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Understanding Different Types of Acne Blemishes

By October 24, 2017May 11th, 2023Acne Treatment, Dermatology

While acne can cause discomfort, lack of confidence, scarring, and other physical and emotional issues, all blemishes are not created equal. Understanding the different types of blemishes can help you identify the underlying causes in order to seek appropriate acne treatment.


These small blemishes are so named because they are characterized by a white bump on the surface of the skin. They occur when hair follicles become clogged with sebum (natural oil) and dead skin cells. When whiteheads become inflamed, they are known as papules. These small bumps are red and swollen but do not have visible pus. When pus develops, these blemishes are known as pustules and may be painful to the touch.

Blackheads (Comedones)

While blackheads are also caused by clogged pores, they look like a small black dot on the surface of the skin. But while whiteheads are closed, blackheads are exposed to the air, which causes the debris in the pore to darken.

Severe Acne

While most people experience whiteheads and blackheads at some point, severe acne consists of large, inflamed blemishes that may last for weeks or months without relief. The main types of severe acne include nodules and cysts. Nodules are hard, painful acne lumps that develop deep within the skin and can take a long time to heal. Cystic acne is considered the most severe type of acne blemish and consists of painful, fluid-filled lumps under the skin that may measure several centimeters in diameter. Severe acne can have long-lasting consequences, including scarring, destruction of healthy skin tissue, as well as a negative impact on self-esteem.

Although simple blackheads and whiteheads can often be treated with specialty skin products, more severe acne requires professional acne treatment. If you’re struggling with acne, trust the care of the experienced dermatologists at The Dermatology Clinic in Baton Rouge. Request an appointment for a skincare consultation online or call us at (225) 769-7546 today.