The Secrets to Pimples and Their Family Tree

There are many kinds of breakouts, but the worst are the ones on your skin. Yes, we are talking about pimples. But lets us be very clear. There are many different types of pimples, and you cannot label all of them under the breakout category. 

This might be the hardest thing you have heard in your life, but pimples have a huge family. And each member of this clan is quite different from its siblings. Just close your eyes and imagine faces with varying forms of acne. Yuck, but what do you see? The puss-filled eruption, tiny white sprouts, angry red bumps, and so on.

Turns out, the pimple family includes all of these things. It’s a “multifactorial disease” which triggers by different factors and then manifests into a range of blemishes. This is the reason your breakout will look different from your siblings, friends, and even your significant other. Thus what works for them won’t work for you. 

teen girl with pimples

Here here, have a tissue; no pimple is worth your tears. Don’t fret over your type of acne, as we have sorted it for you. Luckily, we thoroughly diagnosed the pimple problem and broke it down into 6 major categories. We have mapped it out for you and provided detailed descriptions along with remedies. 

So, say goodbye to wet tissues. Read on to find out what scars your face and how to get rid of them! 

Understanding The Family Tree

The Pimple Family

  • Cysts
  • Nodules             
  • Papules              
  • Pustules           
  • Whiteheads         
  • Blackheads

To understand any scientific element, you need to understand its methodology. Similarly, to dissect your pimples, you need to examine their family tree too. Ps: Pimples are no less than scientific bombs, so they need to be diffused very carefully. 

girl having Pimple problem

Let us warn you that each Acne Vulgaris (the actual name of these gross spots) is of a differing kind. So you need to know which kind inhibits your face and then deal with it accordingly. There is no one size fit all approach in dermatology; that is why don’t treat your pimple off a hunch. It may aggravate them, and then these buddies can multiply before you can say the word multiply.

Without further ado, lets us dive deep into the world of pimples. As gross it may seem, it is necessary for your appearance, and appearance matters a lot. So please open your eyes and read through the description of these family members. It will help you find out which one has taken a liking to your skin!

Cysts: The Mighty Creation

The first and foremost are the mighty pimples called Cyst. They are easy to identify as they look similar to boils. They are large, puss-filled lesions that can be pretty painful. Cysts are stubborn to deal with as they are caused by the trifecta of excess oil and dead skin. They linger for months and can aggravate even with proper hygiene. 

Of all the different types of acne, cysts are the least cooperative. They penetrate deep within the skin and can leave permanent scars if not dealt with properly. And since they feel so soft, it is extra tempting to drain them. BUT DON’T. This will only worsen scarring. In addition, these puss-filled pimples have the potential to spread infections. In simpler words, the more you try to deal with them yourself, the bigger the cyst you will end up with.


As cystic acne is classified as a severe form of acne, you shouldn’t try home remedies to treat them. And don’t think about using over-the-counter medicine and face washes. Remember any wrong move, and you will be left with a permanent scar reminding you of your foolishness. 

If you have pimples that look like this, book an appointment with a good dermatologist ASAP. They can help you treat it from the core. PS: don’t waste time pondering over them, or you will end up with more complexities. The sooner you start the dermatologist referred treatment, the easier it will be to fight permanent scars.

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Nodules: The Deeper Kind

Nodular acne is similar to cystic acne, except they are puss-free. They are hard to address as they start deeper within the skin layers like their mighty sibling. However, they are not soft like cysts and feel firm and painful to the touch. Instead, they look more like Papsule, their younger sibling mentioned below. Featuring a red bump, this type of acne doesn’t have a “head” like its fellow members.

Moreover, they appear in sore patches across your skin. They even coexist with their elder sibling ‘cysts,’ causing more severe acne. As we said before, nodules are challenging to treat. And as they embed deep, they are impossible to pop too. So your priority is to prevent them before they form by following a healthy skin regime. However, if they break out, you can tackle this rebellious family figure by following the ways mentioned below.


