Types of Acne: A Dermatologist Explains How to Identify and Treat Your Skin

Augusta Falletta

types of acne

There are few things more frustrating than acne, and the worst part is all of the different types out there. Blackheads need to be treated differently than whiteheads and differently than cystic acne, and when you don’t know which kind of acne you’re dealing with, your skin can get even more irritated, making the issue worse.

We wanted to help break down the different types of acne out there, so we went straight to Dr. Marina Peredo, dermatologist for Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel. Below, Dr. Peredo explains the different types of acne, how to treat them, and even natural remedies to help get rid of your acne.

Beauty High: What are the different types of acne we can get? 

Dr. Marina Peredo: Acne can be classified as mild, moderate, severe or inflammatory/non-inflammatory. Mild or non-inflammatory acne will most likely resemble black or white heads (also known as closed or open commedeons) and moderate to severe acne (inflammatory acne) will consist of more painful, red bumps.

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What’s the best course of action for treating each kind? (Whitehead, blackhead, cystic, etc.) 

When treating non-inflammatory acne, most of the time topical regiments are enough. I usually start patients on some kind of soap, a gentle astringent like Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner and if necessary, a topical prescription Retin A or benzoyl peroxide. Treating inflammatory acne is a similar process, but one should also add an oral antibiotic.

Is any one type of acne worse than the rest? 

Inflammatory can be painful and cause scarring. Really severe cystic acne may require Accutane for period of six months.

Which ingredients should people with acne look for when they’re getting a product? 

When shopping for an OTC product like a wash or a toner you should look for ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid. In spot treatments typically look for ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinol.

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Which ingredients should they avoid? 

If you are having trouble with acne, it’s best to avoid makeup or skincare products with any oils or greasy ingredients. It’s also best to skip a moisturizer altogether, as they can clog the pores and prevent treatment. Using a daily product like Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes will prevent and eliminate excess oil while maintaining skin’s essential moisture balance.

Are there any natural treatments you can recommend? 

There are a few at-home remedies I can recommend. Beat egg whites into foam and put onto the affected area to dry out the blemish. Also, honey mixed with oatmeal can be used as a soothing mask which can soothe irritation. Propolis, a mixture collected by honey bees, can be taken orally or applied topically to similarly soothe irritation. Natural witch hazel can be used as a soothing and non-irritating acne ingredient. Severe acne should not be treated with natural remedies.

Image via Juergen Lenhardt/Getty Images