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What Type of Acne Do I Have and How do I Get Rid of it?



Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages, genders, and skin types. It is caused by an overproduction of sebum, which clogs pores and leads to the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of acne and how to get rid of them, especially since dermatology appointment wait times can be long (MGH is booking for 6 months out!!) and spring break is coming up!

  1. Whiteheads: Whiteheads are small, white bumps that occur when pores become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. To get rid of whiteheads, you can try using a gentle exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. You can also use over-the-counter acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help dry out the whiteheads and reduce inflammation.

  2. Blackheads: Blackheads are similar to whiteheads, but they appear as small, dark spots on the skin. They occur when sebum and dead skin cells build up in the pore and oxidize, turning black. To get rid of blackheads, you can use a gentle exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. You can also try using pore strips, which can help to pull out the blackheads.

  3. Papules: Papules are small, red, raised bumps that occur when pores become inflamed. To get rid of papules, you can use over-the-counter acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help reduce inflammation and dry out the papules. You should avoid picking or squeezing the papules, as this can cause scarring and further inflammation.

  4. Pustules: Pustules are similar to papules, but they contain pus. To get rid of pustules, you can use over-the-counter acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help dry out the pustules and reduce inflammation. You should avoid picking or squeezing the pustules, as this can cause scarring and further inflammation.

  5. Nodules: Nodules are large, painful bumps that occur deep beneath the surface of the skin. They can be difficult to get rid of and often require treatment by a dermatologist. Your dermatologist may recommend prescription acne medication, such as isotretinoin, to help shrink the nodules and reduce inflammation.

  6. Cysts: Cysts are large, painful bumps that are filled with pus. Like nodules, they can be difficult to get rid of and often require treatment by a dermatologist. Your dermatologist may recommend draining the cyst or injecting it with corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation.

In addition to these treatments, there are several things you can do to help prevent acne from occurring in the first place. These include washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, avoiding picking or squeezing pimples, and avoiding touching your face with your hands. You should also avoid using oily or greasy hair products, as these can contribute to the formation of acne. Azelaic acid is extremely helpful for preventing hyperpigmentation.


In conclusion, there are several types of acne, each requiring a different approach to treatment. If you are struggling with acne, it is important to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment for your individual case. With proper care and treatment, however, most cases of acne can be successfully managed.

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