A Comprehensive Guide to Acne Types and Treatments: From Blackheads to Cysts

A Comprehensive Guide to Acne Types and Treatments: From Blackheads to Cysts

Acne is the most common skin condition, it's estimated that more than 50 million Americans have acne. This guide will help clear up some of the confusion about what type of acne you might be experiencing and how to treat it.


Blackheads are clogged pores that have oxidized melanin, a skin pigment. They can be removed by professional extractions, but you should never try to do this yourself.

Blackheads are best treated with chemical peels and acne facials as well as salicylic acid or glycolic acid in a leave-on product.


Whiteheads are one of the most common types of acne. They're closed comedones, which means they occur when sebum and dead skin cells block the hair follicles. They look like a whitehead or small raised bump, usually only ever the size of a pinhead.

Whiteheads can be especially hard to treat because they're often deeply embedded within the skin and covered by a little flap of skin in some cases, making them difficult for topical treatments to reach and eliminate completely. If you have very stubborn whiteheads that don't respond well to over-the-counter products (like AHA's or BHA's), you may want to consider getting professional extractions done by a certified aesthetician once a month--it'll help keep your pores clean so they don't get clogged again or stretch the pore.


Papules are small, solid bumps that are red or pink in color. They appear on the surface of the skin and are caused by blocked hair follicles with inflammation present. Papules can be present on the face, neck, chest and back.

Acne facials focusing on reducing inflammation and clarifying will improve overall skin health by removing dead skin cells from clogged pores which will reduce their appearance, prevent future breakouts, and help your skin heal faster. Mandelic acid is also recommended for this type of acne as it helps to treat acne without drying out your skin like other harsh treatments do.


Pustules are small red bumps that contain pus. They can be quite painful, especially when they burst and release their contents. Icing your skin before you go to sleep will help reduce this pain and clear the breakout faster.

Pustules are best treated with benzoyl peroxide (BPO) or an acne facial from an aesthetician who specializes in treatments for acne-prone skin types.


Cysts and nodules are large, painful bumps that form as a result of inflammation or infection. Cysts can be filled with pus, while nodules lay in the deeper layers of the skin.

Cysts/Nodules: Symptoms

  • Painful and tender to the touch

  • Swollen redness around the area

  • Can last for weeks or months if left untreated

Cysts and nodules are best treated by a professional like an aesthetician specializing in acne or dermatologist. Icing these breakouts at home can also be very beneficial.

Learn more about the benefits of skin icing here.  

There is no cure for acne, but there are lots of products and treatments out there that can help reduce the appearance of blemishes and prevent future breakouts.

Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. The good news is there are many products and treatments out there that can help reduce the appearance of blemishes and prevent future breakouts. The bad news is there's no cure for acne; however, with proper treatment from an acne specialist, you can have clear skin in as little as three months.

The best way to treat your acne effectively is through proper skincare products combined with professional treatments like facials or chemical peels. The Vancouver Aesthetician Acne Bootcamp will help you clear your skin in as little as 90 days! We will do a deep dive into your history with acne, skincare, lifestyles and more so we can get to know exactly what products/treatments will work best for YOU!


Now that you know the basics about acne, it's time to find the right treatment for your skin. If you have any questions about anything we've covered here today or would like some advice on what might work best for your particular type of acne, please don't hesitate to reach out! We'd love to help. Book an Acne Consult and let's get you that clear glowing skin you've been dreaming about!

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