Nodules and cysts are pretty similar, so their treatment options are the same. So if you are unfortunate enough to home these, our advice again would be to visit a dermatologist! Cut the desperation and get them professionally treated once and for all. Over-the-counter treatments may not be powerful enough to clear them up, but prescription drugs can be effective. 

However, if you already have a nodular breakout and a dermatologist visit is not feasible, you can find relief by applying a cold compress. This will reduce the inflammation of the sore nodules and ease pressure on your nerves. Reminder, it’s just a temporary measure, so don’t forget to book that appointment with a skin specialist.

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Papules: The Inflamed Ones

Papules fall under the league of comedones which is a type of inflammatory acne. They are tiny red or pink bumps and are sensitive to the touch. This is the most common type of acne, and 85% of adolescents experience symptoms of this minor form. The cause behind these is excess oil and bacteria which push deep into your skin, block pores and cause inflammation.  

Even though these “typical” breakouts are not very painful or severe, but if not treated properly, they can graduate to their puss-filled, and more noticeable brother called pustules (See below!). Ps: Like all other different types of acne, papules shouldn’t be plucked, or they will spread nastiness into the surrounding skin. 


To conquer this inflamed member of the pimple family, reduce makeup and other beauty products. This type of acne blemish is a signal that you have sensitive skin. To get rid of these, wash your face twice daily with a mild face wash. If it contains benzoyl peroxide, then well-done. You will see papules vanish within 3-4 weeks. But if they persist, it will be helpful to see a dermatologist. 

However, there are home remedies to prevent these blemishes too. By using anti-inflammatory botanicals like rosewater, cucumber, and camellia, you can calm the inflammation and heal your skin. 

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Pustules: The Ones With Puss

Pustules are another kind of comedone. They are an aggravated version of papules and resemble a whitehead. Featuring a red ring around a puss-filled bump, these blemishes are scary to look at. They have a classic pimple look, and they tempt you to squeeze them.

But remember, be it papules, pustules, or any one of many different types of pimples, you have no right to pop them. Moreover, these blemishes are even more lethal as they can leave dark spots if you don’t cater to them adequately. 


To treat these painful, puss-filled pimples, use an acne face wash that has benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Wash your face with it regularly, and the key is to balance your skin’s sebum (scientific terminology for natural skin oil) via a good moisturizer.

Both hygiene and hydration should be your priority. So ensure that you use soft and clean towels to wipe your face. Keep your towels separate, and don’t let anyone else use them as pustules are prone to infused germs. If the results are not visible in 6-8 weeks, visit a dermatologist.

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Whiteheads And Blackheads: The Surfacing Comedones 

We have already discussed inflammatory comedones, but there are two more kinds—the blackhead and whiteheads

Whiteheads are not-so-visible pimples that stay closed at the surface of the skin. They happen when oil and dead cells clog pores, thus preventing hair follicles from opening. They are tiny white or flesh-colored bumps and usually appear near your nose.

On the other hand, blackheads are more visible and form when the pore is filled with debris but remains open. They appear like black dots but aren’t dirt, so don’t try to scrub them. The black hue is from the irregular reflection of light from hair follicles.


There are many treatment options that can be used to treat both of these blemishes. Many dermatologists prescribe retinoids to unclog pores. You can get them over the counter. Another way to reduce these pimples is through a procedure called comedo extraction. It’s a dermatologically tested method and is more effective.

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The Ulitmate Destruction 

No doubt, anyone with acne will dream of clear skin. It’s common knowledge that pimples don’t make life any easier. But don’t feel discouraged if they are stuck with you like a magnet. You are not alone. The misery is common for millions of people worldwide; 50 million in the USA alone.

But, it’s time to do the victory dance. The way to destroy this family tree is finally in your hands. Your previous acne treatments might be a failure because you were fighting the wrong guy all along. However, now you are enlightened about which family member you are dealing with. So you can easily win this impossible battle by using the effective remedies mentioned above.

It’s D-day; Get rid of the different types of pimples now and show off your clear skin with pride!

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