Comedonal Acne: The mildest type of acne is called comedonal acne. Adolescents may frequently develop this type of acne, and occasionally it is seen in patients as young as 7 or 8 years of age. This type of acne is made up of small plugged follicles, or comedos, that can be further classified as open comedos or closed comedos. Comedos are created when the pilosebaceous unit becomes plugged with skin and oil. 


Inflammatory Acne: This type of acne is slightly more severe, and it is caused when white blood cells are attracted to the plugged follicle to try to fight bacteria present. The wall of the follicle eventually breaks down, and all the action then spills into the surrounding skin resulting in redness and inflammation. Inflammatory acne is made up of lesions known as papules, pustules, and nodules. Papules are small bumps under the surface of the skin that are red and inflamed and usually smaller than 5 mm. Pustules are bumps that are filled with pus in the center. Nodules are usually larger than 5 mm, and they are also red, inflamed bumps under the skin. Inflammatory acne often will need systemic medications to help it.

Cystic acne: When nodules and cysts start coming together to make up the predominant type of lesion, it is commonly referred to as cystic acne. Cystic acne is the type that notoriously leaves behind acne scars. It can be associated with depression, social isolation, and low self-esteem. The treatment of choice for cystic acne isotretinoin, and this medication can be very effective in both preventing new acne and preventing the formation of scars.