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Understanding Types of Acne - Kidskin

Understanding Types of Acne

Getting to know your skin and how to care for it properly can be a challenge. Add the addition of acne, and it can seem a bit overwhelming. While it’s tough to figure out what your skin is trying to tell you, we're here to make it a bit easier to understand. We’ll take a look at the different types of acne you may be experiencing, how to create a daily tween skincare routine to address your acne battles adequately, and what you can do to help prevent reoccurring flare-ups.


What is Acne?

When pores clog with dirt, excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, the skin condition we know as acne develops. Acne may cause bumps, redness, irritation, and even scarring in a recurring vicious cycle.

There are several types of acne, including those annoying whiteheads and blackheads. Each type has its varying appearances, causes, symptoms, and treatments. If you battle acne, you are not alone. Approximately fifty million Americans battle some form of acne, affecting roughly eighty percent of tweens and teens. The good news is, taking the time to create a safe, effective tween skincare routine is the first step in the right direction.


Types of Acne

It’s essential to learn to recognize the type of acne you're struggling with, so you can take proper action with the right tween skincare routine and products. When you take the time to learn about your skin and create a specific action plan to combat acne types, you help lower your risks of scars, dark spots, and other long-term complications.

 Tween skincare products made for your young, delicate skin will help protect and nurture it for years to come. We’ll take a look at the six common types of acne and help you recognize which forms you may be dealing with.

Types of Acne Include:

  • whiteheads
  • blackheads
  • nodules
  • pustules
  • papules
  • cysts


Non-inflammatory Acne

Acne typically falls into two categories, depending on whether it does or does not cause skin inflammation. Whiteheads and blackheads fall into the non-inflammatory group and, although bothersome, are the least severe of the six acne types. You’ll notice your whiteheads and blackheads are typically not painful and do not cause swelling.



Whiteheads, medically known as closed comedones, are the tiny, white or flesh-colored bumps and spots that typically appear in clusters on the surface of your skin. You may even notice a white, circular center surrounded by a pink or red halo effect. Whiteheads form when oils and skin cells entirely clog your pores, or they can be brought on by hormonal changes.

Although whiteheads seem easy to get rid of, do not squeeze them! The little bump or head that forms at the surface is deceiving, and attempting to get rid of it through squeezing can leave you with scarring. Instead, treat it with safe tween skincare spot treatments that contain salicylic acid to help get rid of them safely. These spot treatments specifically target the oils and skin cells clogging your pores while helping to guard against the return of non-inflammatory acne.



Blackheads, or open comedones, are tiny, black or dark-colored spots that may also cause slightly raised bumps. The skin surrounding a blackhead typically appears normal, while the center of the blackhead appears exceptionally dark. This dark coloring is often misinterpreted as trapped dirt but think of blackheads as whiteheads that have opened and widened.

When the skin cells and oil of the open pore are exposed to the air, it causes a darkening of the contents and creates what you know as the blackhead. While blackheads may be removable by a gentle squeezing technique, it is highly recommended you adopt a safe tween skincare routine and visit your dermatologist. A dermatologist has the medical training to extract with proper tools and procedures to avoid scarring and the further spread of bacteria.


Treating Blackheads and Whiteheads with the Right Tween Skincare Products

Not all products are safe for your delicate skin, which means it is very important to do your research and find a tween skincare line that has your best interests at heart.

One of our finest tips: avoid facial strips. While blackhead pore strips are appealing, and let’s be honest—a bit satisfying—they may do more harm than good. Pore strips tend to "strip" more than just your pesky whiteheads and blackheads. While attempting to pull out the contents of your clogged pores, they may be damaging the surface of your delicate skin. This stripping effect is often too abrasive and inadvertently cause additional acne in the long run.

Instead, stick to safe and effective topical spot treatments for your whiteheads and blackheads, along with a daily tween skincare routine safe enough for your skin needs.

Using a daily cleanser will cut down the excess oils and remove dead skin cells clogging your pores. A daily moisturizer will calm and soothe skin while keeping you properly hydrated and prevent excessive dead skin cells and dry flakes from clogging pores. Look for ingredients in skincare items known to tackle acne concerns without leaving your skin dry.

A gentle, safe tween skin care routine for young skin should include ingredients such as:

  • Tea Tree oil
  • Red Algae
  • White Tea Leaf Extract
  • Witch Hazel


­A great tween skincare routine to reduce non-inflammatory blackheads and whiteheads includes necessary lifestyle changes you can start today. You can help improve most minor to mild forms of non-inflammatory acne by simply making a few adjustments to your daily routines. While you may groan at a few of these, you’ll love the results after giving them a fair try:

  • wash your face with lukewarm water twice a day (or three times if you’re super oily or have extracurriculars that cause you to sweat)
  • make necessary changes to help reduce stress
  • eat a healthy, well- balanced diet
  • keep yourself hydrated
  • avoid touching your face with your hands and cellphone and try to keep them clean throughout the day
  • limit your exposure to the sun and wear sunscreen daily

 Two teen girls wearing face masks and laughing.

Types of Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is most recognizable by red, swollen, and sometimes painful characteristics. Your acne may range from the occasional breakout to more severe ones.

