The Love Vitamin’s Guide to the Different Types of Acne

What type of acne do you get?

We’re going back to basics this week as I got a request a while back from someone asking for a post about the different types of acne. Much like my ‘simple dinner recipe‘ that I posted on Wednesday, sometimes the things that you take for granted are revolutionary to someone else!

When I think back though, I have to admit it wasn’t that long ago that even I wasn’t quite sure which type of spot a ‘whitehead’ was… and I’m still not even sure if I’ve ever had cystic acne, or if what I’ve had would be more classified as nodules… or maybe even just bad papules…

Either way! Here is your acne types with plenty of pictures:

Whiteheads

whiteheads

We’ll start with whiteheads because whiteheads were always the ones that confused me. To me, it made perfect sense that whiteheads would be the smallish red pimples with the “white” pussy “heads” on them. But apparently those are actually called pustules (I find the names kinda revolting, you?).

Anyway, whiteheads are simply clogged pores that are not inflamed. They are clogged below the surface of the skin, so they remain closed and flesh coloured, but create a little bump on the skin. 

Blackheads

blackheads

Then comes blackheads. Blackheads are basically the same as whiteheads – a non-inflamed clogged pore – but the difference is that the top is open and therefore exposed to the air. The air oxidizes the sebum and keratin that’s stuck there and it turns black.

Note: Many people ask me how to get rid of clogged pores like whiteheads and blackheads… I find that lots of leafy green vegetables works a treat. But sometimes these suckers are stubborn anyway, and that is why I like jojoba oil so much. Jojoba oil is the most molecularly similar thing to our own sebum, so it is the best for going into the pores, dissolving the plug and unclogging your skin. Adding some super finely ground sea salt to your facial routine for mild exfoliation is also a good trick.

Sebaceous Filaments

This is my actual nose from a few years back. Yes, I’m showing you my nose hair.

Here is one you may never heard of probably because it’s not actually a type of acne at all and isn’t even related to an acne breakout – but I’m including it because it’s so often misunderstood. It’s something called sebaceous filaments.

What are sebaceous filaments?

It’s what you think are the blackheads all over your nose and surrounding area. Guess what? Almost everyone thinks they have a blackhead problem all over these areas when in reality, every single human has these and they aren’t clogged pores at all! They are actually just the oil glands in your skin.. the tiny tubes that supply a pore with sebum. The tips of them are what you see dotted around your nose and they often resemble tiny blackheads, although they’re usually lighter in colour, evenly spaced, and smooth to the touch, unlike blackheads.

They are meant to be there, everyone has them, and you can’t make them go away. If you try, they fill right back up.

I just wanted to bring this to light because many people are needlessly stressing out about their perfectly normal, healthy sebaceous filaments when they shouldn’t be!

Papules

papules

And now we get into inflamed acne. Inflamed acne is when a clogged pore – a whitehead or a blackhead – gets irritated and becomes inflamed. This mean it swells, turns red, and begins to hurt. (This is why we want to avoid irritating cleansers + your fingers so that a clogged pore doesn’t get inflamed!)

Papules are tender red bumps … usually fairly small, up to a cm in diameter, and somewhat raised. The defining factor is that they are not filled with pus, although they may go on to fill with pus later on and become a pustule.

Absolutely do not squeeze these!!! It’s only going to make matters worse and encourage scarring.

Pustules

pustules

Pustules are your classic zit. Hard, inflamed, and full of pus that has the defining white or yellow centre. May remind you of a volcano. While it’s ever tempting to pop these, please try to refrain. It may not be as harmful to pop one of these vs squeezing some other varieties, especially if it’s waiting to burst… but I still would really not recommend it (from a former chronic popper – trust me).

Read www.stoppickingonme.com. Right now. Go. Do it.

Nodules and Cysts

Cyst

And now on to severe acne lesions… nodules and cysts. These are large (much larger than papules and pustules) painful bumps under the skin that take quite a while to go away and can create scarring.

Nodules are generally hard and not filled with pus. Cysts are filled with pus and feel like fluid filled sacs underneath the skin.

Inflamed acne happens when a plug ruptures a follicle wall and leaks fluid into the skin, which your immune system then responds to with inflammation. if this rupture happens near the surface of the skin, the result is usually a minor papule or a pustule. If it happens deep within the skin, it’s much more likely to become a serious nodule or a cyst (another great reason to never squeeze your skin… you push the bacteria further into your pores, making it more likely for you to get nodules and cysts. And if you do get them, don’t ever, ever, EVER even dare THINK of squeezing this type of acne, although I hope that goes without saying by now).

