Acne

Updated 22 September 2017

What do all these acne terms mean?

The correct name for common acne is acne vulgaris. The term “vulgaris” means “common or usual”. What is the medical term for blackheads, pimples and other words often used?

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The correct name for common acne is acne vulgaris. The term "vulgaris" means "common" or "usual". What do the other words mean?

Non-inflammatory lesions:

  • Open comedones (blackheads)
  • Closed comedones (whiteheads)
  • Uninflamed nodules (sometimes called cysts)

Inflammatory lesions:

  • Papules (small red bumps)
  • Pustules (white or yellow "squeezable" spots)
  • Inflamed nodules (large red lumps)

Secondary lesions:

  • Excoriations (picked or scratched spots)
  • Erythematous macules (red marks from recently healed spots, mostly in fair skin)
  • Pigmented macules (dark marks from old spots, mostly in dark skin)
  • Scars

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