Physical Health, Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

How do you treat different types of Acne?

Identify and then destroy.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Feb 6, 2022

Sadly, acne is a part of most peoples life at some point or another. It can be painful, embarrassing, aggressive, and just plain annoying to get those pesky little zits away. But, it gives us peace of mind to know that 50 million Americans experience acne, aka: We are not alone.


However, that doesn’t mean you have to endure it. There are treatments and creams out there that are just waiting for you to use to clear out that new breakout. And because not all pimples are the same, it’s important to know the differences to help you select the right treatment plan.


Below, we breakdown the four most common types of acne and all the ways to treat it. Hint: Popping your pimples is not one of them.



Whiteheads, closed comedones, are closed off by a layer of skin. Best way to treat is to use non-comedogenic products.



Open comedones, or blackheads, as they are more popularly known, appear as a black spec on your skin. Like most acne, they occur when sebum mixes in with the natural oils of your skin, causing pores to clog.


Blackheads are open to air and oxygen, and can trigger oxidation that causes the zit to turn color. The best type of defense is to wash your face with a beta hydroxy acid like salicylic acid to penetrate the pores and unclog them. And if acids aren’t your thing, you can also try a retinol, either prescribed or over the counter, which is a from of Vitamin A that promotes skin cell turn over, and the breaking up of cells that form the clogs in the first place.


Quick pro tip: Make sure to use oil-free products so you can prevent further clogging of pores.



Solid, raised lesions that are less than a centimeter in diameter, papules can be seen as different shapes, colors, and sizes. And unfortunately, even though they start out as solid, they can quickly form to have pus in them.


For treatment: Be as gentle as you can with the skin. Which means avoid harsh scrubbing, exfoliation, and intense ingredients. It’s best to avoid this area in total.



These types of zits contain pus or fluid and show up in large white bumps surrounded by red, inflamed skin. They usually occur from bacterial growth in clogged follicles. If you are looking for these to go away quick, try a topical benzoyl peroxide or sulfur-based wash to decrease inflammation and completely kill the bacteria in the growing follicle of the skin’s surface. If it gets worse or has no signs of improvement within a week, consult a dermatologist.


Read on about skincare ingredients that can treat hormonal acne and why you need serum in your skincare routine.