Nodules is where I’ve gotten confused about my own acne… in the past, whenever my acne started taking a turn for the worst, I would begin getting a lot of big, hard inflamed spots that don’t have heads on them, mostly around my chin. I have never really known if these are actual nodules or just bad papules, because I’ve never had a ginormous one that has lasted for months. I still don’t know the answer.

Either way, I’ve never gotten one of these since I cleaned up my lifestyle!

Other Types of Acne

There are other types of acne too. The ones I was describing above fall under the name of “acne vulgaris”, which is resoundingly the most common form of it, and the one with the worst name in my opinion! Other types include:

Acne Rosacea

The spots in acne rosacea are basically the same as with acne vulgaris (although usually no blackheads), except it’s also accompanied by a red rash that usually covers the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. It primarily affects women over 30 and is probably the most common type of acne after vulgaris.

Acne Conglobata

This is the most severe type of acne with large lesions interconnected across the face and body with lots and lots of blackheads. It is known to cause severe scarring and damage and usually only affects males. It’s rare, don’t worry.

Acne Fulminans

This type of acne can come on very suddenly and usually affects young men, and it different than the others because it is usually accompanied by fever and aching joints. It usually occurs after unsuccessful treatment for acne congolobata.

Pyoderma Faciale

This type of acne that consists of large nodules and pustules that can be very damaging. It is basically the same as acne fulminans but usually only affects women between ages 20 to 40, comes on suddenly, only affects the face, and usually disappears within a year.

Gram Negative Folliculitis

This is a rare type of acne that consists of pustules and cysts and it usually is a consequence of long term antibiotic use for regular acne, particularly tetracyclines. The cysts usually contain a specific species of bacteria.

Note: Don’t let these scare you. Most of them are very rare.

Mild, Moderate, or Severe?

And then comes the question of what classifies your acne as mild, moderate, or severe. Most people don’t really know what theirs would be classified as, and how they describe their acne tends to be a matter of perspective – the more upset you are about it, the more likely you are to classify your acne as worse than it really is.

So is there a standard grading system?

Well, some classify it according to type of lesion. In other words, if you only have whiteheads and blackheads, that counts as mild. If you have those plus pustules and papules, then you have moderate. If you have those plus cysts and nodules, then you have severe.

I guess that system works, but I don’t think it’s that accurate, personally. I think it’s the sheer volume of inflammation that should classify it.

For example, if you have a few whiteheads and blackheads and one or two inflamed spots, to me that is not moderate – it’s mild. There is hardly any inflammation so moderate seems like a bit of an extreme rating.

Me in a past life

On the other hand, like I said before, when my acne was bad, I’m not even sure if I had cysts or nodules. They might have been nodules, but maybe they were just big papules. If they weren’t nodules, I find it ridiculous to say that my acne was merely moderate. The volume of inflammation on my face was far beyond that.

Here is a proposed global acne rating system from the US FDA that seems to work well enough in my opinion:

  • Clear, indicating no inflammatory or noninflammatory lesions;
  • Almost clear, rare noninflammatory lesions with no more than one papules/pustule;
  • Mild, some noninflammatory lesions, no more than a few papules/pustules but no nodules;
  • Moderate, up to many noninflammatory lesions, may have some inflammatory lesions, but no more than one small nodule;
  • Severe, up to many noninflammatory and inflammatory lesions, but no more than a few nodules.

Okay! So there you go – I hope that cleared up any confusion about what’s what with the different types of acne.

Remember that all types of acne (and all sorts of other health complaints you may have) can be treated with holistic treatment instead of drugs – and this is beautiful because there is far less chance of it coming back in the future, since you are working with your body to heal instead of harming it further.

If you need more more help with this, don’t forget I have my book available – Ultimate Secrets to Acne Freedom.

***

PS – It doesn’t matter whether you have mild, moderate or severe acne, you’re still beautiful! ♥

You can totally be happy, healthy and acne free!

Just grab my free gift to you, ‘7 things You Can Start Doing Right Now to Clear Your Skin’ and get started right away!

