice that breakouts are inclined to pop up proper around your period, you’re most likely working with zits brought on by hormones. “Hormonal acne worsens throughout the menstrual cycle and influences the lower 50 % of the deal with with deeper, cystic stubborn breakouts,” Dr. Garshick says. “Often all those with hormonal acne breakouts will complain of just one or two further breakouts, but they can linger for a number of weeks.”

Fungal Zits

Irrespective of becoming referred to as acne, fungal zits is not *technically* a classification of acne at all. It is an infection of the hair follicle brought about by an overgrowth of yeast on your pores and skin (as opposed to bacteria that triggers acne breakouts). “It is commonly uncovered on your back, shoulders, and chest and seems and feels like zits,” Dr. Patel suggests. However, it will not respond to traditional acne breakouts treatments—it calls for topical or oral antifungal drugs.

How to Address Acne breakouts By Kind

how to treat acne by type

While diagnosing yourself at residence is tempting, the safest and most efficient way to deal with acne is to see a dermatologist. “It’s most effective to see a derm for further assistance, in particular when you are not having the outcomes you want,” Dr. Patel states. “If zits is not treated correctly it can result in scarring, hyperpigmentation, and disfigurement.” That claimed, these derm-accredited guidelines can help.

Comedonal Acne breakouts

Since comedonal acne breakouts refers to clogged pores, you want to use topicals to help apparent out your pores. “For those with comedonal zits, which includes whiteheads and blackheads, it can support to use salicylic acid, an exfoliating beta-hydroxy acid, and retinoids to enable address the clogged pores,” Dr. Garshick claims. Just be cautious not to overdo the exfoliating, as you could problems your skin barrier (the outermost layer of your skin) and cause even more irritation.

A different choice? Get your blackheads or whiteheads extracted by a skilled, claims Dr. Patel. If you’re hoping to prevent any scarring or hurt to your pores and skin barrier, this is your finest wager. A professional extraction will immediately crystal clear out the pore so your skin can start therapeutic.

Want to give your complexion a strengthen? Consider having HUM’s Each day Cleanse. It’s packed with natural detoxifiers to assist distinct your skin from the inside of out.

Inflammatory Pimples

“While these with inflammatory breakouts can also benefit from applying a retinoid and salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or sulfur are other substances to think about to assist handle the bacterial part and irritation,” Dr. Garshick claims. “In some situations, oral or topical prescriptions could be helpful as properly.” Nourishment is also a element at engage in right here. If you have foodstuff sensitivities or allergic reactions, that would add to inflammatory acne breakouts. Also, a higher-inflammatory eating plan could effect your complexion. Test incorporating anti-inflammatory food items (like berries, leafy greens, and fatty fish) into your eating plan to help.

Nodulocystic Pimples

“Some of the procedure solutions for all those with nodulocystic pimples could involve retinoids and benzoyl peroxide, it is generally proposed to use prescriptions, possibly oral or topical, which might consist of oral antibiotics or isotretinoin or other hormonal focusing on therapies this sort of as spironolactone or oral contraceptive pills,” Dr. Garshick says.

Hormonal Acne breakouts

When someone notices breakouts about their period of time or suspects a hormonal ingredient, it can be valuable to look at hormonal therapies like spironolactone or oral contraceptive drugs. You can also help a crystal clear complexion by incorporating hormone-balancing foodstuff (these types of as eggs, fatty fish, leafy greens, avocados, and nuts). Or, consider having HUM’s Moody Hen, which is made with a potent organic blend to help nutritious hormone balance.

Fungal Acne breakouts

Because fungal zits is an overgrowth of yeast as a substitute of microbes, it necessitates antifungal therapies. “Exfoliating Washes with sulfur, zinc tea tree oil, ketoconazole, and selenium sulfide that kill the fungal organism enable,” Dr. Patel says. She provides that an exfoliating entire body wash can support (Visha Skincare Prime2Toe has bakuchiol, zinc, and tea tree oil to assistance with fungal acne).

The Takeaway

There are a number of diverse kinds of pimples, and every 1 requires various treatment plans. That is why familiarizing your self with the different forms of acne breakouts is valuable. But bear in mind that your best bet is to see a skilled. “Because acne breakouts can lead to scarring, it is essential to address early and to stay clear of executing something that can exacerbate or worsen the scarring as that can be a great deal tougher to deal with,” Dr. Garshick states. “There are a good deal of selections available to deal with pimples but employing too much or employing products improperly can lead to much more skin issues and issues.”

When treatment plans for zits make a difference, life style issues also. Dr. Patel endorses being hydrated (goal to consume at least 6 glasses of water), finding enough snooze (at the very least eight hrs), a multivitamin (HUM Nutrition’s Foundation Regulate is a great possibility), a probiotic (like HUM’s Gut Intuition), and currently being mindful of your dairy and sugar intake.

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