Acne is common, but not everyone is susceptible to the painful breakouts of inflammatory acne caused by clogged pores and hair follicles deep within the skin. While inflammatory acne is common on the face, it can also appear on the chest, back, and shoulders, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Inflammatory acne tends to be red and swollen, making breakouts uncomfortable. It occurs when pores and hair follicles become clogged with something like oil, dirt, or bacteria. The pore becomes inflamed and fills with pus.
Some types of inflammatory acne include papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules, according to Mind Body Green. “Papules look like solid red bumps, while pustules have pus on top,” Zenovia Gabriel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, told Mind Body Green. Often papules become pustules. Cysts never have a pus-filled head on their surface; Instead, these inflamed bumps tend to be “large, soft, and fluid-filled,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. Like cysts, nodules don’t have heads at the top, but they are made up of harder bumps under the skin. Dermatologist Rachel Maiman, MD, told Mind Body Green that lumps “often feel like tight lumps under the skin and are found on the face and body.” Nodules can be particularly painful when touched.
But none of these are pimples that need popping. Picking at your skin can make inflammatory acne worse, cause scars, and cause painful infections.