Join over 15,000 women who are on their way to gorgeous skin and an amazing life

Comments

  1. Paula says

    That’s really interesting article, Tracy. I’ve been always wondering what kind of acne I have. Now it’s quite clear…
    Thousand of black&whiteheads with few small spots can be clasified as moderate?
    Hm…
    I’ve been fighting with them for 9 years…
    Your words ‘no matter which type of acne you have, you’re beautiful’ are best i can hear. It won’t let me get a breakdown! That’s reall nice, thanks:-)

    • Kay says

      Hi Tracy, this is an interesting article. About a year and a half ago, I started breaking out like crazy…cysts, nodules, papules when my skin had been mild/moderate my entire life before. Now I am wondering if I had gram negative folliculitus, because this severe break out occurred about 6 months after I was on intervenous antibiotics for a total of 11 weeks (due to a systemic infection). The break out came about very suddenly and very severely. When I started breaking out, I read Skin Deep, stopped eating gluten, tried to cut down on stress, eat mostly vegetables, take probiotics and fish oil and use manuka honey to wash my face, and still have moderate and sometimes mild acne. It seems that my body is still slightly off balance from the antibiotics even though it’s been about 2.5 years since I was on them. Do you have any recommendations? Is it possible that I might have had gram negative folliculitus?

      • Tracy says

        Hi Kay!
        Obviously I can’t diagnose you and say for sure whether that’s what it is… it might be. However, if your severe acne, whether regular or otherwise, is a direct result of long term antibiotic use, it definitely means that you need to focus all your attention on healing your digestive system as much as possible and this will make the biggest impact for you… look into the GAPS intro diet, because I think something like that is your best bet

        • Kay says

          Hi Tracy! The GAPS diet sounds great! I’ve also had a recurring yeast infection for almost 8 months now, so I’m planning to go on Linda Allen’s Yeast Infection No More protocol/diet. What do you think of Linda Allen’s anti-candida diet vs. the GAPS diet?

          Thank you for your helpful comment! : )

          • Tracy says

            Hi Kay!
            Well I don’t know anything about her anti-candida diet in particular, but I do know that candida cleanses are very effective and helpful. They work great for me.
            Gaps is kind of like… sorta… a high end candida cleanse that really targets healing the gut wall as well as killing the yeast and getting rid of candida. I haven’t tried GAPS yet, but I want to…. I feel like it’s a little more hardcore than a general candida cleanse though, so it’s not for everyone, but if you are willing to do some serious healing work, I’d go for that one over a candida cleanse. It’s up to you really! I think they are both effective!

  2. Angel says

    Nice article! I know when I first started getting acne, I was SO confused what type/s I had, it drove me crazy and only made me more upset.

    Unfortunaly, in the section with pictures, especially those damn whiteheads and red Papules I check “all of the above” (But thankfully, with the exception of Nodules and Cysts!!)

    I’m really scared of “Acne Rosacea” though. Rosacea + acne seems like a terrible combo to have to go through!

    V____V

    Good post!

  3. Jennifer says

    I’m pretty sure I have acne rosacea. My skin seems to be constantly red- and I mean RED, not just slightly pink- even hours after doing anything that might irritate it (washing, etc). Anyways, 2 questions, if you can help.
    1) Will a healthy diet/lifestyle help the redness at all? My acne seems to have improved so far (knock on wood!), but the redness is still there.
    2) I know this is really strange, but do you have any idea why the redness only happens during the day? Even when I have been lazy and done no hard work/exercise/anything that might regularly cause flushing. After my evening washing, my skin is a normal color.

    • Tracy says

      Hi Jennifer,
      Yes, I believe the redness will go away with a healthy diet and lifestyle… I believe that no matter what your health problem, there is always an underlying root cause. No health problem just happens for no reason.
      However, I don’t actually know that much about rosacea in particular or why the redness only happens during the day!

  4. Jaclyn says

    Would you say Manuka honey helps reduce the redness for Papules in particular? It seems I pretty much have this type of acne along with whitehead bumps on my forehead. Aloe Vera from mountainroseherbs.com seemed to help my redness go down, & it was the most natural type of bottled aloe I could find. However, if I used it daily it would cause more acne to surface on my chin overtime so I stopped it. Any other things would you recommend I try? I’m working on the diet, exercise, my face is combination dry/oily depending on the season, and I am only using water at the moment to wash my face.

    • Tracy says

      Yes it does help with papules, and I think it decreases the life cycle of all acne (well, I’m not sure about cysts and nodules as I haven’t had any since using manuka). If you haven’t tried manuka and jojoba oil, you should try them

      • Maria says

        How would you go about using the Jojoba oil on the face? And for the Manuka honey, would you use it as a mask, take it internally or both? Thanks!

