Updated 28 October 2016

Symptoms of acne

Acne is observed mainly on the face, neck, shoulders and back.


What are the symptoms of acne?

Acne is observed mainly on the face, neck, shoulders and back.

Signs of the first stage of acne (non-inflammatory acne) are:

  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads – dark spots with open pores at the centre
  • Increased greasiness of the skin

The next stage of acne is called inflammatory acne and involves: 

Read: Skincare in your 20s

  • Small red bumps
  • Red swellings or bumps that are visibly filled with pus (zits/pimples/pustules) – on the face, chest, shoulders, neck and/or upper back
  • Large, inflamed, red, firm fluid-filled lumps (nodules) under the skin
  • Large, inflamed, red, soft bumps (cysts) under the skin that may become as large as 2,5cm across.

Healing of inflammatory lesions may lead to scarring and post-inflammatory pigmentation (dark spots).

A patient with acne may show only non-inflammatory lesions or a combination of non-inflammatory and inflammatory lesions with or without scars and brown spots.

Acne may cause embarrassment, frustration and anger, and sufferers tend to withdraw from school and social activities.

Acne can undoubtedly impair one’s quality of life.

Read more:

What's behind the scar

The danger signs of a lesion

Treating acne


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