Acne treatment Acne treatment

Comedonal & Inflammatory Acne

Comedonal & Inflammatory Acne


Acne is broken down into two categories: inflammatory and noninflammatory. Telling the difference the categories may prove challenging. A dermatologist or licensed health care provider can easily distinguish between the two.


Comedonal acne, blackheads and whiteheads, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, are noninflammatory types of acne that form at the surface of the skin. Inflammatory acne is caused by chemical reactions or clogged follicles containing bacteria, such as pimples that are red in color. The redness is caused by the inflammation, according to the AAD. Propionibacterium is the type of bacteria typically found in infected, inflamed acne.


Salicylic acid breaks down noninflammatory acne, such as whiteheads and blackheads, according to the Mayo Clinic. For inflammatory acne, such as pimples, benzoyl peroxide is recommended by the AAFP and Mayo Clinic. A sulfur preparation may be needed if you suffer from both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne. Sulfur medications consist of two active ingredients so it’s more effective when treating different types of acne at the same time.


Sulfur, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are all known to cause dry skin. When your skin becomes severely dry, this can cause more acne as the skin becomes irritated. You can try cleansing only once per day instead of twice per day, switch to a gentler cleanser or discontinue using your current medication until your skin heals. To reduce risks of a possible allergic reaction, test a small section of skin prior to cleansing your entire facial area.


Before treating your own acne, consider seeking care from a trusted physician. If your acne is not caused by bacteria or overactive oil glands, the treatment may not help your acne. Some acne is caused by hormones, such as when adolescence occurs. Certain medications may contribute to acne as well. The AAD reports that certain types of acne are caused by a fungal infection, which an antifungal prescription can treat.

When to See Your Dermatologist

If and when your acne becomes so severe that it causes scarring, your dermatologist can prescribe a stronger medication than the one you are currently using or possibly an antibiotic. She can also discuss possible treatment options to remove or diminish the appearance of scars.

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