  5. Nom says

    This was really helpful! I always thought the little dots on my nose were blackheads, so I’ve been in a constant battle with them. I need to be nicer to my skin, apparently! :) After coming across your blog and attempting to stop picking/squeezing at my skin, I’ve noticed that my skin is actually fine if I just leave it alone! Thank you <3

  6. Anastasia says

    The US FDA rating system makes a lot more sense to me. Every week or so I will get a nodule but I felt classifying my acne as severe was a bit extreme when there are people with much worse acne but no nodules. Thanks for posting the grading system that you feel works well enough!

  7. bunny says

    O.K tracy when you said you had acne you werent lying….but you got rid of it with candida cleanse. I got of of Birth Control and now have acne problems that are half of what you had but it didn’t work. I only did it for 8 days though. Is there a specific fat/ vegetable/protein ratio to follow. was 8 days just not enough. Thanks so much tracy its this or accutane :)

  8. bunny says

    oh yes i am sorry so many typos i meant to say i tried a strict candida diet for 8 days. and it involved enemas. was that the problem? is 8 days to soon?

    • Tracy says

      Hi Bunny,

      8 days isn’t really enough… you really need to go longer than that… unfortunately you have to be patient with natural healing, it isn’t a quick fix, even if you’re strict.

  9. bunny says

    ok, thanks so much for your reply. well at least I now know it was a matter of not being patient enough. I also did acne free in 3 days which worked well for 2 weeks after but started to come back. So maybe it killed off tiny candidas, but they were still there. OK back to the drawing board 21days-to a month it is

  10. LilyAnne says

    I get whiteheads from having dry skin. If I forget to moisturize, then I’ll get them. Since they’re bigger than the pore and hard, you can’t ‘pop’ them and it takes months for them go away. Argh! Luckily, if I moisturize after washing my face I rarely get them.

  11. Shahy says

    WHITEHEADS THOSE SUCKERS! :@ I have them all over my face, with the occasional one or two pustules that obviousely leave a freakin brown mark. ARGHH What do u suggest topically for them? they NEVER go away!!
    I eat healthy, walk, wash my face with honey and apply aloe vera gel before sleep…What else can I do pleeease ^_^

    Oh and also is exfoliating good or bad for them?

  12. Jenna says

    Tracy,

    Did you find that you went through any kind of a die-off phase when you changed to a healthier diet? Did the candida diet make your acne worse before it made it better?

  13. Jane says

    Hi Tracy,

    First off, thank you SO much for all the information you’ve supplied us with through this website. Reading through many of these comments, I can see you’ve not only given practical, helpful information, but you’ve encouraged so many people. Thank you for being such a blessing!

    Also, I have a question about Pastules. I know you talk about the effects of “picking” at your face and I’ve actually been looking through the ‘stoppickingonme’ website. You have me convinced there… but that doesn’t get rid of the fact that those white, pus-filled pimples are not at all pleasant to look at :) So my question to you is (although I’m sure you must have mentioned it already somewhere-sorry for the repeat) what did you do with pastules? I don’t think I’ve ever left one alone… i usually always just pop it and let it heal. I put some alcohol on it before I left the house this morning… but is there anything you’ve done in the past that you could share with me? I was thinking of trying organic honey (I haven’t been able to find Manuka honey where I live) but thought I’d pass it by you.

    I’m trying really hard not to touch my skin anymore/examine myself… It’s hard though because I have dry, flaky skin too. :( Especially after washing my face. I usually just put on some aloe gel to help it.

    Thanks for your advice!

    • Tracy says

      Hi Jane! :)
      Yep, I understand about the pustules, and I can’t even say that I am able to resist popping them 100% of the time, but usually when I do that it ends up that it wasn’t worth it and I relearn that lesson and go back to not popping them.
      When I first stopped popping my pimples it was very hard to stop, but you just have to have some willpower, because then when you stop picking, it will suck at first, but eventually you will end up having less pustules due to decreased picking and it won’t be so bad, right? And it’s also interesting to see that they do in fact heal… I was like you, and before I had stopped, there was never a time when I had NOT popped them, and had no realization that they actually would dry up on their own. Also, if you find that the whitehead is that “ready to burst”, it will sometimes just come off on its own, either with a tiny scratch of a fingernail, or even just while washing your face…. personally I think this is okay, as I believe squeezing is the most harmful practice.

