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Types of Teenage Acne

Types of Teenage Acne Types of Teenage Acne

One of the most prominent times that people experience acne is during their teenage years. This is because of the influence of sebum, the oil naturally produced by the skin. The production of sebum is controlled by sex hormones called androgens. During the teenage years, most people experience puberty. During puberty, androgens are more active as the body changes in preparation for being able to produce children. This change in hormones may cause irregularities in sebum production, contributing to the formation of acne. When acne occurs, it can take many forms, depending on the severity of the outbreak.


The most commonly seen form of acne in teenagers is comedones. Commonly referred to as blackheads or whiteheads, comedones are the first sign that a pore has become clogged with a mixture of sebum, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria. When the clog is visible near the top of the skin, it's called a blackhead because of the visible color of the clog. When the clog occurs below the skin, it is called a whitehead because of the flesh-colored bump that appears on the skin above the clog.


Papules are a little more serious form of acne than comedones. Papules occur when comedones become infected and show a small amount of inflammation under the surface.


Pustules are also a form of acne that teenagers can develop. Pustules occur as an inflamed papule builds enough pressure beneath the skin to push pus into a tip at the top of the papule. Pustules can be tender, painful and a little red.

Nodular Acne

Nodular acne is a more serious form of teenage acne. Nodular acne consists of acne nodules, which are painful, solid lumps that develop beneath the skin's surface. Nodules form as pustules become more infected and sebum and pus build up into large lumps. These lumps are extremely painful to the touch and can burst if not treated.

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is the most serious form of teenage acne. Cystic acne consists of large, boil-like acne cysts that are similar to nodules. The difference between the two is that cysts tend to have a greater amount of infection, increasing the levels of pus beneath the skin. Similar to nodules, cysts are painful and can cause serious scarring if they burst. Often a dermatologist will inject corticosteroids into acne nodules and cysts to relieve inflammation and prevent them from bursting.

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