Acne is the term for the blocked pores, pimples, and deeper lumps that can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. 17 million Americans currently have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the country. It affects mostly teenagers, although adults of any age can have it.
Types of Acne
- Closed comedones ("Whiteheads"): Whiteheads can occur on the surface of the skin and can be caused when the pore is completely blocked, trapping sebum (oil), bacteria, and dead skin cells. The blockage can cause a white appearance on the surface of the skin, hence the name “whitehead.”
- Open comedones (also known as “Blackheads”): Blackheads result from the pore being partially blocked by sebaceous debris composed of dead skin cells, sebum and bacteria. The black color results from oxidization of melanin in the skin. A blackhead tends to be a stable structure and can often take a long time to clear.
- Papules: Papules are the mildest form of inflammatory acne. They occur on the skin as solid, small, but inflamed red bumps that feel tender
- Pustules: Pustules are small round dome shaped lesions with visible white or yellow “centers” of pus.
- Nodules: Nodules are solid, dome-shaped or irregularly shaped lesions that feel like hard bumps right under the skin’s surface an extend into deeper layers of the skin, often causing tissue destruction that results in scarring.
- Cysts: Acne cysts are larger than pustules and appear similar to a nodule except that they are pus filled. Cysts can be painful lesions.