There are basically three levels of acne:
- Mild Acne – a few blemishes that are close to the surface, and not deep or inflamed.
- Moderate Acne – notice deeper nodular lesions and some redness surrounding the blemish.
- Severe Acne – many lesions, multiple cysts, and a great deal of redness and inflammation.
All acne begins as a blocked hair follicle, or pore. Problems begin when the oil (sebum) is trapped in the pore. When this happens, the oil (which normally drains out of the pore), becomes trapped and bacteria begin to grow.
This trapped plug of oil and dead skin cells stick in the opening of a hair follicle (pore), resulting in a blackhead or a whitehead.
In healthy pores, blackhead or whitehead will release its contents from the pore – the skin heals and the cycle stops there. However, if the clogged pore does not emit its contents, the follicle wall can rupture, which leads to inflammatory acne, dorming a papule (pimple) often considered the first phase of severe acne. Days later, white blood cells make their way to the surface of the skin, forming a pustule (or pimple).