Acne: Types and Treatments

Acne is an embarrassing and often painful affliction which is characterized by inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin. It is typically found in the form of red pimples on the face, chest and back.

While most common in adolescents, acne is a problem which can plague adults as well. Acne can appear during cyclical hormonal fluctuations (e.g. a woman’s menstrual cycle), and is also a common side effect of menopause.

Listed below are some common types of acne, and their defining characteristics:

Acne Vulgaris

This is the most prevalent form of acne. It is typically characterized by mild outbreaks consisting of blackheads or whiteheads. Acne Vulgaris can sometimes be treated by over-the-counter topical remedies, but more severe, persistent strains probably require dermatological treatment.


A papule is a type of acne that forms around the base of a hair follicle (comedones). Papules are comedones that become inflamed, creating small red or pink bumps on the skin.


Pustules are a type of inflamed pimple that look similar to a whitehead, but with a red ring around the base. The pimple is filled with a white or yellow-white pus. Picking at pustules (or any type of acne) should be avoided, as it may cause infection, scarring and discoloration to the skin.


Nodules are inflamed bumps which are typically larger than regular acne. Nodules occur deep within the skin and can be painful. Nodules often require treatment by a dermatologist because, in many cases, medication may be the only effective remedy.


Cysts appear as large, pus-filled lesions. Similar to nodules, cysts can be incredibly painful and usually require dermatological treatment.

Acne Conglobata

This form of acne is a very severe affliction. It involves several inflamed nodules, and can often spread to areas such as the back, chest, and buttocks. It can be exacerbated by the use of steroids or testosterone. In this case, treatment by a dermatologist is absolutely necessary.

While over-the-counter treatments may sometimes be effective for treating milder forms of acne, it is always wise to consult a dermatologist for advice. Your dermatologist will be able to identify the type and severity of your acne, and will recommend the best treatment for your specific condition. At Gainesville Dermatology, we carry the most effective treatment lines available on the market, including Blue Light Treatment.

The doctors and healthcare professionals at Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery can treat acne problems of any variety for fast, effective results. To schedule an appointment, call (352) 332-4442.

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