White & Black Heads : When the pores of your skin accumulate oils or sebum, you get whiteheads. The reason these lesions turn into whiteheads (versus blackheads) is because the clogged areas are not exposed to air. (With blackheads, air causes oxidation, and that oxidation darkens the tips of clogged areas.)

Papules: Papules are small, firm cone-shaped bumps that are pink in color. It’s basically a fancy name for an inflamed whitehead. That’s why they’re tender to touch unlike other forms of acne. Not to be gross, but they contain no pus. Since they don’t contain pus you should never pop or poke them. If you do you might seriously irritate your skin and aggravate your existing pimples – and possibly end up with a permanent scar – with zero effect on the papules themselves.

Pustules:Like papules, pustules are small, round lesions. You’ll notice they’re red in color with yellowish or whitish centers (caused by visible pus). While inflamed, pustules are generally painless and do not contain a great deal of bacteria. The inflammation is actually the result of a chemical irritation from things like free fatty acids, which are substances that circulate in the bloodstream and are common in everyone’s skin, although it’s possible there are other causes.
While it may be tempting to pop a pustule – don’t do it. You could end up with a permanent scar. If you got one that’s particularly bothersome, see your dermatologist to have it expressed properly.

Nodules & Cysts:  Nodular acne appears in large areas of your skin and is usually very painful. What’s the root of all this? Nodules are severely inflamed, hard lesions lodged deep within the skin. Cysts, while similar, are softer, pus-filled lesions, also deep under the skin. They develop when the contents of your comedones (a medical term for whiteheads or blackheads) have spilled into the surrounding areas.

Unlike other forms of acne, nodules may persist for weeks or even months, the result of their contents hardening into deep (and stubborn) cysts.

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