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HA Pop Quiz: Acne Presentations

If you tuned in to our Instagram Story Pop Quiz on acne presentations, you’ll be familiar with the following questions.

Here we explore the answers and further expand on them to increase your understanding of this common skin condition.


1. What would best describe the presentation of “ice pick” acne scars?

  • A) Broad depressions with sharp edges
  • B) Flat and thin
  • C) Deep, Narrow and Pitted
  • D) Broad depressions with sloping edges

The answer is C) deep, narrow and pitted. 68% of quizzers got this right!

Ice Pick acne scarring is deeper than other types of acne scars. It is narrower than atrophic scarring and is more noticeable. This tends to present following severe acne that affects the pores on a deeper level. Therefore, treatment for ice pick acne scars generally involves resurfacing skin treatments or minor surgical interventions.

2. What is the correct technical term for “blackheads”?

  • A) Pustules
  • B) Open comedones
  • C) Closed comedones
  • D) Nodules

The answer is B) open comedones. 46% of quizzers got this right!

“Comedone” is the medical term for the raised follicular bump that indicates a pimple. An open comedone, or “blackhead” forms where a hair follicle has become blocked with sebum and keratin. Exposed to the air, the contents oxidise and turn black, hence the term “blackhead.”

3. Which type of acne lesion does this describe?

“A more severe form of acne lesion that develops under the skin, they don’t usually contain pus but are hard to the touch.”

  • A) Papules
  • B) Pustules
  • C) Nodules
  • D) Cysts

The answer is nodules. 48% of quizzers got this right!

Acne occurs when sebum and the bacteria known as p. acne becomes trapped in pores. With nodular acne, this infection goes deep into the skin so does not tend to respond to over-the-counter acne treatments. These nodules are inflammatory in origin, do not generally contain pus and they remain hard under the skin. They can be especially stubborn and painful to the touch, taking weeks or months to heal.

How did you get on?

If you’d like to improve your acne knowledge, Harley Academy cosmetic dermatology courses are here for you. Offering a thorough grounding in diagnosing and treating various skin conditions, these hands-on courses also teach you marketable skills including administering chemical peels and microneedling.

Follow Harley Academy on Instagram for more quizzes, soon!

Last fact-checked: 26 January 2023