Understanding Different Acne Types And Their Treatments

Acne, a common skin condition found in all age groups, can manifest in a multitude of forms. Understanding these variants is crucial to determine the best treatment options and manage the condition effectively. Today we will delve into the various acne types, among them an often misunderstood and misdiagnoses condition known as Hidradenitis Suppurativa.

Whiteheads and Blackheads

Whiteheads and blackheads are the most common forms of acne and are often the first signs of a breakout. They are essentially clogged pores, appearing as small bumps on the skin. Whiteheads are closed at the surface, while blackheads are exposed to air, oxidizing and turning black. Both can be treated with over-the-counter medications containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Papules and Pustules

Papules and pustules mark a moderate form of acne. Papules are tiny, red, and tender bumps with no apparent head, while pustules are similar but feature a white, pus-filled top. Antibiotics or retinoids are usually used in their treatment.

Nodules and Cysts

Nodular and cystic acne are severe forms, lodged deep within the skin and often painful. Nodules are hard, large, and inflamed bumps without a head, while cysts, also infrequent, are pus-filled and may leave scars. They often necessitate stronger prescription medication, such as isotretinoin, or even a corticosteroid injection.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

A lesser known but a particularly irksome type of acne is Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It is a chronic, reoccurring condition where small, painful lumps form typically in areas where skin rubs together, like the armpits or groin. Over time, these lumps can break open, or worse, form tunnels under the skin. Hidradenitis Suppurativa often appears after puberty and may persist for many years, deeply affecting a person’s life.

Best treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa involves a hybrid approach. While there is no definitive cure, the condition can be managed by various methods like lifestyle changes, medication, and at times, surgical options. Antiseptic soaps, avoiding tight clothes, and gentle exfoliation help minimize friction and subsequent flare-ups. On the medicinal front, antibiotics, oral retinoids, hormonal therapy, or biologics may be prescribed.

In some cases, surgical treatments like local incision and drainage or more extensive surgery may be necessary for symptomatic relief. Those afflicted with severe Hidradenitis Suppurativa should consult with a specialist regularly to determine the most effective treatment strategy.


In essence, acne types range from mild forms like whiteheads to severe ones like Hidradenitis Suppurativa. The right treatment method, be it topical, oral, or surgical, depends on the severity of the condition. Regardless of acne type, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy skincare routine, a balanced diet, and consult a dermatologist for personalized advice.