Acne is a skin problem that occurs when hair follicles or where hair grows are clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne is characterized by the appearance of spots on several parts of the body, such as the face, neck, back, and chest.

Acne Symptoms

Acne is characterized by the appearance of several common symptoms, such as:

·       Red or yellow bumps (because they contain pus).

·       Small bumps (papules) that appear on the skin.

·       A burning or burning sensation due to inflammation.

·       There is itching in the lump.

There are 6 types of acne you need to know

§  Non-Inflammatory Acne


Non-inflammatory acne or better known as comedones is further divided into two types, namely blackheads and whiteheads. This type of acne does not cause swelling and is relatively easy to treat. Non-inflammatory acne usually responds well to salicylic acid. This ingredient naturally exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells that can cause blackheads. Well, here are the differences between blackheads and whiteheads.

1.     Blackheads (Black comedones)

Blackheads occur when the pores are clogged by a combination of sebum and dead skin cells. The top of the pore remains open, even though the rest is clogged. This results in a characteristic black color that is visible on the surface.

2.     Whiteheads (White comedones)

Whiteheads can form when pores become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. Unlike blackheads, the top of the pore remains closed. This blockage tends to cover the entire top surface of the pore so that the appearance of the pimple will look like a small white bump. For this reason, whiteheads are also known as closed comedones.

Causes of Blackheads and Whiteheads

There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of blackheads appearing on the skin, including:

·       Irritation of hair follicles

·       Excessive oil production

·       Accumulation of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria on the skin

·       Hormonal changes, for example during menstruation or as a result of taking birth control pills or certain drugs

How to Overcome Blackheads and Whiteheads

·       Use products that contain salicylic acid, AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), Benzoyl Peroxide

·       Use retinoid creams and lotions

·       Do chemical peels regularly

·       Do facial steam

·       Choose mild facial cleansers and cosmetics labeled as 'non-comedogenic' or 'oil free'

·       Avoid squeezing blackheads

·       Clean the skin carefully


§  Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is characterized by red, swollen bumps. In addition to the blockage of sebum and dead skin cells, bacteria are the main culprits that cause inflammation. Bacteria can cause acne spots that are painful and difficult to remove. In contrast to non-inflammatory acne, inflammatory acne is more effective when treated with benzoyl peroxide.

3.     Papules

Papular acne is a pimple that stands out, feels solid and painful, looks reddish, and does not contain pus. Papular acne is not a serious condition, but it can interfere with appearance, so many people want this condition to be treated properly.

Causes of Papules Acne

The appearance of acne papules can be caused by various factors that affect the condition of the skin. However, the common causes of papular acne are as follows:

§  Hormonal effects

§  Propionibacterium acnes bacterial infection on the skin surface

§  Excessive oil production on the face

§  Blockage of hair follicles and oil glands

§  Eating too many sweet foods

§  Stress

How to Overcome Papule Acne

Generally, papular acne can be treated with simple home treatments, such as:

·       Clean facial skin regularly

·       Use a facial cleanser that contains Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide

·       Stop the habit of squeezing pimples

·       Avoid using make-up

·       Keeping hair clean

If these methods have not succeeded in overcoming papular acne, you can consult directly with a doctor.

4.     Pustula

Pustules form when the wall around the pore breaks. Unlike papules, pustules are filled with pus. These bumps come out of the skin and are usually red and have a yellow or white head on top.

What are the signs and symptoms of a pustule?

Pus acne has different signs from other forms of acne and sometimes varies from person to person. However, acne pustules generally cause the following symptoms.

·       There is a large lump that is bigger than a blackhead.

·       The lump is about 5-10 millimeters in diameter.

·       The top of the lump is white, like a closed comedo.

·       The skin around the pimple looks red due to inflammation.

·       Pain when the lump is touched.

·       Appears on the face, neck, back, and even acne on the vagina.

·       Sometimes appears together with acne papules.

What causes pustule acne?

·       Blockage of pores (hair follicles)

·       Allergic reactions

What increases my risk for developing pustules?

There are various factors that can trigger a person to get purulent acne, including the following.

·       Changes in androgen hormones that trigger the activity of the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.

·       Genetics, one or both parents have acne problems.

·       People with skin problems, such as hand eczema (dyshidrosis) or psoriasis.

·       Use of drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium.

How to deal with acne pustules

·       Topical acne medication

One type of treatment that doctors often recommend to treat acne, especially pustules, is a topical acne medication. These treatments are usually available in various forms, such as facial cleansers, lotions, creams, and gels

·       Antibiotics

·       Photodynamic therapy

In severe cases of pustule acne, your doctor may recommend photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT therapy is one treatment that helps treat severe acne.

