Acne Lesions

The Different Types of Acne Lesions

Acne lesions are physical changes in the body’s skin tissue resulting from diseases in the skin’s sebaceous follicle. They are symptoms of a skin condition known as acne.

Acne lesions will typically appear on the face as the sebaceous glands on this part of the skin is very active.

However it is not surprising to find them on other parts of the body too as long as there are sebaceous glands.

This includes the neck, the chest, the back, the shoulders, the scalp, the upper arms and the legs.

The lesions caused by acne vary in severity. The mildest forms are comedones, also known as whiteheads and blackheads.

At the other end of the spectrum, nodules and cysts are very severe and serious forms of acne spots.

Here are some brief descriptions of the various types of acne lesions:


Comedones refer to sebaceous follicles that are clogged with sebum, dead skin cell and bacteria.

If the clogged pore is closed up and the skin bulges, then the condition is known as whiteheads. Whiteheads appears as a bump on the skin.

As the clogged sebum is not exposed to the air, it is not oxidized and does not turn black. It may be skin-coloured or slightly inflamed.

For more information on whiteheads, the cause, prevention and effective removal, read this article.


Unlike whiteheads, the trapped sebum and bacteria in a blackhead is partially open and the surface of the plug in the follicle turn black due to oxidation.

If you are prone to blackheads, it can be quite frustrating as they tend to grow in big numbers on certain parts of the face in particular around the nose or on the foreheads.

A lot of patience is required as the blackheads may remain for very long as the contents take a long time to drain to the surface.

For more information on blackheads, the cause, prevention and effective removal, read this article


Papules are small solid lesions caused by localized cellular reactions to the process of acne. They appear as small, pink bumps that are slightly elevated above the surface of the skin. They are tender to the touch.

A group of very small papules and microcomedones may be almost invisible but have a “sandpaper” feel to the touch.

For more information on papules, the cause, prevention and effective removal, read this article


Pustules are small, dome-shaped acne lesions containing pus. They are reddish at the base and can be pretty fragile.

Pus is typically a mixture of white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

Pustules are very commonly seen in people with acne conditions. It may occur anywhere but commonly found on the face, shoulder and back.

For more information on pustules, the cause, prevention and effective removal, read this article


A pimple is also commonly called a zit or a spot. It is a milder kind of acne. The person suffering from pimples will have papules and pustules appearing on various parts of the body but most commonly on the face, back and shoulders.

Pimples that heal and do not progress to the more severe or cystic form of acne will usually leave no scars.

For more information on pimples, the cause, prevention and effective removal, read this article


When an acne lesion has healed, it will leave behind a red spot known as a macule. The appearance of a macule is flat, red or reddish pink in colour and has a well defined border.

Patience is required as macules can be quite persistent. It may not disappear until days or weeks later. When there are several macules present at any one time, it can contribute to an ” inflamed” appearance.


Similar to a papule, a nodule is a solid acne lesion. It could be dome-shaped or irregularly-shaped.

However, compared to a papule, a nodule is a more severe form of acne that is severely inflamed. The inflammation extends deep into the inner layers of the skin. It can cause destruction of the skin tissue and may result in scarring. Nodules can be very painful.

If you do suffer from such a severe form of acne, you may want to see a dermatologists for a medical diagnosis and prescription drugs such as isotretinoin or accutane.


A cyst is similar to a pustule as in it is a sac-like acne lesion with pus. Pus is liquid or semi-liquid material make up of white blood cells, dead cells, and bacteria.

However a cyst is larger in size compared to a pustule and may be severely inflamed. The inflammation may extend deep into the inner layers of the skin.

Like nodules, it can be very painful, and can result in scarring.

Nodulocystic acne is a severe form of acne where cysts and nodules often appear together. Very often dermatologist will use accutane or isotretinoin to treat it.

Skin Care for People with Acne

The key to skin care for people with acne is to have a strict skin care regime.

Maintain a good skin care routine, use appropriate good skin care products that have been formulated for acne prone skins and your skin condition will improve.

This article will help you to formulate a facial skin care routine that is appropriate for your skin type.