What’s Your Acne Type? Learn the Different Symptoms and Take Charge of YOUR Treatment!
When people think of acne, red, irritated bumps often come to mind. What many of us do not know is that there are several types of acne symptoms that fall into different categories. Most people reflexively reach for the pimple cream to zap their zits, or even worse, attempt to squeeze the blemish into oblivion. Take a few minutes to learn about what appears on your complexion, how to avoid making your acne worse and how to take charge of treating your acne in the most effective way.
Acne falls into two groups: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Various types of acne symptoms, such as pimples, blackheads or cysts belong to one of these categories. Here is a closer look at what happens to the body to cause these symptoms, which will also provide insight about the best treatment solutions.
Inflammatory acne. Inflammation is a natural response of the body. Sending white blood cells to attack a foreign agent, a clogged pore becomes inflamed either under or on top of the surface of the skin, which results in acne symptoms.
Types of inflammatory acne include:
- Papules. Small red bumps that typically appear on the face, papules appear when the hair follicle breaks and white blood cells rush in to protect the broken skin. Because the skin is inflamed at this point, the treatment plan is to calm the area, rather than dry. Common temporary treatment remedies include a simple application of hydrocortisone cream, and ice compresses. Papules often lead to pustules, therefore they really need your prompt attention from the moment you notice them. Remember...acne is a manifestation of an internal imbalance of the sebaceous glands and the only way to prevent the acne cascade from escalating is by using a safe and effective internal (systemic) treatment (like AcnEase®) that removes and controls the reasons that cause acne.
- Pustules. Pustule is the medical term for what is commonly referred to as a pimple or zit. When the white blood cells from a papule rise to the surface of the skin, a pustule is formed. To treat pustules, cleansing and drying may help as well as spot treatments. However, if you opt for such temporary measures, select products that contain anti-bacterial sulfur or drying camphor. The real treatment for pustules is an internal solution to remove the reasons behind the inflammation, clogged pores and excess sebum.
- Nodules. A severe form of inflammatory acne, nodules are a type of cystic acne, which form below the skin’s surface, and are often extremely uncomfortable and even painful to the touch. This is often a symptom of hormonal acne. Again, long-term relief may occur only when the hormonal imbalance on the sebaceous glands is contained.
- Cysts. Much like nodules, cysts form below the skin. However, cysts become pus-filled, often resembling boils. Cystic acne is among the hardest to treat with topical solutions, making a systemic regimen such as AcnEase® an attractive and practical solution for those suffering from cysts. While some opt for ice compresses to reduce swelling, others with frequent cystic acne may opt for painful cortisone injections from a dermatologist. Treatments other than AcnEase® do not address the cause of acne, but may temporarily reduce swelling.
The second category of acne is called non-inflammatory acne. Sometimes referred to as comedones, non-inflammatory acne is the result of clogged pores, which do not typically result in redness or swelling. The newest research includes oily skin in this category. Non-inflammatory acne can be less bothersome than inflammatory acne, but this is the stage when it is critical to take control of your skins behavior and the internal reasons behind the issue. Taking early action will prevent more advanced, painful and often more damaging (acne scars and marks) inflammatory acne.
Types of non-inflammatory acne include:
- Whiteheads. Sebum and bacteria clog pores under the skin, leading to the formation of whiteheads. Appearing as small white or even flesh-colored bumps, these closed comedones can sometimes be alleviated with deep cleaning facials, intended to remove impurities, followed by a careful exfoliation routine to keep dead skin cells at bay. Again, this is when you should aggressively find a product that may PREVENT the progression of acne internally.
- Blackheads. Contrary to popular belief, blackheads are not actually trapped dirt, but the result of the oxidation of sebum once the clogged pore has opened and been exposed to air. Since there is no actual dirt or debris to remove, treating blackheads is usually left to preventive measures, such as avoiding the use of pore-clogging makeups or lotions and instead opting for non-comedogenic formulas. Topical retinoids are often prescribed for blackheads but they come with the risk of serious side effects. They might bring temporary improvement but they also dry and sensitize the skin and require that the user adhere to strict sun restrictions and protection.
- Oily skin. The new perspective on acne includes oily skin as acne. It is the first stage of the acne cascade and includes not only shiny skin (ex. running make-up), but also oily and weak hair. Oily skin is not only a nuisance but also an early sign that an acne problem has arrived. Oily skin may be improved with proper skincare and lifestyle changes but it is also a time when a savvy consumer starts a PREVENTIVE acne treatment.
Whatever the type of acne that may appear on your skin, it is always advised to NEVER pick or squeeze at a blemish, as doing so can lead to further infection, and/or scarring.
As you can see, acne starts under the surface of the skin, making treatment with topical solutions alone time consuming and ineffective. The cascade of acne begins with the over-secretion of an oily substance called sebum. Along with dead skin cells, sebum clogs pores and leads to the growth of bacteria. In order to prevent acne, the problem must be treated at its source.
AcnEase® is unique in that it is the only non-prescription medicine that intervenes during the first step in the acne cascade and will also significantly improve oily skin. As each of the above-stated types of acne are affected by this, a systemic solution like AcnEase®, in combination with your current skincare regimen, is an optimal way to achieve long-lasting results, no matter your acne type.
We want to hear from you! What types of symptoms are common for your skin? What are some of your favorite methods of treatment? Tell us in the comments below!