Acne is a common skin condition that involves the pores and hair follicles. The skin’s pores are connected to oil glands that produce a substance called sebum. Follicles serve as canals that let oil carry dead skin cells to the surface. In acne, the sebum and dead skin cells form a plug around the hair. The plug starts to swell when bacteria get into it, causing pimples to form.
Types of Pimples
There are several different types of acne, and they range in severity. Whiteheads and blackheads are the mildest type. They are caused by pores that have gotten clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. In a whitehead, the pore is closed by a whitish bump. Blackheads are open pores that owe their color to the debris within them.
If a whitehead or blackhead becomes inflamed, the result is called a papule or pimple. A papule is a small red bump that feels hard. Pustules resemble papules but are filled with pus.
Nodules are a severe form of acne. They resemble papules but develop deeper under the skin. They are also bigger than papules and can be quite painful.
Cysts are another severe form of acne, and they can be difficult to treat. They resemble nodules, but they contain pus. Like nodules, cysts develop deep under the skin. A cyst looks like a large, swollen bump. Cysts can occur singly or appear in clusters.
When Should Somebody with Pimples See a Doctor?
It depends on the type of acne. There are over-the-counter treatments that can effectively treat the milder types. A patient with mild acne may try such remedies. If they don’t see any improvement after a period of time, it may be time to visit the dermatologist and get something stronger.
Patients with more severe acne like nodular or cystic acne should always consult a doctor. The more severe types of acne can cause significant scarring, and over-the-counter treatments may not have the same effect on them. A dermatologist can provide the needed prescription and minimize the risk of scarring.
How is Acne Treated?
There are many treatments for acne, and the dermatologist will choose one based on the type of acne and its severity. Acne treatments typically work by killing the bacteria and/or making the skin less oily. The doctor will often start by prescribing a topical treatment that will be applied to the affected skin. If a patient has nodular or cystic acne, the dermatologist may prescribe an oral medication or certain antibiotics.
Get In Touch with Us to Find Out More
To learn more about the different types of pimples and how to combat acne, feel free to reach out and make an appointment with Atomic Dermatology! At our office in Pasco, WA, our dedicated team of professionals will be happy to explain your options in full, address any questions or concerns you may have, and help you achieve a clean and healthy complexion. Contact us today to set up a consultation!