I’m a skin expert and here’s what your different spots mean

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I’m a skin expert and here’s what your different spots mean

YOU spend weeks getting excited for a night on the town or even that special date. Then out of nowhere, an ugly spot rears its head, making you

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YOU spend weeks getting excited for a night on the town or even that special date.

Then out of nowhere, an ugly spot rears its head, making you stressed and wondering how you will manage to cover it up.

Spots come in different shapes and sizes and the images above show what blackheads, whiteheads and pustules look like
You might suffer with papules, nodules or cysts, shown above

While you can always use concealer, experts have revealed the different types of spots, what they mean and why we have them.

Speaking to The Sun, skincare specialist Susie Bridgeman-Sutton said that firstly, we need to understand there there are two types of acne.

These are non-inflammatory acne which includes blackheads and whiteheads.

Susie, who is an expert at Thunderbird Skin, said that these types of spots don’t cause swelling and respond best to over the counter treatments.

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She added that cleansers and toners work best on non-inflammatory acne – of which there are two types, blackheads and whiteheads.

Blackheads

Blackheads, Susie said, are a common type of comedo, or blocked pore.

“When the pores are clogged with an oily substance known as sebum and filled with dead skin cells, they react with oxygen in the air and turn black.

“Hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills etc, can all trigger an excess level of sebum production, and  therefore blackheads.


“If you live in a hot country and experience high levels of humidity  and sweating, this can also cause your pores to get clogged easier.”

If you cover your pores with heavy makeup or clothing this can result in dead skin cells getting trapped in your skin, which in turn Susie said can form blackheads.

She added: “Steroid-based drugs such as corticosteroids can result in  blackheads or even steroid acne, sometimes you are better off using specialised skincare with non-greasy formulas to help troubled skin.”

Whiteheads

These are probably one of the most unsightly spots and Susie said that these form when a pore gets clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

But unlike blackheads, with whiteheads the top of the pores close up.

“It looks like a small bump protruding from the skin.

“To treat,  you want to use soothing natural cleansing bars which can help with the disinfection and drying out of whiteheads.

“Skincare that provides daily natural exfoliation can also help remove impurities and reduce pores.

“Be careful with the skincare products you choose for this, as too much harsh exfoliation can scar your skin and aggravate existing acne”.

Next up is inflammatory acne, and Susie explained that red, swollen pimples fall into this category.

How to prevent spots forming

Bruce said there are eight things you can do to stop spots forming.

  1. Wash your face but don’t overdo it – no more than twice a day. Use a mild, non-alcoholic cleanser. Use warm water and gently rinse thoroughly – SOS Cleanse is perfect as your go-to cleanser. 
  2. Know your skin type. Oily skin is more susceptible to pimples. For combination skin – find the T – Zone which is the forehead, nose and chin. Use only non-comedogenic products – formulated not to block pores.
  3. Use a quality moisturiser with a minimum of SPF 30. Avoid perfumed products and petrochemical ingredients and look for a short ingredient list.
  4. Stay hydrated. If you become dehydrated, your skin sends signals to your glands to produce more oil.
  5. Limit make up. It’s tempting to cover spots and pimples – don’t. You will block the pores and make things worse.
  6. Limit sun exposure. Frequent sun exposure dehydrates the skin and can cause it to produce more oil and block pores
  7. Don’t touch your face. Grime and surface bacteria can easily be transferred to your face, and increase the risk of infection. Popping pimples can cause bleeding and make scarring much worse. It can also increase inflammation and clog surrounding pores.
  8. A healthy lifestyle and exercise such as daily walking can also help. Protect your skin prior to outdoor activity with a mineral based, fragrance-free SPF 50 protectant.

They can be caused by sebum and dead skin cells, but sometimes bacteria can get in the pores and cause an infection.

Susie said that inflammatory acne is often painful, with itching, peeling, scarring, and burning sensations as a side effect.

She added: “In many cases, those with inflammatory acne may have to visit their dermatologist or GP for additional help.

“However, with soothing, calming, and natural skincare, inflammatory acne can be eradicated or lessened.”

Papules (Pimples with no pus!)

When the walls around your pores break down from severe inflammation, you get papules, Susie said.

“These are tender, pink bumps that form on the skin around clogged pores.

“Papules can be caused by inflamed or infected hair follicles, bacteria, excess oil production or male sex hormones known as androgens.

“These pimples typically heal on their own between 3-7 days,  but this process can be sped up using oil-reducing cleansing balms that can lift impurities  and resurface the skin.

“Weekly face masks with AHA+BHA ingredients are also great for  preventing acne from coming back,” Susie explained.

Pustules (Pimples with pus) 

Pustules are spots that are filled with pus and are often red in colour with yellow or white heads on top.

These can form as allergic reactions to food, environmental aggressors, insect bites, hormonal changes, excessive stress or lack of proper nutrition.

Susie advised that face creams with with ingredients such as  Hyaluronic Acid, Rosehip and Centella can help reduce the appearance of acne, protect the skin barrier and prevent pustules from coming back.  

Nodules (acne deep underneath the skin)

Chartered Chemist and founder of SOS skincare Bruce Green said that nodules are hard lumps that are hard to the touch and often painful.

He said that they reside under the skin’s surface and are more persistent than other types of spots, making them more difficult to get rid of.

Bruce explained: “Some may remain for weeks or even months and often require treatment prescribed by a healthcare provider.

“It is usually more common in those assigned male at birth and can be caused by hormones, stress and anxiety, certain medications, excessive sweating and genetics.

“It’s highly likely that scarring will occur with this type of spot.”

Cysts (acne deeper than nodules)

The most severe type of acne spot are cysts which Bruce said are large pus-filled lumps that can appear on the face, back and chest and can be extremely painful.

“They can look similar in appearance to boils and is more likely to form in a person’s teens or early twenties.

“Because of how it forms, cystic acne carries the greatest risk of acne scarring that can lead to emotional distress for the sufferer.

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Hormonal changes and certain medical conditions are the most likely culprits of cystic acne forming.

“Like nodular acne, cystic acne often requires treatment by a healthcare provider,” he added.

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