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Acne vulgaris is literally common acne, and is the most pervasive medical condition known to humans at this time. There are many different types of acne, but there are six distinct types of acne lesions that are typical of the majority of cases.

Types of Acne Lesions

  • Comedones.Comedones are, essentially, blocked pores. Pores can become clogged with too much sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, and tiny hairs. These clogged pores can be either open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads).

    Blackheads are open to the outside air, which causes the matter in the pore to darken. These comedones do not protrude, but the pore is open to the skin’s surface, exposing the sebum and foreign matter trapped inside to the air. Sebum contains melanin, or skin pigment, which oxidizes and changes color, becoming black or brown.
    Acne Blackheads Treatment
    Whiteheads are closed to the outside, so the matter in the pore remains light-colored. A whitehead is a blocked pore that has accumulated matter. It protrudes from the surface of the skin but is not inflamed, and it has no opening, so the matter inside remains white.

    Acne Whiteheads Treatment

    Comedones are not inflamed, so they aren’t usually painful. These are the most innocuous types of acne lesions.

  • Papules. Papules are different types of acne lesions, in that they are caused by inflamed hair follicles. They appear as raised, irritated bumps on the skin’s surface, but they have no central core, so it is useless and counter-productive to try to squeeze them.

    Acne Papules Treatment

  • Pustules. Pustules are what most people identify as “pimples” or “zits.” They usually appear as inflamed circles with a raised, pus-filled center.
    Acne Pustules Treatment
  • Nodules. Nodules are some of the more severe types of acne lesions. Nodules form deep under the skin’s surface, and are similar to papules, in the fact that they are caused by inflamed hair follicles and have no central core. Nodules feel like hard lumps beneath the skin; they are quite painful to the touch, generally larger than 5mm in size, and need the attention of a dermatologist to avoid significant scarring and recurrence.
    Acne Nodules Treatment
  • Cysts. Cysts are also large, severe acne lesions, similar to nodules. They form deep under the skin’s surface, but they do have a core, which fills with an often foul-smelling pus. Cystic acne is one of the most serious types of acne; the lesions frequently burrow and unite, forming complex, interconnecting lesions that require the care of a dermatologist.
    Acne Cysts Treatment

There are many types of acne, a skin condition that causes various kinds of skin lesions. It is estimated that between 75-60% of all humans experience one or more of the types of acne in their lifetimes; most of that acne being acne vulgaris. Acne vulgaris, in keeping with its name (“common” acne in Latin), is one of the most widespread health problems in the world. Acne vulgaris can be mild (a few lesions every now and then) to severe (major outbreaks of large, painful lesions that persist for extended periods, causing major discomfort and scarring). Although it is most common in adolescents and teenagers, adult acne vulgaris is also quite common.

Acne is caused by several different factors, such as bacterial infection, hormonal imbalances, overactive sebaceous (skin oil) glands, weather, genetics, and hygiene. Although the severity and duration of the various types of acne varies, there are six consistent types of acne lesions, all or some of which are present in all types of acne.

Acne vulgaris is the most common skin condition in the world, striking everyone, regardless of age, race, or status. There are treatment options, whether it is adult acne or teenage acne or one of the more severe types of acne.

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