Blackheads : These are open comedones(clogged hair follicle/pore), where dead skin cells and sebum clog up a hair follicle which is darkened by oxidation with the “head” or opening on the surface of the skin. Hence the name – Blackhead.
Although it can be tempting to “squeeze” the blackhead, it’s best left for the professional who will ensure it’s done hygienically as well as finish off with sterilising the skin so as to avoid inflammation or thepore getting infected.
Whiteheads : these are closed comedones, slightly deeper in the skin. Since they are closed oxidation ( reaction of oil with oxygen)cannot take place , they appear white.
These cannot be squeezed out as the pore is closed and are deeper into the skin. Best to be treated professionally as they may need to be removed with sterilised needle or via electrolysis .
Papules : these are comedones that are inflamed. The appearance is of tiny red or pink bumps on the surface of the skin which maybe tender to touch. Depending on the numbers and area coverage this can be termed as moderate to severe acne.
Picking or squeezing will lead to a worsening of the inflammation and may lead to scarring.
Pustules- these are raised comedones with a white head in the centre with the surrounding skin being red , inflamed and quite painful to touch. The bump is filled with white or yellow pus.
Any attempt to squeeze or pop these at home is strongly discouraged as it will spread the infection, leaving in its wake hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.
Nodules – these are large and inflamed bumps that feel firm to the touch with no white head, they develop deep within the skin and can be quite painful. If untreated these can leave deep acne scarring. The treatment of this will need stronger ingredients and will need a detailed look into the patients history and lifestyle by an advanced skin specialist.
Cysts – large, inflamed, boil like lesions filled with pus and can be very painful. As in the case of nodules, attempt to squeeze/pop will only lead to its spread, hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.
These should be treated by a skilled advanced skin specialist.