As the most common skin condition in the United States, it’s safe to say that acne has affected just about everyone at some point in their lives, whether it’s a pimple here and there or more severe outbreaks. To properly treat acne, it’s important to know the difference between the various types of acne and what you can do to minimize their effects.
1. Inflammatory Acne
This is probably the type that comes to mind when you think of acne. It’s characterized by red spots, pus bumps, and whiteheads and blackheads, and usually pops up as your body’s inflammatory response to clogged pores. Sticking to a routine of washing your face twice every day can help control these outbreaks, but prescriptions medications are often also needed.
2. Comedonal Acne
Comedonal acne is almost entirely caused by clogged pores. If you notice small bumps all over your skin, you’re probably dealing with this type. To help manage it, wash your face with products that contain exfoliants such as salicylic acid to remove any buildup, like Neutrogena® Oil-Free Acne Wash. Prescription topical retinoids can also be very effective.
3. Hormonal-Onset Acne
This type of acne usually occurs in women in their 20s and 30s and is caused by a drop in estrogen levels, often coinciding with changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle. To treat hormonal-onset acne, your dermatologist may prescribe medications like birth control pills or testosterone blockers.
4. Cystic Acne
Cystic acne is the most severe type and should be treated early on, as it can scar the skin. Your dermatologist may prescribe you oral antibiotics plus topical medications, and some people may even require isotretinoin (AccutaneTM). Although it requires a commitment, isotretinoin can have lasting effects and may prevent cystic acne from occurring again.
No matter which type of acne you’re dealing with, it’s always a good idea to consult your dermatologist to determine what acne treatment may be best for you to keep your skin looking and feeling clean and healthy.