Types Of Acne: Learn to Tell the Difference

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Acne is no longer considered simply a teenage annoyance. In fact, the mean age of acne patients has increased to 26.5 years. The many types of acne range from severe cases which may leave scars, to more mild conditions, which can still be damaging to your self image.

Understanding the different types of acne is the first step in treatment.

In its simplest form, acne is a red lesion or swelling of the surface of the skin, known as a comedo. This swelling is the result of an enlarged hair follicle that has been clogged with oil and bacteria.

As the skin continues to produce more oil, the bacteria flourish. Because of this, your white blood cells try to fight off the intruders, which results in the surrounding skin becoming more inflamed.

There are a number of types of acne that occur from this process.

The 2 categories of acne are:

Non-Inflammatory Acne

Non-inflammatory acne includes whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads are the common name for a completely clogged and closed comedo. Whiteheads are named for their white appearance and commonly turn into pimples.

Blackheads are very similar but occur when the plug breaks through the surface of the skin, which is why they are known as an open comedo. Although they are black in appearance, it is not because of dirt, but actually from melanin, the skin’s dark pigment.

Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne includes papules, pustules, and cysts.

Papules are a mild form of inflammatory acne and can give the appearance of rough skin. They are very small, pink bumps that can be sensitive to touch.

Pustules are also small, but unlike papules, they are secreted with pus. The inflammation is not caused by bacteria, but normally because of a chemical irritation from the sebum (an oily substance) components like free fatty acids.

Cysts or nodules, are larger and can be very painful and damaging, often leaving scars. They are puss-filled lesions located deep within the skin. Cysts are created when the contents of a comedo spill into the surrounding skin, causing the immune system to respond and produce pus. They are the most severe type of acne and can persist for weeks or months.

To treat both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne, consider using the Perricone MD Skin Clear Treatments, which are ideal for both teenagers and adults.

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34 Comments • Please comment below


  1. interesting… i did not know there are 2 types of acne

  2. Where can I get perricone products online? Would love to try it and see if it work for cystic acne

  3. A 49 year old single female, who would like to see if Perricone can help her become less single … acne at 50 isn’t sexy!

  4. I like to be product tester to try them please. Thanks.

  5. I’m looking forward to my sample. Maybe goodbye Proactive!!!

  6. I have suffered from cystic acne for years and have tried countless products and treatments to try and fix it – nothing has worked. I would love to be able to try the Perricone MD products to finally get my skin back and stop feeling so self conscious about the way I look…

  7. I have had acne since my early teens and it has changed over the years but I have yet to find a product that gives great results without the harsh scrubs that I don’t like. Please pick me to become a tester!

  8. I am 69 years old and my skin problems are primarily change of skin texture, sagging neck and puffiness under eyes. I am lucky I don’t have any wrinkles. I have tried many high end products and have not been thrilled with any of them. I would like to see what you have to offer and test those products.

  9. As a 33 year-old woman with combination skin, Perricone’s Skin Clear Cleanser and Acne Toner both seem like just the products I should try. Sometimes, I feel like I get more acne now, as an adult, than I did as a teenager!

    I would just love to be a product tester for Perricone MD — I would be more than happy to share my honest opinions.

  10. Dr. Perricone, your products are incredible! Everything that I’ve tried, I absolutely adore! You are obviously a man of integrity, that believes in truly delivering high quality products! What a refreshing and incredible reputation you already have with me, as I continue to try products of yours. I admit though, it’s a bit of a challenge for me to afford some of them! I have struggled with skin issues for 35 years–and have seen more good in a few days of usage of your products, then in YEARS of usage of other treatments and products!!! THAT…is amazing! I would be THRILLED to become a tester of ANY product you have produced! Thanks for considering me! ~~ Blessings from a happy gal in Kansas

  11. i would love to become one of your facial product testers!!

  12. Help i have really bad ance i would like to try your products hoping to find something that actually works

  13. I am a 47 year old female who is still breaking out, even though most of my skin is dry! I thought that aging should be graceful, but there’s nothing graceful about wrinkles and blemishes at the same time! I’ve tried just about everything available on the market – however, NOTHING helps with the wrinkles. I’ve been told that nothing actually penetrates the akin or aids in reversing the signs of aging. I would love the opportunity to test your products so I can show
    off blemish free and less wrinkled skin to those
    who keep asking why my 55 year old boyfriend dates such an “old
    lady!” please pick me to try your products! PLEASE!!!