  14. ankit says

    hello tracy, (first my english is not very good so don’t comment on my english)
    now i just wanna share little story of mine. i also suffring from acne and i always looking for natural way to get rid of this, i haven’t tried doctor medication yet, i was looking for video’s for natural acne treatement and i saw your vedio on youtube. please guide me for my treatement. for me the worst thing of acne is stress. i was very happy before this. i am 20 years old and i just passed my graduation, it’s started at 19, i was still happy but as it got worse, my girlfriend start’s avoiding me and now she left me and she breack every contact fo her to me, but i still love her v much. i only sharing it to you because i’ve read your story and i think that u can understand this. by the way i need help so please guide me to get rid of acne in natural way

    • Tracy says

      Hi Ankit,
      I’m so sorry to hear you’re strugging with acne :( it’s a problem that hurts so much.
      Advising you on treating your acne naturally… well i’m not sure what to say – it’s such a big topic and I already have lots of resources available! You have downloaded my free ebook, I hope? Roadmap to Clear Skin? If not, sign up to get it on the sidebar to the right.

      If youve gone through that, you might be interested in my paid ebook as it has all the advanced info available all in one place, I think it would really help you: http://www.secretstoacnefreedom.com

  15. hina says

    hi tracy…my problem is , i suffered from acne vulgaris ,got treated by doc n went well upto almost 2 yrs …from there actualy skin got worse when i used scrubs to getrid of few blackheads..but ended up with full face covered with blackheads after few weeks …cant seek dermatologist’s help any more n now my skin is like huge pores few open while the rest have blackheads….there is no option left for me …plzz em getting hopeless …help me what to do

    • Tracy says

      Hi Hina… I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. Have you checked out the resources on my site? Download my free ebook (sign up to get it on the right hand sidebar at the top), and it will help you get started with treating your acne with holistic methods – improving your diet, lifestyle etc

  16. veronica says

    hi everyone, i read all the posts a while ago, about stopping birth control pill gradually to avoid acne breakouts.i couldnt find that coloum so i write here.thx 4 everyone who wrote i found it helpful. after 16yrs of takin the pill,i decided to quit,since i turned 30.the last month i cut the pills,3/4 then half then quarter.now its 3.5 weeks im off, and didnt have much acne , just 2 or 3 .i found salicylic acid face wash and tonic helped.now im using spectro jel and tonic.my skin s clear, im very happy. thanks a lot,thanks for having this site!! good health for everyone!

  17. veronica says

    hi Hina, i heard that pores can be removed in size and holes disappear with skin resurfacing ,drastic but works treatment called xylidot,its done w laser, and recovering time s a wk, and they take off skins few layers,so new skin below will grow, which is smooth and imperfection free, also acid peel might work as well.

  18. apple says

    i love this article..it helped me identify what’s in my face…i knew it..whiteheads..

    very informative..thanks

  19. Julia says

    OH.MY.GOD. I just cannot believe that photo of your “old skin”. I would’ve never imagined that, by looking at your skin TODAY. I’m happy you could cure your acne. You’re so beautiful! Congratulations.

    • Tracy says

      I know, it’s weird to think that I really looked like that once!! That picture used to haunt me because of the fear of that coming back, but I’m slowly healing my heart and fears… thank you for the blessings. If you’re on a clear skin journey yourself, I’m sending you lots of love for you to find your way!

  20. audre says

    Hi Tracy <3
    I have a question about blackheads. I have been following your diet tips for more than a month now and the results have been absolutely fantastic on my white heads and pimples and things like that, but my blackheads are so stubborn and haven't gone away at all!
    Before I had encountered your site, I had been using salicylic acid to clear my blackheads, and it was working quite well. I stopped using it once I ran into your site though, because you said it wasn't good to use harsh cleansers, so I tried things like jojoba oil and red clay masks to clear my black heads instead. They didn't work :/
    The salicylic acid was the only thing that was working for me. I know it's really bad for me, but what I really want to do is just use it for a little while, until my blackheads clear up. What do you think? Do you think that short term use of salicylic acid would be ok?

    • Tracy says

      Yes, you’ll probably survive lol. I mean, if it works it works. Yes, it is a bit of chemical, but if it doesn’t bother you then go for it!

  21. Charlie says

    Hi Tracy :)
    Thanks for explaining the types of acne . I’ve a question . Hmmm for few days I’d clear skin , no pimples . But then after that I’ll get more pimples , mainly on my both cheeks . They’re red , fill with pus . I also get blind pimples on my chin . This is driving me crazy ! My doctor’s products seem like not working for my skin . I’m now trying banana peel on my pimples . What can I do ?

