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Types of Skin Blemishes

author image Christina Dambra
Christina Dambra is a licensed esthetician with several years of experience in dermatology and cosmetology and holds advanced certification in microdermabrasion, lasers and chemical peels. She specializes in holistic health counseling, with expertise in organic skin care and whole food supplementation. Dambra holds a degree in business administration and is a writer for eHow and LIVESTRONG.
Types of Skin Blemishes
Young girl looking in the mirror with a blemish on her head Photo Credit: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

Skin blemishes occur in more than 80 percent of adolescents, says the experts at Acne and other types of skin blemishes, such as blackheads, papules, and pustules, are caused by blocked hair follicles, usually due to dead skin cells on the epidermis. The oil glands in the skin try to release oil and toxins through the pores and if the pores are blocked, acne and skin blemishes can form.

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Blackheads are a type of acne vulgaris, that if untreated, can remain under the skin. Some typical causes of blackheads are the usage of topical oils and skin care products containing mineral oil, dimethicone or other occlusive ingredients. Blackheads can be treated with steam and exfoliants and can be extracted by a licensed professional.


Papules appear as slightly raised reddish-hued bumps on the surface of the skin. Papules are oil glands that are clogged with bacteria and become infected, resulting in the inflammation that is a pimple. Like blackheads, papules are the result of dead skin cells inhibiting the release of oil through the pores and by the use of certain skin care products. Papules can be treated with steam, salicylic acid, lactic acid, benzoyl peroxide and extraction by a licensed skin therapist.


Pustules appear as large, inflamed red lumps on the skin surface. Pustules, like papules and blackheads, are caused by a buildup of bacteria under the skin, which becomes inflamed and filled with pus. Cysts, like pustules are pus-filled lumps under the skin. Both can leave scarring in the affected area if not treated properly. Pustules can be treated with warm compresses, topical antibiotics, topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, acne surgery, oral medications, and other topical medications applied by a licensed skin care professional, reports

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