In the same week 3 viewers asked, first, “What's the difference between blackheads and whiteheads”, then, “what’s the difference between pimples and blemishes?” and last, “ Are all pimples acne?”
So... I guess its time to explain the terms that are used for the different acne BUMPS and spots that almost everyone gets. Today I'll explain “papules, pustules, and cysts”, and in the next episode on the language of acne, I'll explain blackheads, whiteheads, red marks, brown marks, and scars.
Here it goes.
Acne BLEMISHES is the broadest term… it includes all types of CURRENT outbreaks, as opposed to the marks and scars which sometimes are left on your skin AFTER blemishes go away. So Lets start with blemishes…. your actual current outbreaks.
They’re divided into 2 categories. “inflammatory” and “non inflammatory” and the first, “inflammatory”, is what the rest of today’s episode is about. They’re all raised bumps and because they have features of inflammation…. like redness, pain, or even pus…that’s why they’re called inflammatory.
There are 3 types of inflamatory blemishes: papules, pustules and cysts.
Papules are solid, skin colored or red bumps.... solid meaning there’s no visible pus or liquid in them. They are less than 5mm in size which is a fifth of an inch.
Pustules are bumps that contain pus so they start out red with a yellow top, and become completely yellow before they break or dry out and become crusty. The yellow color is pus that you can actually see. And pustules, like papules, are also less than 5mm. And BTW, these papules and pustules are what we're talking about when we say "pimples" or "zits".
The last type of inflammatory blemish is a Cyst. Cysts are larger than papules and pustules, so they’re more than 5mm. When they're skin colored, they’re usually painless, but when they're red... or red and yellow... they're usually painful and can look like giant pustules.
In the next episode on the language of acne, I'll explain blackheads, whiteheads, red and brown marks, and scars, so the next time you read or hear about acne, you’ll understand just what they’re talking about, and that way you’ll also have an even better idea of how to treat it.