PIMPLES! Reserved for hormonal teenagers, and never for those over 25, right?! WRONG! Whether you're prone to spots or not, we all get them from time to time, no matter how old we are, or how well we look after our skin. Big ones, little ones and sore ones - they're an irritating part of life. But when you do get a spot, do you know what type it is, and how best to treat it?
Well, luckily for you, we've listed the different types of pimples you can get (did you know there's SIX?!) and how best to cure them, ensuring you don't damage your skin or bring on more of a breakout. Read on to find out more!
These are the ones most of us will recognise. They’re the common little spots caused by a build-up of sebum and dead cells, which sit at the top layer of your skin. Those of us with oilier skin are more susceptible to whiteheads, but they can be easily fought with correct exfoliation and a thorough cleansing routine. Whiteheads are known as 'closed comedo' (all pimples start out as a comedo) - and providing they don't get infected or worsen, they disappear within a few days and leave no trace or scar behind.
Blackheads are effectively ‘plugs’ of sebum, skin cells and bacteria which form a larger build-up over time. They are very similar to whiteheads, but instead, the dirt builds up inside your pores for longer. They're also known as an open comedo, and because it’s open, it has been oxidized by the air, giving them their dark color. You can treat blackheads in the same way you do whiteheads, with regular cleansing or exfoliation, but they may need a bit longer to clear. Clay masks also work really well if you're always prone to blackheads, as they draw out impurities from deeper layers of the skin.
A papule is a raised bump on your skin, and usually you’ll get a few at the same time which group to form a rash (dermatitis, eczema etc). The area around a papule is normally swollen and sore, which makes them more painful than whiteheads or blackheads to treat. Use drying lotions, clays or spot treatments to clear these ones, and be sure not to squeeze or push the infection around.
Famed by Dr Pimple Popper, pustules are zits which have come to the surface and formed a whitehead on top (but it isn’t a ‘whitehead’). A pustule is inflamed and full of puss, whereas a whitehead is just a plugged hair follicle. These are the ones you’re ok to pop, and they’re unlikely to leave you with a scar. Squeeze these gently (if they’re ready to pop) to remove any excess oils, dirt and puss, and then treat with an antiseptic cream to avoid infection. Keep the area clean and don't cover with makeup until it's healed.
You’ll know if you have a cyst, because you’ll feel it growing before you even see it. They lie much deeper in the skin and happen when pores are blocked and then become infected. The best thing you can do with cysts is keep the area clean and regularly exfoliate, but take care, as the area will be painful. You can also use ice on the cyst so it restricts the blood vessels and decreases the inflammation. Anti-inflammatories are also useful when you have a cystic pimple, as they reduce the tender, inflamed tissue around the area.
Nodules are the most severe form of acne. They’re not filled with puss in the same way cystic pimples are, but they’re a bump that sits deep beneath the surface and feels very painful. Sometimes they’re not even red and can appear the same color as your skin. For these, you’ll need to head to your dermatologist, so you can take antibiotics or other oral treatments to clear the infection. Laser treatment can also work well on these, as well as UV light treatments. Speak to your doctor about the best options if you suffer from Nodules.