The types of spots and how to treat them

The types of spots and how to treat them

Not all spots are created equal. While you might think that any blemish on your skin can be tackled in the same way, there are actually a number of different types of spots. Each requires a unique treatment approach. This means that understanding each spot-type can help you to select the best options for restoring a clear, refined complexion.

There are four main spot types:

And with each differing in not just appearance, but also severity and sensitivity, here’s our guide on how to spot them (and treat each spot type):


Blackheads are a common type of blemish and can be easily identified. They are typically found around the nose, as well as on the forehead and chin. Known for their dark colour and small surface area, blackheads are often persistent and very difficult to completely remove.

Blackheads are formed when pores become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, and sebum, blackheads get their colouring as the material trapped in the open hair follicle becomes oxidised by the air and appears black.

Although they are a type of spot, there are very few topical treatments for blackheads. To keep your skin clear and help minimise their appearance, it’s important to cleanse your skin and sweep away the impurities and excess oil which can block the pores.

How to treat blackheads

Using a facial scrub, like the Neutrogena® Blackhead Eliminating Facial Scrub, cleans, exfoliates and purifies for visibly clearer skin. It removes the dirt, oil, and impurities that can lead to blackheads, and loosens existing blackheads by helping to unclog pores. It is clinically proven to help reduce blackheads in just 7 days.

Use both in the morning and evening as part of your daily skincare routine to help control blackheads so you have one less stress to deal with.


Instantly recognisable from the ‘white head’ which appears on the skin, whiteheads are another mild form of spot. You can manage them with relative ease. Just like blackheads, whiteheads form when oils, impurities, dead skin cells, and bacteria clog the pores. However, instead, the process happens beneath the surface of the skin. Similarly, whiteheads are generally not sore and can be easily treated.

How to treat whiteheads

Using a salicylic acid-based product, like the Neutrogena® Visibly Clear Spot Stress Control Daily Scrub, can be an effective method for treating whiteheads. As a BHA (beta-hydroxyl acid), salicylic acid exfoliates the skin. It does this by penetrating deep down to clean and unclog pores, breaking down sebum and excess oils.

With salicylic acid, Neutrogena® Visibly Clear Spot Stress Control Daily Scrub uses MicroClear® technology to unclog pores, helping to clear spots. Gentle enough for everyday use, the scrub is formulated with green tea and cucumber extracts. It helps soothe the skin and reduce any redness which may appear around whiteheads.


Pores which become clogged by excess sebum and dead skin cells often force the skin around them to buckle and bulge creating pustule. Pustules are filled with pus, a yellowish fluid. They occur as the result of an infection of a pore.

Sore, red, and inflamed, pustules often do not form a head despite being filled with pus. They become hard and very painful often being very sensitive to the touch.

How to treat pustules

As tempting as it may be to pick or squeeze these blemishes, you should leave them alone. Simply treat them with gentle products with salicylic acid – much like whiteheads. Using the Neutrogena® Visibly Clear Spot Stress Control Daily Scrub will help to cleanse the skin while defending against new breakouts.


Ever had a painful, red spot that appears to be deep under your skin? You might have been suffering from a cyst. Considered to be the most serious and painful form of spot, cysts form when blocked pores become swollen, and filled with pus. Although they can be found anywhere on the body, cysts on the face are often inflamed, deep-rooted, and very painful.

How to treat cysts

Those who have blemish-prone skin and have suffered from acne in the past are most like to suffer from cysts. Treat them with care to avoid leaving scarring and permanent aesthetic damage to the skin.

neutrogena spot stress control range

How to treat spots

Check out the range of Neutrogena® products which will work together to promote healthy skin and help clear spots.

Identifying spots and their type can help you effectively treat your skin and clear your complexion. However, it is also important to consider advice from your doctor or a dermatologist if issues are persistent.


How to keep blackheads at bay

Fed up of battling blackheads? Here's more about what they are, why you get them, and most importantly, how to treat them.

2019-05-27 09:00:12By Neutrogena



Writer and expert