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Is It A Pimple Or A Whitehead? Find out the different types of acne and their treatment! (Product suggestions available in India)


       There is something more painful than a huge puss-filled pimple on the face right before an important outing... Yes! You guessed it right! A bunch of uninvited red bumps all over the face. But don't worry, you are not alone, acne is a common skin condition typically caused by clogged pores. A range of different factors like dead skin cells, bacteria, hormones, diet, certain skincare, and makeup ingredients could clog the pores. Most of us go through the phase of acne during the age of 11-25 but it could occur during the later stages of life as well. Even though acne can make us feel conscious, it is something temporary and treatable. Understanding the different types of acne and including the right ingredient to treat them in the routine can play a significant role in improving the condition of the skin. 

Types Of Acne With Pictures

Acnes are majorly of three types:


(1) The Non-Inflammatory Acne:- 

In simple words, inflammation correlates to redness and swelling, In this type of acne even though the pores are clogged, there is no redness or bumps on the area of acne lesions. There are two types of non-inflammatory acne, open comedones (blackheads) and closed comedones (whiteheads), The whiteheads are covered by a thin layer of skin cells, so they are flesh-colored whereas blackheads are not covered under the layer of skin cells, they turn black in color due to oxidation. Both kinds of comedones are considered as mild forms of acne.

Best Ingredients To Include In The Routine:- 


(a) Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl Peroxide is a popular acne treatment because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It kills the bacteria instead of just slowing down its growth. It works as an exfoliant and helps increase the cell turnover rate. It is powerful in treating all kinds of mild to moderate acne and works well even when paired with antibiotics. It could take 6-8 weeks to see a great difference. Patience is the key guys...


  •  Bactericidal.
  •  Can help fade scares because of the bleaching property.
  •  Prevents antibiotic resistance.

How to use:- Benzoyl Peroxide is available in different forms like cleansers and leave-on creams. It is recommended to use the product one to two times a day. The cream is the more effective solution, but for highly sensitive skin cleanser would be a better option. Start from a lower concentration (2.5%), once the skin gets used to it, you can move to the higher concentrations(4-5%). Wet benzoyl peroxide can bleach dark clothes so keep that in mind. The use of a high SPF in the day time is a must!

 Common Side Effects: 

  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Peeling of Skin

Product suggestion: Cleanser -  Acnestar 2.5% soap                

                                   Cream -    Persol AC 2.5% gel

(b) Salicylic Acid: Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid isolated from Willow bark. It is a chemical exfoliant that functions by dissolving the agent that sticks the cells together. Thus, unclogs the pores. Unlike other acne treatments, it soothes the skin and calms down the inflammation instead of drying out the skin. People with sensitive skin prefer salicylic acid over benzoyl peroxide as it is milder.



  • Dissolves the cementing agent that sticks cells
  • Calms down the inflammation.
  • Does not dry out the skin.

How to use: Cleansers and spot treatments are the best way of including salicylic acid in the routine. Products with 2% of salicylic acid are easily available. Higher concentration products are available with a prescription, but 2% is enough to see a good improvement. Use the cleanser once a day. Apply the spot treatment only on the area of acne lesions and leave it overnight, use it on alternate nights. The use of a high SPF in the day is a must! 

Common side effects:

  • Skin tingling
  • Itching 

Product Suggestions: Cleanser - Saslic Ds 2% Facewash                  

                                     Spot Treatment -  Sebogel

(2) Inflammatory Acne:-

 Red swollen pimples are referred to as inflammatory acne. It is also caused because of clogged pores, but bacteria can make the infection more severe. Papules and Pustules are the two kinds of inflammatory pimples. Papules are firm bumps with the pink colored surrounding skin. They are not puss-filled and are usually painful to touch whereas Pustules are puss-filled pimples with poppable white peaks. Even though they can be popped, it is not good as it can cause permanent scarring. It comes under moderate form of acne.

Best Ingredients To Include In The Routine:

(a) Benzoyl Peroxide

(b) Clindamycin Phosphate: Clindamycin is an antibiotic useful in treating mild to moderate forms of acne. It slows the growth of the bacteria and clams down the inflammation. It can only control the acne and not cure it. To make the treatment more effective, it is paired with a bunch of other ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, nicotinamide, topical retinoid, etc. 


  • Slows down bacterial growth
  • No serious side effects
  • Can be a paired with a lot of other ingredients

How to use:- Clindamycin is available in both topical and oral forms. Ingestion of medicines without consulting a specialist is not recommended. Topical creams with 1% clindamycin are the best way to include this ingredient in the routine. Apply the cream one to twice a day all over the face. It is not a spot treatment, so spread a thin film all over the face and keep it overnight or at least 6 hours. Using a high SPF during the day time is a must!

Product Suggestions: 1% Clindamycin Phosphate Gel

                                  Clindamycin (1%) and Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5%)

                                  Clindamycin (1%) and Adapalene (0.1%)

                                  Clindamycin (1%) and Nicotinamide (4%)

(c) Topical Retinoid: Retinoid is nothing but Vitamin A. It is a good option for stubborn acne which has not gotten any better with other treatments. It prevents the clogging of pores and is the only scientifically proven ingredient to reverse skin damage. It also has anti-aging properties. 


  • Unclogs the pores
  • Reduces the scars
  • Antiaging properties.

How to use: Retinoid is available in a variety of forms. Serums and leave-on creams are the most effective way of using retinoids topically. Start from the lowest concentration (0.025%) and slowly work your way up. Apply a thin film over cleansed skin and leave it on. Use it on alternate days initially and then once a day. The use of a high SPF in the day is a must! The use of retinoids for people under 25 is not recommended. 

Common Side Effects:

  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Peeling

Product Suggestions: Retino A 0.025%

(3) Nodulocystic Acne:-


 It is the most severe form of acne and most likely to cause scarring. It is characterized by painful bumps that are deeper under the skin and cannot be popped. Nodules are firm bumps whereas cysts are fluid-filled. This type of acne is more common in adults and males. Since it is a severe form of acne, topical methods are not very beneficial. The best and the only of treating nodulocystic acne is by visiting a dermatologist. 

Note: All the recommended products can cause purging in some people. If the purging lasts for more than 15 days discontinue using the product. If you experience extreme burning or weird rashes on the skin, stop using the product immediately.

             Thanks for Reading! Subscribe to this blog for more such informative articles.


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