Types of acne

Here we discuss what types of acne all exist and what is also sometimes mislabeled as acne.

Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne is one of the most well-known forms of acne. The number one cause of acne is hormones, especially hormonal fluctuations. We therefore speak of hormonal acne. So what hormones cause these flare-ups? Androgenic hormones, including testosterone, act as a stimulant for the sebaceous glands. Hormones are the main cause of acne. Not surprisingly, most suffer from pimples during puberty, before menstruation, during pregnancy but also much later, during menopause. Acne thus pops up at different ages, whenever hormonal levels are disturbed. We look at the condition from our background as dermatologists. Read more about hormonal acne here.

Comedonal acne

Not all acne manifests as red pimples. Comedonal acne is acne that consists of blackheads, or comedones. Identified by whiteheads or blackheads, this form of acne occurs when the follicles or pores become clogged with sebum, but not to the extent that they are inflamed or painful. Of course, that's not to say that comedonal acne can't have an impact on your daily life. You can see your dermatologist for this, too, and treatment plans exist.

Cystic acne

Among the severe forms of acne is cystic acne. The pimples here are actually cysts and can be recognized as red bumps deep in the skin. This form of acne is very painful when touched, but it can hurt even without touching. So how is cystic acne different from an inflamed sebaceous gland? The inflammation in cystic acne is much deeper in the skin. Such intense inflammation and consequently swelling also damages the healthy skin around the affected area, and gives rise to acne scarring.

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne in which deep, inflamed and pus-filled cysts form under the skin. It is characterized by large, painful bumps that are often red and swollen. Cystic acne occurs when the pores become clogged with dead skin cells, sebum and bacteria, causing an inflammatory reaction that results in the formation of cysts.

This form of acne usually affects the face, but can also occur on other parts of the body, such as the back, chest, shoulders and neck. Cystic acne is often associated with hormonal changes, such as those during puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause. Hormonal imbalance can lead to increased sebum production, which in turn increases the likelihood of cystic acne.

Treating cystic acne can be challenging and often requires a combination of different approaches. A dermatologist may suggest several treatment options, including prescription medications such as antibiotics, retinoids or hormonal therapy. In addition, topical treatments, such as the application of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, can help reduce inflammation. In some cases, cysts may require drainage or injections of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

It is important to note that treatments for cystic acne take time before noticeable improvements occur. It is advisable to maintain regular contact with a dermatologist to monitor progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan if necessary. It is also important to maintain good skin care habits, such as cleansing the skin regularly, avoiding squeezing pimples and using non-comedogenic products.

Acne conglobata

Acne conglobata is also a severe but less common form of acne, in which the inflammation of the sebaceous glands is particularly severe and fever may develop. You are quite happy with quiet white or black black blackheads in this form of acne, because typical of acne conglobata are the large abscesses (pus-filled cavities). These cause pain and scarring after the acne has healed.

Acne conglobata is a severe form of acne characterized by the presence of deep, inflamed and painful cysts, nodules and abscesses on the skin. It is a rare and complex form of acne that is common in men and can lead to significant physical and emotional discomfort. This condition is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including hormonal fluctuations and genetic predisposition.

Treatment of acne conglobata is often challenging and requires a multidisciplinary approach. A dermatologist may suggest several treatment options, including medications such as isotretinoin, antibiotics, corticosteroids and hormonal therapy. In addition, physical treatments such as squeezing cysts and applying topical medications may be used. However, it is important to note that treatment for acne conglobata can often be lengthy and results can vary from individual to individual. Therefore, it is essential to maintain regular contact with a dermatologist to monitor progress and discuss any adjustments to the treatment plan.

Acne tarde (late onset acne)

Acne, of course, can also occur after age 25. We then speak of late onset acne or acne tarda (adult acne). This acne is very similar to hormonal acne, but you will notice fewer blackheads. In acne tarda, we see a hormonal cause: women who stop taking the pill, who use a hormone IUD, or have PCO (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome) or men who take supplements. But there is also often a hereditary cause: in almost half of those struggling with adult acne, the mother or father also suffered (or had suffered) from it.

What are not forms of acne?


Rosacea is a skin condition that has some of the same symptoms as acne. Think inflamed bumps, redness and irritation, but these are not caused by clogged sebaceous glands. With rosacea, the symptoms occur mainly on the cheeks and around the nose, as if you are blushing.

Yeast pimples

rash caused by the amount of yeast in the hair follicles. This inflames the hair follicle and creates itchy pimples. They often arise in groups, are about the same size (like a pinhead) and itchy, in this way you can distinguish them from acne vulgaris.These conditions differ in cause and symptoms and thus require different treatment.

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Do you prescribe rocaccutane?

Yes, in severe forms of acne, your treatment may switch to isotretinoin, the active ingredient in roaccutane. However, we rarely start a course with isotretinoin: we always choose the treatment that may have the fewest side effects first. Where you start in the spectrum, from light to heavy treatment, depends on the severity of your acne.

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