Types of acne

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. 1 

Blackheads = Open at the surface of your skin, giving them a black appearance because of oxygen in the air

Whiteheads = Closed just under the surface of your skin, giving them a white appearance

Papules = Small, red, raised bumps caused my inflamed or infected hair follicles

Pustules = Small red pimples that have pus at their tips

Cysts = Large lumps found beneath your skin that contains pus and are usually painful

Nodules = Solid, often painful lumps beneath the surface of your skin 2

Why and where do we get acne?

Human skin has pores that connect to oil glands under the skin. Follicles connect the glands to the pores. Follicles are small sacs that produce and secrete liquid. The glands produce an oily liquid, called sebum. Sebum carries dead skin cells through the follicles to the surface of the skin. A small hair grows through the follicle out of the skin. Pimples grow when these follicles get blocked, and oil builds up under the skin. Skin cells, sebum, and hair can clump together into a plug. This plug gets infected with bacteria, and swelling results. A pimple starts to develop when the plug begins to break down. 3


  • Excess oil production
  • Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
  • Bacteria
  • Inflammation

What can trigger or worsen acne:

  • Medications that contain androgen and lithium
  • Oily cosmetics
  • Hormonal changes
  • Emotional stress
  • Menstruation
  • Diet high in refined sugars
  • Genetics

Acne typically appears on your face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders because these areas of skin have the most oil (sebaceous) glands. Hair follicles are connected to oil glands. 4

Social Media + Fact Check

Not everything you see on social media is real. Pictures are often photoshopped and retouched. Using filters to smoothen our skin have become the new normal. It can be extremely difficult to differentiate between real and retouched skin. We edited 4 pictures for you to see how easy it is to change reality.

Body positive influencers


Mik Zazon she/her


Permission to show up as you are



Isabella | Acne + Self love she/her

I’m grateful you’re here

PCOS ~ Body Image ~ Real Skin ~ Skincare

London/Kent GB

West Kent Radio Presenter

Stories about acne

Information / Text Sources