Because Acne has many stages and degrees of seriousness, it is helpful to have an understanding of the various types of acne blemishes and the corresponding level of seriousness of the acne causing the problem. Some forms of acne are relatively mild and others indicate deep infection of pores and their related glands. Listed below are various levels of blemishes. They are presented in order that the reader may inspect any skin blemish that appears on them and determine the seriousness of their problem, if any.
The first type of blemish that we will discuss is the Soft Closed Comedone. It is the lowest level of non irritated blemish. Soft closed comedones present themselves as bumpiness on the skin’s surface. They are not painful or red. Soft closed comedones develop when a plug of cellular debris and oil becomes trapped within the pore and and is covered by a layer of dead skin cells. The oil plug itself remains liquid or soft.
The second type of blemish is Hard Closed Comedones. They are called milia. These have very obvious white heads. Unlike pustules, milia are not red or painful. They are especially common in the eye area. Hard Closed Comedones develop just as their soft counterparts do. The difference is that the impaction has hardened and is similar to a grain of sand. The white head is not pus, but rather, a mass of dead cells and sebum (oil).
Open Comedones are the next type of blemish. The Open Comedone, or blackhead is easy to identify by its dark brown to black surface coloring. A blackhead is an accumulation of dead skin cells and sebaceous matter within the follicle. It’s top is not covered by a layer of dead skin cells, but instead is exposed to air. The black coloring is not dirt. Air causes the oil to darken much like an apple turns brown when exposed to air.
Microcomedones are the final group of skin blemishes. A microcomedone is the very beginning of an acne lesion. It occurs when the sebaceous duct and pore opening becomes becomes blocked by excess sebum and dead skin cells. Every blemish begins as a microcomedo. Most acne sufferers have many micromedomes but they are often too small to be seen with the naked eye.
With this background the reader can self examine their skin and determine if they have acne and also identify the type or types of blemishes from which they are suffering. Once the identification is made the reader can determine the type of treatment which is most appropriate.