  22. khathija says

    Hi Tracy
    I.had clear skin few days a go….bt nw I hve smethng like pimples on my face ….bt I am confused wat it s ….Sme times wen de pimple cmes it doesn’t hurt ….an thn start hurtin badly an Tey dnt go ….ter s absolutely no puss ….it stays fr a wk an thn become scars…I wanna knw if Tey r acne or if Tey r thn wat type of acne it s……an today I had an acne wit puss I used cleaser an after Sme time Sme thing like water smethng like water startd cmin out an I am sure it was nt puss cmin out

  23. Lina says

    Hello(:
    I Am 13 Years Old And I’m A Girl. I Have A Lot Of Blackheads & Whiteheads. I Get A Few Pustules Here &There. I Really Need Help Trying To Get Rid Of My Acne. My Acne Is Worse Tha. a Lot Of People That Are My Age… Please Help!! I Feel Ugly & It Makes Me Sad About How I Look. Sometimes I Don’t Even Wanna Go Outside Because, of My Acne.

  24. Suvd says

    Hello,
    I have in some period time, nodule, around my eyes and eyebrows, and it replacing 3 places always, I think. I really don’t know what should I do for it.

    Then I have a question for:
    You’ve never gotten one of these since you cleaned up your lifestyle!

    I wonder why these nodules come to a face and how could I never see on my face?

    Please help me, hope you guys can offer some ideas!

    Regards.

  25. Suvd says

    Then I forget one thing,

    How did you clean your lifestyle, for example?

    and I haven’t bad habits, smoke, drug or alcohol et cetera….

  26. Mickey says

    Hi Tracy!
    I have a question. A few months back I had a pimple (I have a habit of popping them..) on my face and i kept going at it. Now, it has a sort of mass or hardness to it but not anything too big. And it has a purplish-black tint to it. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I left it alone when it started to hurt and turn into that.. any advice?

  27. Jay says

    Thanks, the article was extremely helpful! I also have a question, i have to pimple but i’m not sure what type they are. One is bigger than the other and they both haven’t formed heads, though i see yellowish stuff in it (gross, i know). Neither hurt. Do you know what type this is, how long it’ll last and how to get rid of it? Thanks again and please reply!

  28. Dre says

    Nodules/Cyst problem right here. I know my own is as a result of diet. Over the past Easter here Jamaica I have been eating bun and cheese a lot. I know I should not be eating the cheese, but just could not resist. Just yesterday, a big old Nodule started creeping up, by the middle of today at work it was itching, painful. When I got home, it continued, I just went to the bathroom and popped it and the white pus fluid flowed out. Yes, it was a relief! Still have another one coming up right now, I can feel it, to the left of my nose. I am gonna cleanse my face and drink a lot of water hoping it will at least calm down by morning. Not betting on it though.

    I notice sugared drinks also aggravates my acne. Been suffering with it since I was 12. It is something that runs in my family though. My mother said my father when he was young had bad acne, so my eldest brother and I inherited it.

    I know if I want to keep my face half decent, I need to resist:
    – oily food (which is next to impossible),
    – cheese cake (been without it for the past 3 months), I would probably would not be able to go out in public :)
    – Mayo (no way I let it near my food),
    – Sugared juices (still can’t resist, if its there, I am going to drink it, sorry).
    – anything with butter.

    I need to eat more bitter food though. It draws attention though, I know when I am in conversation the person I am talking to is actually looking at the big old light bulb. I have a co-worker, she is honest to me about it though. She said I need to stop with the food I am eating. How can I though?

  29. says

    Great job explaining acne, with all the different types it can get very confusing. I completely agree with your classification system, nothing is more frustrating then someone telling you you just have mild acne and try to write you a crappy prescription. No one wants to treat the cause of the acne, just the symptoms.

  30. SREEKAR says

    i may get rid of fat pimples ,,,, i will try to stop poping up,,,,ill drink lot of water which may help me,,, tnks a lot ….

  31. Alexis says

    Hi Tracy, I have struggled with acne for years, and I still haven’t gotten rid of it yet :(
    I have it on my chestand back, so i always wear t-shirts to cover it. I want to be able to wear tank tops out in public and to feel confident and have clear skin.. Its almost summer, and I would love to wear bikini’s at the beach and be able to show my back and chest in a pretty dress top, but I dont know how to get rid of it :(

    It just doesn’t seem to go away.. I dont know if it’ll go away on its own since it hasn’t and its been years. Should I put honey on it just like I would my face, and use jojoba oil on it every morning and night?

