By knowing your acne type, it’s easier to find out the cause and solution for your breakouts. 

As we know the cause of acne is multi-factorial. Hormones definitely play a big role but there’s also:

  • genetic
  • cosmetics
  • medication (including birth control)
  • fungal infection
  • and many more

Depending on what you have, we can distinguish the severity. 

Of course, saying that how it affects each individual is so variable and subjective so take this as merely a way to categories the severity from purely a visual perspective. 

You have MILD ACNE if you have:

  • fewer than 20 whiteheads or blackheads
  • fewer than 15 inflamed bumps or
  •  fewer than 30 total lesions

*Mild acne is usually treated with topical products and can easily be treated at home with food and lifestyle changes.


You have MODERATE ACNE if you have:

  • 20-100 whiteheads or blackheads
  • 15-50 inflamed bumps
  • 30-125 total lesions

*Moderate acne MAY need working alongside a skin specialist.


You have SEVERE ACNE if you have:

  • multiple inflamed cysts and nodules
  • acne lesions turning deep red or purple, often leaving scars

Severe acne OFTEN requires partnering with a skin specialist to prevent scarring or pigmentation and finding a long-term solutions.

Then list the types of acne with the pictures. 


Open comedones where a plug of sebum and dead skin cells get clogged in the hair follicle, darkened by oxidation (reaction of the oil with oxygen). It normally has a “head” or opening on the surface of the skin.


A whitehead is a closed comedome, similar to a blackhead but where a piece of skin covers the surface so it avoids oxidation and remains white. There is no opening on the skin.


Papules are comedomes that become inflames, forming small red or pink bumps on the skin. They may be tender to touch and picking or squeezing them can make inflammation worse and may indicate moderate to severe acne.


Pustules are like whiteheads but with a red ring around the bump (a sign of inflammation). The bump is filled with white or yellow pus. Picking at pustules can cause scars or dark spots to develop on the skin.


Nodules are large, inflamed bumps that feel firm to touch. They develop deep within the skin and often painful. It often indicates an internal element and if you went to a conventional doctor, you would be prescribed medication for it.


Cyst are large pus-filled lesions that look similar to boils. These are painful and should be treated by a skin specialist. If you have modules and cyst, you are considered to have more severe form of acne.

What acne type do you mainly have? What has worked and what hasn’t in clearing it?

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To your best self,

Dr Terry