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Acne cysts, spots & blackheads…What’s the difference?

Following on from last weeks blog I am taking the lead from some of my lovely clients & responding to their feedback by writing this extension to the blog about Acne.

This is how to identify the different outbreaks you may experience & how to treat them! ☺️


Acne cysts

I always describe these as having their own heartbeat. They are hard, sore lumps under the skin (most often occurring in the chin and jaw area) that can hang around for weeks! They are bright red, hot to the touch & can be painful. You must leave these well alone!

The infection isn’t present on the surface but rather the fight is taking place deep underneath.
Using most traditional spot treatment products will not only dry out the skin but also not be able to reach to where the main issue is. Applying ice & using a product containing Salicylic acid will start the slow healing process. Be patient!

Whiteheads, Closed Comedones, Blackheads

Manifesting themselves as little clogged bumps under the skin, these are generally not red or sore.
There is no infection present so your focus needs to be on exfoliating the blockage gently out of the area. One of the best ways to work on this issue is to get a professional facial. We would use active exfoliants coupled with deep cleansing technology such as Ultrasonic to start this process to a smoother, clearer skin.


If you were to ignore the above stage then things could progress to a closed comedone (whitehead) where bacteria has caused inflammation and infection resulting in a painful, red blemish.
You won’t see a pus formation as the infection (fight) hasn’t been won yet & is still going on.
Papules will be inflamed. The goal is to reduce this inflammation. You could use a little bit of topical cortisone cream and, again, ice compresses. The Vitage Aloe Gel Calming Gel will also help to calm & soothe.


The fight has been won! The pus formation you are seeing is the white blood cells, sebum & dead cells all working towards the surface. However tempting it is to squeeze these you MUST NOT touch them until that pus is present.

Once it’s there ensure the skin & hands are clean, apply a little of the Salicylic based spot product & GENTLY extract with a soft tissue. If it doesn’t budge after one attempt leave well alone!

Please do always let me know if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover.
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Information courtesy of Louise Thomas-Minns Celebrity Skin Therapist & founder of

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