Various Types of Acne and How to Manage Each One
A pimple is a pimple, right? Not necessarily. Acne actually takes various forms, and how you treat it can be different depending on what kind you have. Here is some information on the basic types of acne and how to treat them.
Whiteheads or Comedos
These are perhaps the least noticeable of the acne types. They are small, white bumps under the skin without redness or pain. They are closed, meaning the material clogging the pore is trapped beneath the skin's surface. It's tempting to squeeze or pick at these, but experts warn that this can introduce unnecessary irritation and open the skin to infection. Here are some tips for treating whiteheads.
* Leave them alone. Don't pick at or squeeze them.
* Wash your skin twice a day with a cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide.
* Moisturize your skin (even if it's oily) with a hypo-allergenic moisturizer. Consider one containing jojoba oil – it's said to help regulate the body's natural oil production.
Blackheads are slightly open, allowing some of the clog to be excreted from the pore. It's this open nature that accounts for the black color – this happens when your skin cells oxidize in the presence of air. Treating blackheads involves the same as above, except it's a good idea to remove the clog with the following suggestions:
* Gentle exfoliation may help remove blackheads.
* Masks or exfoliants that contain salicylic acid tend to be especially effective.
Papules do not have a “head,” but they are red and swollen. Do not squeeze a papule, say experts; that can cause swelling, irritation, and scarring. Attempts to squeeze could force the infection deeper into the skin. Treat papules the way you would whiteheads, but be very gentle and do not rub or scrub or exfoliate the skin.
When you think of a pimple, this is usually what comes to mind – a red bump with a white head that is just begging to be squeezed. If you must squeeze a pustule, medical professionals advise gently poking the white head with a sterilized needle and draining the pus with tissue-covered fingers.
Besides (or instead of) squeezing pustules, you can also follow the tips for treating whiteheads above.
Cysts and Nodules
This type of acne should never be squeezed either, say health professionals. Cysts are painful, red and swollen. In addition to gentle cleansing and skin care, some other tips for treating cysts may include:
* Applying cortisone cream to reduce swelling
* Seeing your dermatologist for a cortisone shot or other steroid treatment
When It's Not Acne
Some skin conditions can mimic acne, such as:
– Rosacea (various types)
– Skin allergies
There are also more severe, unusual types of acne that do not necessarily respond to conventional acne treatment. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you have “typical” acne or something different, your dermatologist should be able to diagnose the condition and prescribe appropriate treatment.
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