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Different Types of Spot

All the Different Types of Spots You Can Get — and What to Do About Them

As if getting spots wasn't painful enough, treating them correctly and efficiently requires you to understand what their location means, as well as to actually know what kind of spots you have. From whiteheads to papules, cysts, and everything in between, these pesky bumps unfortunately won't all disappear easily, and some might even require oral medication or laser sessions at the dermatologist.

To get a head start and understand a bit more about them, we reached out to Dr Ross Perry, a celebrity GP and cosmetic skin doctor who gave us the rundown on all the types of spots we can get, as well as what to do about them:


According to Perry, these spots occur "when the normal follicles become blocked with excess oil." As with all other types of spots, avoid touching them as they could become inflamed and leave a scar behind. To prevent and/or treat whiteheads, he recommends topical treatments such as a spot cream containing salicylic acid (an ingredient that penetrates the pores and works as an anti-inflammatory), as well as regular exfoliation.


Blackheads are essentially "whiteheads with pigmentation," explains Perry. Unfortunately, this means that it can take longer for them to disappear, but exfoliating twice a week should help.


Papules are spots that "occur when the pore walls break, causing bigger pimples that tend to feel quite hard." These spots should not be picked, and oral medication may be prescribed by your GP in severe or persistent cases. If you do suffer from papules, Perry suggests trying topical treatments (such as spot creams) or seeking professional treatments such as peels, microdermabrasion, or even laser.


"Pustules are like papules, but filled with pus," says Perry. He goes on: "The same advice as for papules applies, and a patient will generally have both present, with the skin looking quite inflamed."


Nodules are "large bumps that go deep into the skin. They can be inflamed and feel quite tender." These tend to be treated by oral medication if they are a regular occurrence, but you might want to consider an injection if one suddenly appears on your face just before a big event.


Cysts are like nodules, except for the fact that they are filled with pus, which makes them feel softer. According to Perry, people are "likely to have both nodules and cysts, and this would generally be considered a severe case of acne." Treating them is unfortunately quite difficult, however your GP should be able to point you in the right direction.

Regardless of the type of pimples you're subject to, remember to never put toothpaste on them and know that there are great foundations that could help you cover them up in a natural-looking way.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio
Product Credit: American Apparel Bodysuit
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