Expert Reveals The Six Types Of Pimples And How To Treat Them

Many of us get a pimple here and there, regardless of our age and skin type, with 95 percent of people aged 11 to 30 suffering from acne to some degree, according to the NHS.

So if you’re tired of a few pimples, or are really struggling with acne, it can be helpful to know that not all pimples are created equal and therefore require a different treatment to get rid of them.

Celebrity Cosmetic Doctor, Dr. Ginni Mansberg, best known as the family doctor on Sunrise, Australia’s leading breakfast show, explains that there are six types of pimples.

She explains that correctly identifying your pimples is essential to seeking the right treatment.

Here Femail reveals the six types of pimples and shares Dr. Mansberg’s advice on how to tackle them:

1. SURFACE Pimples

Superficial pimples are the most common type of pimple and often disappear within a few days. However, you can try a mild skin cleanser (stock image)

dr. Ginni Mansberg says these are the most common and that “many of us will only have these types of pimples.” †

They often disappear within a few days, disappear without a scar and usually don’t add up,” she adds.

How to treat them:

“Cleanse with a mild skin cleanser,” she advised. ‘Look for a pH-balanced, soap-free cleanser and cleanse twice a day to remove sebum, dirt and microorganisms.

‘Alpha-hydroxy acids will break the bonds between clumped skin cells, allowing them to be removed effectively but gently.

‘Vitamin B3 AKA Niacinamide is another ingredient that has evidence for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, as well as reduced sebum or oil production.

‘It can also improve that important skin barrier function by preventing water loss through the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin). Since many acne sufferers have dry skin which is the root of their oil overproduction, this can also be helpful for acne.”

2. COMEDONES

Open comedones are blackheads.  The color is due to surface pigmentation and not dirt.  Whiteheads appear when the follicle is completely blocked and the skin has grown over the top (stock image)

Open comedones are blackheads. The color is due to surface pigmentation and not dirt. Whiteheads appear when the follicle is completely blocked and the skin has grown over the top (stock image)

“Open comedones are blackheads where the top of the pimple is black because of surface pigmentation (not dirt!),” explains Dr. Mansberg.

“Closed comedones are blackheads where the follicle is completely blocked and the skin has grown over the top.”

How to treat them:

‘Vitamin A (retinoids) are the absolute best for acne treatment and pimple prevention. Retinoids help increase skin cell turnover to prevent excessive build-up of dead skin cells. They are comedolytic (breaking pimples) and they are anti-inflammatory.

“Of the over-the-counter retinoids, retina (also known as retinaldehyde) is the most effective and least irritating form of vitamin A. Prescription retinoids often cause irritation, redness, dryness, and even scaling.”

3. PAPULES

Pauples are soft red bumps with no visible pus.  You can try vitamin A, salicylic acid to treat them, as it is an exfoliator, with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-comedogenic properties (stock image)

Pauples are soft red bumps with no visible pus. You can try vitamin A, salicylic acid to treat them, as it is an exfoliator, with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-comedogenic properties (stock image)

According to Dr. Ginni Mansberg, papules are “small, tender red bumps with no apparent pus.”

How to treat them:

“In addition to vitamin A, salicylic acid can also be a useful addition,” she said.

“It’s an exfoliator, with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticomedogenic properties that all give it a really good role in fighting acne.”

4. PUSTEL

Pustules are pimples that contain pus.  You can squeeze them out if you're careful, but if it doesn't work right away, stop (stock image)

Pustules are pimples that contain pus. You can squeeze them out if you’re careful, but if it doesn’t work right away, stop (stock image)

Unlike papules, “pustules are pimples that do contain pus,” explains Dr. Mansberg.

How to treat them:

“If your blackhead, whitehead, or pimple doesn’t hurt or is inflamed, you CAN squeeze it. But be careful.

Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and gently use a blackhead extractor. If it doesn’t work right away, abandon ship!’ she warned.

5. DEEPER PIMPLES

Deeper pimples are often more severe acne and are in skin already affected by superficial pimples (stock image)

Deeper pimples are often more severe acne and are in skin already affected by superficial pimples (stock image)

These indicate more severe acne and are often in skin already affected by superficial pimples.

‘If you look at them under a microscope, they extend beyond the dermis into the subcutaneous layer below the dermis,’ explains Dr Ginni Mansberg. “They last for weeks and often leave a scar.”

How to treat them:

‘Treatment for modular cystic acne is oral vitamin A, known as Accutane. You have to work on it for at least five months, often much longer.

“For a large cyst or nodule, a doctor can drain it with a needle and inject some steroid into the nodule to reduce the inflammation and pain.”

6. BUTTONS AND CYSTS

Nodules are deeper and tend to be harder and more painful than typical pimples.  You can try a leave-on mask, but many require the intervention of a dermatologist (stock image)

Nodules are deeper and tend to be harder and more painful than typical pimples. You can try a leave-on mask, but many require the intervention of a dermatologist (stock image)

Nodules are deeper pimples that can involve more than one follicle. They feel harder, are painful and red,” says Dr. Ginni.

“They tend to come with cysts that contain large fluid (pus) containing nodules, and are usually larger than 5mm in diameter, although the two terms are often used interchangeably.”

Every pimple is caused by the same problem where you get a buildup of oil plus excess skin and dirt blocking the pore and causing inflammation. This is a perfect breeding ground for bad actor bacteria like Cutebacterium Acnes (or C. Acnes)

How to treat them:

“For a throbbing lump or cyst, don’t squeeze. Some ice or a cold compress can help reduce pain, redness, and swelling for some symptom relief. Ice can be wrapped in a cloth and used on clean skin for 30 seconds at a time.

“You can try a topical salicylic acid mask, such as the Hydroxy Overnight Mask, or a dissolving microneedle patch, such as Spotless, but most require medical intervention,” explains Dr. Mansberg.

Leave a Comment