Inflammatory acne includes:

  • papules
  • pustules
  • nodular
  • cystic


Inflammatory acne is more problematic than non-inflammatory acne, as it is more likely to cause complications, such as lasing redness, soreness, scarring, and pitting. Sometimes, inflammatory acne can remain swollen and be warm to the touch, unlike non-inflammatory blackheads and whiteheads.

It begins as small blockages of the pores, known as microcomedo, that the naked eye cannot see. Eventually, they clog the pore and begin to become inflamed. Before you know it, you’re waking up to a new visitor staring back at you in the mirror.

While the opening of your pore is plugged, excess oil continues to invade and create a nest for acne-causing bacteria. The increasing buildup creates tremendous pressure and eventually wears down the barrier and spreads bacteria into your skin. As the bacteria spread, so does inflammatory acne. Daily use of your bacteria-fighting tween skincare cleanser can help prevent this spread.


Papule Acne

Papules are one of the most common inflammatory acne types. Papules are tiny red bumps that begin under the surface of your skin. They form when excess skin cells and oil that block your pores mix with bacteria and form solid yet tender raised bumps. Typically, the skin surrounding a papule remains swollen and red as the bacteria spreads out and into the surrounding skin.

Papules will not fill with pus or have a recognizable center like whiteheads do. They will also not appear to widen your pores, as blackheads do. However, it’s vital to be diligent with your tween skincare routine since papules develop from whitehead and blackhead irritation, causing damage to the surrounding skin. This damage is what leads you down the road to inflammation.


Pustule Acne

Pustules are still small but more extensive than papules. They tend to be much more tender with a defined circular center and often pop up in clusters on your face, back, or chest. The center fills with a whitish or yellowish pussy fluid, while the acne bump’s base and surrounding skin are pink or red. The pus accumulates from the collection of immune and bacterial cells.

Pustules typically look like a larger and more inflamed version of your typical whitehead. They usually form when your pores are both blocked and infected, but they can also be brought on by hormonal changes. Utilizing a gentle tween skincare cleanser with calming and healing tea tree oil can help you kill bacteria and reduce oils.


Treating Papules and Pustules

As with whiteheads and blackheads, do not pop papules and pustules. Even more harm may come from squeezing them, as the bacteria will spread and cause further skin irritation and issues. Leave the draining to a professional while using a gentle tween skincare product line to fight oils and bacteria. If your acne is causing pain, irritation, or is beginning to drain on its own, try a few of these safe care tips for home:

  • Wash the affected area with cool water and a gentle twee skincare cleansing product to soothe and cleanse the area.
  • Apply a warm compress to the inflamed area for roughly ten to fifteen minutes; this will help coax any trapped dirt or skin cells to the surface.
  • Use a salicylic acid spot treatment from a natural tween skincare line.


Nodular Acne

More moderate to severe acne includes nodular acne. Nodules are typically the hard, painful, highly inflamed bumps deep within your skin. They tend to take on the look of a larger yet deeper papule without a visible center or “head.”

Nodular acne lesions begin to form when your clogged pores damage the tissues and cells deep under your skin’s surface. Think of them as a severe form of a papule that can wreak more havoc on your young, sensitive skin if left untreated. Nodular acne tends to cause more permanent skin complications such as persistent redness, dark spots, and scarring. Daily cleansing with a dedicated tween skincare cleanser with natural oil-controlling ingredients is recommended.


Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. Its characteristics include huge yet soft lumps, which are painful, even without touching them. Cystic acne is red or white, full of pus, and situated deep within your skin. Cysts form due to infections deeper within your skin than nodules and are known to be the most difficult to treat and cause more scarring.

If you do not treat cystic acne with proper care, it may rupture, spreading bacteria to the surrounding skin and causing more infection and inflammation. While you may receive various medications from your dermatologist to help fight cystic acne, effective tween skin care products can help combat excess oils and dirt as well as dead skin cells that lead to the clogging of pores to begin with.


Treating Nodular and Cystic Acne

While you can certainly take steps with tween skincare products to address oil, skin cell, and bacteria buildup, most moderate and severe acne should receive additional treatment and care from a dermatologist. Treatments from your doctor may include a combination of products and procedures specifically designed to treat nodular and cystic acne. This may include proper drainage and extraction for the safe removal of large cysts or a combination of prescribed oral and topical medications to balance hormones, fight bacteria, and heal physical signs of acne.


Protect Your Skin from the Effects of Acne

Did you know that exposure to the sun can increase the redness you’re experiencing from your acne and inflammation? It can even prolong the redness after acne is gone. Exposure to the sun, even on those cloudy days, can darken acne spots and scars.

No matter what your skin type may be or which type of acne you are battling, your delicate skin needs proper daily sun protection. Choosing a tween skincare line with a sunscreen free of harsh chemicals will help protect your young skin from harmful rays and lasting effects of acne. Look for a hypoallergenic, all-natural sunscreen with Zinc Oxide. Our own mineral-based sunscreen provides broad-spectrum natural mineral protection from UVA and UVB exposure while calming and soothing your skin.

It’s time to combat your acne and show off the skin you can be proud of today! 

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