    • Tracy says

      I’m so sorry you’re struggling Alexis! My heart is with you. I don’t know if I would bother with doing the whole honey/jojoba thing on your chest and back… you can try it, but I would say just do the caveman thing on it… ie. no body wash… use something natural on your hair instead of chemical shampoo which could be running down and irritating it. But also try improving your lifestyle to be healthier, and maybe go see a naturopath for more guidance

      love x

      • Ontario girl says

        Ok thank you, yeah I havent wore a tank top in public in years :( do you know any good natural products for your hair? I heard about tantes but dont know if any good. And I wear makeup on my face and neck necause I got acne there too so that could go down my neck amd cause my chest to break out too :( I just want clear skin but I dont want to take chemical products. Im also on birth control and I want to get the lady comp birth control

        • ontario girl/Alexis says

          Ontario girl is me (Alexis) just so you know :p yeah I really want to clear it up since summers starting but every year I try to clear it up and it doesnt go away :(

  32. Ashlee says

    Really good article Tracy. This is actually how I found you when I was searching the internet for the different types of acne. I’m so glad I found you :)<3

  33. Annette says

    Hi, I’ve been so depressed lately have tried many products but feel my face is just getting worse..it almost seems like my acne is slowely gettinv worse & I only had 1 or 2 pimples about 4 months ago..I can maybe relate it to stress…passing in my family, my dad recently having a stroke, going thru a divorce..(which we’ve reconciled)..I’m getting frustrated the products that my dermatologist gave me are ok but just drying & a little irritating to my skin..its to thd point where I don’t want to go outside when I do I wear makeup (oil free because my skin is oily)..my husband says you look fine..but doesn’t help I don’t feel fine..I don’t need my skin to be perfect but don’t want to feel anymore like I hate looking at myself in the mirror..it makes me want to cry instantly thinking about it..I’ve been taking a daily vitamin, drinking more water, eating more fruits & veges..use a soap free hypoallergenic face wash..called Purpose..use an alcohol free toner & currently don’t use a moisturizer too much..have extremely oily skin..having a hard time finding one thats not greasy feeling, light, won’t clog my pores, help smooth out my skin..I need some help please..

    • says

      Hi Annette,

      I‘m really sorry to hear that, I definitely can feel your pain! :(

      Have you tried any other lifestyle improvements (cutting out sugar, avoiding trans-fats and omega 6 fatty acids in your diet, exercising, getting enough sleep, fresh air and a little bit of sunshine every day, lowering your stress levels), so that your body is able to fight off toxins and to balance your hormone levels? If not, please do it and please don’t give up too soon. Healing goes in waves, it’ll get worse, then better, then you might break out again as your body clears. However, I‘m sure that your skin will heal and that it will stay clear in the end. Please believe in it. ;)

      And hey, your husband loves you just as you are! That‘s pretty awesome, isn‘t it? :D :D :D

      Have you ever tried raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar as a facial treatment? I found it really helpful when my acne was pretty bad. On the contrary to the article I linked below where it‘s suggested as a toner, I just let the ACV-water mixture sink in for about 30 secs – 1 min and washed it off immediately afterwards. I have very sensitive skin and this way it‘s far less drying and doesn‘t provoke any kind of redness at all. Yet, a very small amount of vinegar will still remain in your pores to keep them clean while killing off bacteria, evening out your skin tone and structure and balancing your sebum production (at least a little bit):
      http://tasty-yummies.com/2013/05/22/how-to-make-your-own-apple-cider-vinegar-facial-toner/
      Apple cider vinegar is chemically related to glycolic acid, which is often used in skin remedies to treat acne.  Glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This in turn allows your skin to be mildly exfoliated, exposing new and fresh skin cells. Just google it to find further information. And try it! It‘s pretty inexpensive, too! You‘ll only have to stick with it for a while. It‘ll take AT LEAST 2 weeks until you‘ll see any results.

