Acne Vulgaris is the most common form of acne which includes several types of pimples. These acne lesions include blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.
Whiteheads: Whiteheads result when a pore is completely blocked, trapping sebum (oil), bacteria, and dead skin cells, causing a white appearance on the surface. These types of acne lesions sometimes seem to be begging to be popped.
Blackheads: Blackheads result when a pore is only partially blocked, allowing some of the trapped sebum (oil), bacteria, and dead skin cells to slowly drain to the surface. The black color is not caused by dirt. Rather, it is a reaction of the skin’s own pigment, melanin, reacting with the oxygen in the air. A blackhead tends to be a stable structure, and can often take a long time to clear.
Papules: Papules are small, red, tender bumps with no head. Do not squeeze a papule. It will do no good, and may exacerbate scarring.
Pustules: A pustule is similar to a whitehead, but is inflamed, and appears as a red circle with a white or yellow center. Pustules are your garden variety “zit”. Before you pop or squeeze such a lesion.
Nodules: As opposed to the lesions mentioned above, nodular acne consists of acne spots which are much larger, can be quite painful and can sometimes last for months. Nodules are large, hard bumps under the skin’s surface. Scarring is common. Absolutely do not attempt to squeeze such a lesion. You may cause severe trauma to the skin and the lesion may last for months longer than it normally would. Dermatologists often have ways of lessening swelling and preventing scarring.
Cysts: An acne cyst can appear similar to a nodule, but is pus-filled, and has been described as having a diameter of 5mm or more across. They can be painful. Again, scarring is common with cystic acne. Squeezing an acne cyst may cause a deeper infection and more painful inflammation which will last much longer than if you had left it alone. Dermatologists often have ways of lessening swelling and preventing scarring.