Our complete guide to acne care: How to identify and treat different kinds of pimples

Our complete guide to acne care: How to identify and treat different kinds of pimples

There are 7 different types of acne! And the best way to get rid of acne for good is to arm yourself with knowledge and the right treatments.

Everyone complains and laments whenever they get a pimple and of course, many try to take matters into their own hands, usually either using foundation and concealer to hide the offending spot, or (horror!) popping and squeezing it out by themselves.

But everyone knows these methods are far from ideal, smearing makeup on may cause the acne bacteria to be trapped in the skin leading to a worse breakout, and popping zits yourself is often very unsanitary and may cause the situation to deteriorate fast into infection.

Before you do anything about a pimple, or even if you don’t have one at this moment, read this pimple guide. First up… know that there are different types of pimples and that each kind requires a specific action plan. Here’s how to identify and treat the kind of zit you have whether it is blackheads, whiteheads, cystic zits or blind pimples.

1. Hormonal Acne

treating hormonal acne

What it looks like: Scattered zits around your chin and jawline.

The cause: If you have this kind of acne, you’ll notice that it hits regularly, usually coinciding with your period. No surprise because it is caused by fluctuating hormones that rev up sebum production and the excess oil gather in pores, breeding bacteria that eventually leads to the outbreak.

What to do about it: Always have salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide skincare products on hand and a few days before your period, pop them into your skincare routine to prevent hormonal acne from happening in the first place. For salicylic acid try a facial wash or scrub and benzoyl peroxide can easily be found in spot treatments. If hormonal breakouts are still a problem, a facial that focuses on acne treatment can help to get rid of acne-causing bacteria, clear clogged pores and slough away dead skin.

2. Papules

Papules pimples treatment

What it looks like: A splattering of small, red, painful zits.

The cause: This is a type of inflammatory acne caused mainly by bacteria called p. acnes on the skin. P. acnes gives rise to skin inflammation and red, sometimes itchy bumps that don’t come to a head.

What to do about it: Get acquainted with the ingredient benzoyl peroxide, which is known to eliminate acne-causing bacteria and calm inflammation. Gentle exfoliation with a low dose of AHA or BHA can be beneficial too. Benzoyl peroxide can be very drying for the skin so hydrate well with a suitable moisturiser.

3. Cystic Acne

cystic acne

What it looks like: A smattering of huge, inflamed pimples. The biggest, reddest, most painful breakout around.

The cause: Genetics is the root cause of cystic pimples and it is worsened by an over stimulation of oil glands. This is the trickiest kind of acne to treat and often recurs in the same spot.

What to do about it: Skincare is not likely to work for this kind of acne, unfortunately. You should see a doctor for cortisone injections or oral medication like an antibiotic to use in conjunction with prescription topical formulas like Epiduo Forte Gel, which is effective at controlling severe acne without the help of oral treatments.

4. Whiteheads


What it looks like: A pimple with a white dot in the middle.

The cause: Whiteheads are often directly related to clogged pores resulting from a buildup of dead skin cells. The white dot you see at the top of a whitehead is in fact the tip of the clog and beneath it is a mix of oil, dirt and bacteria, causing inflammation and the angry bump under it.

What to do about it: This is another case for salicylic acid, which helps to remove excess oil and exfoliate dead cells and keep pores clear. Remember to hydrate skin with a lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser though, to keep dryness at bay as salicylic acid can halt sebum production.

5. Blackheads

blackheads removal

What it looks like: Non inflamed, dark, tiny dots that cover each pore.

The cause: Like whiteheads, blackheads are blocked pores. The difference is the colour as blackheads have a larger opening at the surface compared to whiteheads so air enters and oxidizes the oil nestled in the pore, turning it dark or black.

What to do about it: Blackhead sufferers must exfoliate frequently. Pore strips might help to yank out the blackheads but do use a salicylic acid product to shrink and keep pores clear.

6. Blind Pimples

blind pimples

What it looks like: An isolated, painful, slightly raised bump under the skin without a head. The cause: These kind of pimples are more felt than seen. Some are barely visible and may not look that red but boy, do they hurt. This is because blind pimples fester under the skin but do not have an outlet, so the inflammation burgeons under the skin and makes it painful to the touch. What to do about it: Hands off blind pimples (and any kind of pimple, actually). Picking, poking, scratching or squeezing adds fuel to the fire, or rather, germs to the infection. The good news is that blind pimples may resolve on their own after a few days. If it doesn’t go away in a week, see your facial therapist for a professional zit extraction.

7. Pustules

pustules pimples

What it looks like: Fiery zits with white or yellow pus inside that may look similar to whiteheads.

The cause: Although this type of acne resembles whiteheads, they are caused by bacterial inflammation rather than clogged pores.

What to do about it: Reach for the benzoyl peroxide spot treatment, which can help to reduce the bacteria and hence the inflammation. Do not pop an inflamed zit as these can likely leave a scar. Head to your facialist to get them professionally extracted and to calm any inflammation.

Our treatments

hydrafacial calvin chan aesthetics

To treat and calm active breakouts and acne

Keep your acne at bay with this Purifying Light Facial that uses a combination of FDA-approved LED blue light therapy and customised serums to effectively kill the acne-causing bacteria also known as P-acne. Suitable for acne-prone skin and enlarged pores.

Combining salicylic and glycolic acid, this dual-action peel exfoliates surface cells and purges pores of gunk. Expect a complexion boost as your congested and dehydrated skin is polished and prime to perfection while sebum secretions are simultaneously balanced.


To exfoliate, purify pores and lessen blackheads and whiteheads

HYDRAFACIAL 30/60 mins $200/$300
An award-winning treatment that Hollywood Celebrities love – a medical-grade hydra-dermabrasion device that carries out a patented three-part regimen — cleansing, exfoliating, and then infusing skin with intensive serums.


To lighten post acne scars (without active acne breakouts)

A skin resurfacing system that improves wrinkles, skin texture and colour by buffing away dead skin cells to reveal younger, more supple, plumped up skin.

Our signature in-house 5-step facial is a must-try treatment that lightens up stubborn pigmentation and brown spots. Loaded with skin nutrients like antioxidants, Hyaluronic Acid, peptides and other essential elements, this treatment reveals a brightend uniform complexion.

Call or Whatssap us to find out more or to book an appointment.