      In addition, Tracy’s blog provides loads of free information about how to heal acne and I’m almost certain that there might be an answer to many of your questions. ;)

      In particular, these articles might be interesting for you:

      How to get rid of female hormonal acne:
      http://thelovevitamin.com/6855/treat-female-hormonal-acne/
      I think the combination of milk thistle and DIM works very well. However, personally I wouldn‘t try vitex. It might cause or enhance depression a lot :( and it might even make your acne worse. Read this:
      http://www.henriettesherbal.com/blog/vitex-not-pms.html

      Where you get acne on your face, might give you some clues about what the root cause of it may be:
      http://thelovevitamin.com/5335/where-your-acne-is-and-what-it-looks-like-can-tell-you-whats-causing-it/

      About stress and psychological issues:
      http://thelovevitamin.com/8382/skin-trying-to-tell-you-something/

      Lots of love,
      Svea

  34. April says

    Hi Tracy, I just found your website after doing some acne searches online. I have been getting nodules around my jaw line. Kind of painful but no pus in them. you said you stopped getting them when you cleaned up your lifestyle. What changes did you make? I am a pretty healthy person. Exercise daily, drink a gallon of water every day, I eat pretty clean too, but not perfect. Just wondering, thanks!

  35. Someone says

    Is Simple a good brand to help with my acne? I have acne all over my T-zone. Blackheads on my nose and i think? papules on my forehead and chin. I am really young,in fifth grade. Is Simple a good brand? I use the oil balancing cleansing wipes and the face gel.

  36. hmm says

    Hey, i came across your page while looking for a dermatologist, then I saw your photo “me in a past life” That is how my skin looks but on my cheeks/jaw line. I am a 19 year old female and have been dealing with this for about 7-8 years. I feel like I’m the only one i see everyday with skin like this and it really gets to me, making every day depressing. so my question is, would you suggest a dermatologist? i want to, but i cant seem to find any in my area, plus im embarressed, i guess not as much as i am when i have to work with hundreds of people close up everyday being a barista/cashier. I dont really know my point in this comment but i felt the need to because i still feel like lately, i am the only one who has this disgusting skin.

    • Tracy says

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Sending you big hugs and love, because damn, I know how it feels :( I have lots of resources here on the blog to help you if you want them.

  37. hmm says

    with my previous commment, i have used too many to count products on my skin and none seem to work, i have serious combination skin, dry and flakey, super greasy looking/oily, really red, and lots and lots of scaring, nothing really works, and lately its unbareably itchy.. everyday it makes me want to cry. ranting because know one i know, knows how i feel because no one i know has acne. maybe the odd pimple but nothing at all compared to my skin. how did you gget through each day without crying and wanting to die because of your skin? thats how i feel.

  38. Dustin says

    Idk if the OP still has acne, but maybe this will help others too.

    I had moderate acne for 12yrs (25 now), 3yrs ago I was desperate to find an answer. I tried pro active and murad, no luck. Went to a derm only to find out they wanted me to take $70 of crap on my face (I was looking for something oral). I thought maybe it was my high consumption of marijuana, I quite, no result. I then quite drinking soda and eating sweets, only drank water, still no result. Then I quite smoking, STILL no change!!!

    This was getting frustrating, desperately I searched for answers. Then I found some people’s skin is very sensitive to dairy, manly due to the ridiculous levels of hormones they pump into cows to keep them lactating frequently. I LOVE milk/dairy, but I was willing to try, after every sacrifice I’ve made thusfar it was no challenge. Well, wouldn’t you know it, my face/body dramatically improved. Not entirely, but 70%, then I realized my soap was drying out and clogging my pores with dead skin cells and residue. So I switched to Dove and it cleared my skin 90%. I still have occasional pimples, but nothing spot treatment can’t handle. I can’t completely nix dairy from my diet, cheese and chocolate (occasionally) are a necessity lol. Also, beer can make me breakout.

    Well, I hope this helps someone, cuz it was quite the frustrating journey for me. Made me a better person, still cigarette/420/soda free and couldn’t be happier. Skin may not care, but me teeth and lungs do :).

    Good luck!!!

  39. Joy says

    OMG. This article totally cleared up so many things for me. I’ve never even heard about sebaceous filaments before reading this article and I’d always use my extractor to get these out! Now I know that I shouldn’t. Thanks for the article. I just discovered your site today. Your articles are wonderful and are a huge help since I have oily skin.

  40. Anonymouseeee says

    Hi Tracy!
    I have slight acne and have been attempting to get rid of it for a while now. I’m sure it’s hormonal as I have a healthy diet and do enough exercise. I’ve been on tetracycline tablets for 5 days now, also using differin gel every 3 days. I also use a honey face mask each evening- normal, not manuka. To me, it looks like the pimples have got better, but the skin is really red! It’s not dry though….I don’t squeeze my pimples either. What could be causing the redness? Does it mean the spots are going away? Should I stop using the honey mask?
    Do you have any other tips?
    It would mean a lot to me if you replied back:)
    Thank you;)

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