Pimple Facts: Know the Difference

By now, we’re all pretty familiar with the basic life cycle of a zit. Sebum and oil clog up pores, and that build-up leads to what is commonly known as a pimple. But not all blemishes are the same. In fact, different types of pimples can pop out on the same face (at the same time, even). If you’re going to effectively fight off acne, you need to know what you’re dealing with.

All blemishes start off as what is known as a comendo. Basically, a comendo is the lesion caused by the sebum, oil, and bacteria that plug up the pore in question. You can think of it as a pimple in training. If the comendo opens up, the bacteria come into contact with oxygen and reacts by turning dark. Ta-da, a blackhead is born. On the other hand, if the lesion remains underneath the skin (and stays closed) the head becomes white instead of black, and it’s known as a (you guessed it) whitehead.

Whiteheads and blackheads are both known as non-inflammatory acne. Inflammatory pimples are much more painful and irritating. They include papules, which are the mildest form of inflammatory acne. Papules look like small pink bumps at the surface of the skin.

Pustules are a more severe form of inflammatory acne. As their name implies, pustules are pimples with visible pus. You know those zits with a red base and a white or yellow center? Now you have a name for them.

Then there are nodules, also known as cysts or cystic acne. Cystic acne is probably the worse form of acne vulgaris. Nodules are big, painful, and filled with pus. Because they are deep in the skin, they can be the hardest to get rid of, as well. (Come back in a couple of days for a post all about cystic acne)

Finally, there is a kind of acne known as conglobata. This is a rare form of breakout that is usually found on the body (specifically the back, chest, and buttocks). Conglobata is especially severe, making it tough to get rid of.

So, now that you know what you’re dealing with… looks like it’s time to get to work getting rid of it!

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