Severe Types of Acne: What You Need to Know

Severe AcneSevere types of acne are types of acne that cannot easily be hidden. This form of acne is not only extremely noticeable, it’s also painful. If you have severe acne you will likely know it because your skin will have a lot of inflammation. This is different from mild forms of acne because you will have more redness, more papules, pustules, nodules, cysts and comedones. If you have a lot of blemishes that are deep and painful, then you likely have severe acne. You may also see acne appear on your neck, chest, shoulders and other areas of your body besides your face.

What are Papules and Pustules?

Papules are small red bumps that are easily seen on the surface of the skin. Pustules are the same as papules, only they have puss in the heads of them that appear white in color.

What are Nodules?

Nodules are acne lesions that you can feel underneath your skin. These are painful to touch and occur when the follicle wall breaks deep down inside. From here, the dermis gets infected along with other follicles that are in the same area. This creates the bump and is why these are so painful to touch.

What are Comedones?

Otherwise known as blackheads, comedones happen when the hair follicle gets oil and dead skin cells trapped in it.

What are Cysts?

When there is a really deep rupture in the wall of a hair follicle, it will spill matter into the dermis. These will then create a large lesion that inflames the skin and creates a big lump under the surface of the skin.


Treatment is absolutely essential for severe forms of acne. Without treatment you will likely end up with scarring that lasts for the rest of your life. Some treatment options a dermatologist may off include: over-the-counter treatments, oral medication and prescription topical treatments. More information about severe acne and its treatments can be found on the Massachusetts General Hospital website.

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