Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly

The first step to treating acne is determining exactly what type of acne it is. This can be difficult, of course, since there are many different variations — like whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, pustules, nodules, and papules — and each requires its own course of treatment. What makes it harder is that, if you walk down the aisle of any drugstore or beauty retailer, you’re inundated with products that promise to treat breakouts and keep zits under control. How do you know where to begin?

For starters, every skin-care routine needs a basic cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer, but those with acneic skin should stack their regimen with products formulated with breakout-fighting ingredients. The tricky thing is, not all acne ingredients are created equal, and some work better on certain types of acne than others. (For example, benzoyl peroxide is great for clearing breakouts caused by bacteria, whereas salicylic acid dissolves the dirt and oil that could lead to blackheads.) So, in order to purchase the right treatment for your specific type of acne, you need to know what you’re dealing with.

A trip to your dermatologist is always the best way to assess any skin-care situation you’re experiencing, but if you want to do a bit of research on your own as a preliminary first step, take the quiz ahead to help you determine what type of acne you have.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly

How would you describe your acne?

Small, pus-filled bumps with a visible white or yellow center. I can’t really feel them.

Tiny, black dots on my face with a high concentration around my T-zone.

Small, red bumps that feel hard when I touch them. They usually appear in clusters on my face.

Larger bumps with a white, pus-filled center that are tempting to pop.

Large, swollen bumps that I can’t easily see, but, boy, do I feel them. They also take forever to go away.

Big, red, painful bumps all over my face that don’t have a visible white center of pus.

Do you notice a white pus in the center of your breakout?

Yes, there are many tiny, white pimples.

Yes, and they are so tempting to pop.

No, the center is more black.

I can’t see any white — only red, swollen bumps that feel like they are under the skin.

My pimples are more red than anything.

No white center, but they do feel hard to the touch.

Where is your acne located on your body?

Mostly on my T-zone.

All over my nose and a little bit on my chin.

Mainly on my jaw, cheeks, or the lower half of my face.

All over my cheeks.

On my face but also on my back and chest.

All over my face.

Does your acne hurt to the touch?

No, not at all.

No, there’s no bump to touch.

Yes, in the deep, under-the-skin type of way.

A little bit, but nothing too bad.

Yes, it is very painful.

Occasionally, but not usually.