There are many different types of skin blemish. Some examples include those below.
Acne is a skin condition that occurs as a result of the skin producing too much oil. Different factors can cause excess oil production, including:
- overactive oil glands
- hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, or the menopause
- stress, anxiety, or depression, which can also affect hormones
There are several different types of acne, which vary in their appearance. Some examples include:
Blackheads are small, dark spots on the surface of the skin. They resemble trapped dirt but actually consist of oil that has become stuck inside the pore. When this oil reacts with air, it becomes black.
Whiteheads are small, round blemishes that are white or skin-colored. They develop as a result of oil and dead skin cells blocking the pores.
Papules are small, hard, red bumps on the skin. These develop when excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells travel deeper into the skin, causing inflammation.
When lots of papules cluster together, this can give the skin a rough, sandpaper-like texture.
Nodules are large skin blemishes that develop when a pore becomes clogged. Oils mix with dead skin cells and bacteria that then become trapped deep in the skin. The excess oil and bacteria lead to infection and inflammation inside the skin.
This type of skin blemish can cause acne scarring.
A break in the lining of a pore can cause oil and bacteria to spread to the surrounding skin. An acne cyst is a membrane that has formed around the infected area.
Cysts appear as large, swollen, red blemishes. They may be very painful to the touch.
Like nodules, cysts can cause permanent acne scarring.
Hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of genetic factors, sun damage, or acne scarring.
Freckles are a type of hyperpigmentation that a person can inherit the tendency to develop. They are small, flat spots that may be red, brown, tan, or black. They can appear anywhere on the body.
Sunspots or “age spots” are another type of hyperpigmentation. These small spots or patches can develop on areas of the skin that get a lot of sun exposure.
Acne scarring can also cause dark spots to remain on the skin once the acne has cleared.
The hormonal changes that take place lead to an increase in melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its coloring. The overproduction of melanin can make the skin darker.
Sometimes, hairs can curl back on themselves or grow sideways into the skin, which can result in red, itchy bumps forming. Doctors refer to these skin blemishes as ingrown hairs.
Hair removal techniques, such as waxing, shaving, or plucking, can all cause ingrown hairs.
Birthmarks are blemishes that appear on the skin of a newborn baby. They can appear either at birth or shortly afterward. Some birthmarks disappear over time, while others may be permanent.
Experts are still not sure what causes birthmarks to form. However, these skin blemishes can sometimes develop as a result of:
- blood vessels not forming properly
- skin pigment cells clumping together, creating moles or patches of darker skin
- an overgrowth of skin that creates raised patches of thickened skin
A birthmark will look different than the skin surrounding it. These types of skin blemish can be any size and may vary greatly in appearance. They may be:
- flat or raised
- similar to a bruise or stain
- any color, including pink, red, brown, or tan
Birthmarks are generally harmless, but some marks that appear on a baby’s skin can signal an underlying condition. It is best to have a dermatologist check any birthmarks just to be sure.
Some harmless birthmarks can also get larger quickly, which can be alarming. Talking with a dermatologist can help people know what to expect regarding birthmark growth.
Cold sores are highly contagious, so people should avoid intimate contact with others until the sores have healed to avoid passing the virus on.
Some types of blemish can be a sign of skin cancer. Being aware of the signs to look out for can help people spot skin cancer early.
Some potential signs of skin cancer include:
- a new mole or mark that grows quickly
- a mole or mark that bleeds or itches
- a blemish that changes in shape, size, or color
- a mole that is asymmetrical or has rough, irregular edges
- a mole that is larger than 6 millimeters
A person should see a doctor if they develop a new or unusual skin blemish that has any of the above characteristics.
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