What are the home remedies for pustules?

·       Regularly wash your face at least twice a day with a mild soap.

·       Choose a facial cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

·       If the scalp is oily, wash your hair every day.

·       Avoid using products that contain alcohol.

·       Limit the use of oil-based cosmetics.

·       Apply soothing gel to the acne area to reduce inflammation.

·       Do not squeeze pimples so that the skin layer is not damaged and leaves scars.

·       Manage stress and avoid acne-triggering foods, such as sugary foods.

5.     Nodules

Nodules occur when pores become swollen and irritated. Unlike pustules and papules, nodules are usually deeper under the skin. Nodules occur so deep, in the skin, that they need to be treated by a doctor to remove them

Usually, these pimples are large enough, so they are clearly visible if they occur on the face. This condition certainly reduces the appearance of the skin and makes most people less confident.

What are the signs and symptoms of nodular acne?

To make it easier for you to distinguish nodule acne from regular acne, there are some signs and symptoms to watch out for, including the following.

·       The presence of a lump under the skin that makes the part tighten.

·       Areas of tightened skin appear red from inflammation.

·       Pain to the touch.

·       Do not have a “head” filled with pus.

·       Difficult to remove, aka acne can last for weeks to months

What causes nodular acne?

Just like other causes of acne, nodular acne is caused by clogged pores due to the buildup of dead skin cells, excess oil, and bacteria. Even so, one of the main triggers for the appearance of acne is androgen hormones. If androgen levels increase, oil production in the skin also increases.

What increases my risk for this condition?

There are at least two factors that can increase the risk, namely.

·       Androgen hormone imbalance

·       Descendants

What are the treatment options for nodular acne?

Here are some treatments for inflamed acne nodules.

·       Antibiotics

·       Isotretinoin

·       Birth control pills

Home remedies

Although treatment from a doctor is required, home remedies for acne can also be applied. This aims to speed up the recovery process and prevent acne from coming back. Here are the ways:

·       Wash your face with a mild cleansing soap at least twice a day.

·       Choose treatment products labeled as non-comedogenic (does not cause blackheads), non-acnegenic (does not cause acne), or oil-free (oil-free).

·       Avoid using makeup that is too thick.

·       Always remove makeup before going to bed at night.

·       Avoid touching your face with your hands

·       Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 so that sun exposure does not worsen acne.

·       Compress the painful pimple with ice or a warm cloth.

6.     Cystic

Cysts can develop when pores become clogged by a combination of bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells. This type occurs further in the skin and further beneath the surface than nodules. These large red or white bumps are painful to the touch. Cysts are the largest form of acne and their formation leads to severe infections.

What are the characteristics of cystic acne?

·       The main characteristic of cystic acne is the shape of a large white lump resembling a boil, pus, and has a soft texture, and is painful to the touch.

·       Generally, cystic acne appears on the face. However, cystic acne can also attack other areas of the body's skin, such as the chest, neck, back, arms, and the area behind the ears.

What are the causes of cystic acne and the risk factors that affect it?

·       Hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, use of contraceptives, hormone therapy, to stress.

·       Use of cosmetics and skin care products that are oily and prone to clogging pores.

·       Tend to sweat easily so that the skin moisture level is high and provides an opportunity for bacteria to grow more.

·       Carrying parental genes which are also problematic with acne-prone skin.

·       The use of drugs or exposure to chemicals that worsen the condition of the skin with acne.

How to treat cystic acne that doctors recommend?

The safest way to deal with cystic acne is to consult a dermatologist. The doctor will help determine the cause of cystic acne and its appropriate treatment. There are several ingredients that are suitable for treating cystic acne, namely:

·       Benzoyl peroxide

·       Antibiotic drugs

·       Topical drugs containing retinoids

·       Isotretinoin

·       Spironolactone

·       Steroid injections

How to treat cystic acne at home?

You can also apply how to deal with cystic acne so that it doesn't get worse by doing the following home treatments:

·       Clean your face twice a day, including after you sweat.

·       Use cosmetics and skin care products labeled “noncomedogenic” or “oil free”. With this, your skin pores are not easily clogged.

·       Use sunscreen or sunscreen.

·       Do not do facial scrubs or use care products that have the potential to irritate the skin.

·       Do a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise, reduce sugar consumption, to get enough sleep.

If the condition of cystic acne is getting worse or does not go away after doing the above treatment, you should consult a dermatologist to get the right treatment.