  14. i would love to be a perricone tester. for the last ten years i was a caretaker for both my parents,i neglected myself the stress and and sadness has aged me. i suffered with cystic acne and have scars,now with winkles. with no money this would help me.god bless

  15. I am getting older, 40, and would love to try Perricone brand. I have read a lot of information at the website and your brand sounds very interesting and seems well liked by many. There are so many of your products directed toward needs of skin problems. Your brand sounds very promising !

  16. I’m 26 and amazed I still have acne. This isn’t the sign of “youth” that I want. While my immune system acts like a referee,throwing up a red flag to a perceived problem, I in return sit with swelling and eventual scars. I am a juggler that uses products that have little/to no results. For the love my face and immune system yearns for, I want in!

  17. My skin has been changing, with age and due to being a caregiver for the past several years. I’ve tried the NO FOUNDATION FOUNDATION, and I loved it. I love the natural ingredients used, that’s very important to me. My friends seem to regard me as their resident beauty advisor because they know I’m always on the hunt for the best product. I would relish the opportunity to be a product tester for you. Count on me to be brutally honest with you.

  18. I have never used your product but i would love to try it.I still get a pimple every now and then.would love to be a tester.Thank you!

  19. would love to test the perricone products

  20. Would love to test perricone products!

  21. I just turned 60 although people always say I don’t look it. I try to take care of myself, eat healthy. I have noticed now that my eye area has become more wrinkley and my skin does not seem as firm. I would like to become a tester as I’ve always wanted to keep my skin in the best condition I can. I know genetics have alot to do with things…..but If I can help myself from aging without surgery, so be it! I probably will never go under the knife. I would love to be a tester. Thank You!

  22. I would love to become one of your facial product testers!!

  23. I would like to try your sample products.I am 52 and have dark circles under my eyes and some wrinkles

  24. I am 52 and would like to try your perricone products .Wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes are my major problems

  25. i would LOVE to try your products–I have acne/acne scars that needs to be banished!

  26. My skin would benefit greatly if given the opprotunity to becomea Perricone tester! I am always looking for products to meet my specific needs and concerns (which gets to be quite expensive). So many products have failed and money wasted. I am looking forward to a positive change!

  27. I am also a tester for Good Housekeeping magazine and find it fun as well as loving the free products! I’m unemployed at present after spending 10 years in marketing and package design for a major US company, and know what you would be looking at and looking for as far as comments, design, etc…
    Help out my budget as well as keep me in the loop as far as new products go-I have the time now that I didn’t have before!

  28. For three long years I’ve been trying different stuff.
    Just after i read this post, I become interested and I want to be one.

  29. I am 52 and desperately trying to find something to help with the wrinkles forming on my face and neck. I would love to test Perricone to find out if it would help my skin look younger.

  30. Thanks for the opportunity to brag about your products!! I would love to have the chance to try all of them . . . Have a great day!

  31. I would love to be a Perricone tester…

  32. I didn’t have acne until I turned 29 and I’ve used just about every product such as proactive and it didn’t help. I need a new product to prevent acne, repair acne scars and control breakouts. The acne I get is very painful abd is very deep under my skin surface and it usually becomes infected. I want my beautiful complexon back!

  33. I have tried several products over the years and would love to become a Perricone tester!

  34. I definitely am a fan of NV Perricone products. I have used tinted moisturizer which is wonderful and does not require foundation when using this product. The Olive Oil based moisturizer is so creamy and comforting to “mature” skin. Cleansing and toners are also very effective without feeling “harsh” or “drying” to my skin. I have also used the vitamins after attending a seminar at the Bellevue Square Nordstrom’s in Seattle, WA.
    Now that I am retired, I find the products I like to use cost a little more than my retirement budget can allow, thus, I would find it very exciting to be a Perricone “tester.”
    Thank you for this opportunity.
    Barbara Sainitzer