Acne comes in many forms. Although most commonly found on the face, acne ranges from Mild to Severe and can be located anywhere on the body. Most frequently self-treated, mild cases are manageable. However, severe cases should be treated under the supervision of health professionals, such as dermatologists.
Acne Vulgaris, translated as ‘common acne,’ is the most common type of acne. It is better known as blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules or cysts.
Blackheads – Occur in partially blocked pores. Dead skin cells, bacteria, and sebum (the substance that causes oily skin) drain to the surface of the skin; the pigments are exposed to air, which causes the black color. Blackheads can take a long time to clear up.
Whiteheads – Contained beneath the surface of the skin, the trapped sebum, dead cells and bacteria are completely blocked in the pores.
Pustules – With the appearance of a red circle with a white or yellow center, this form of acne is more often called Pimples or Zits.
Nodules – Much larger than other forms of acne, nodules form hard lumps beneath the surface of the skin which can be painful and last for several months. Highly susceptible to scarring, this form of acne is recommended to be treated by a dermatologist.
Cysts – Similar to a nodule, this form of acne is filled with pus. Like nodules, cysts can be very painful and lead to scarring if untreated. Cysts should be treated by a dermatologist.
Acne Conglobata – More common in males than females, this rare form of acne vulgaris is extremely disfiguring. Large lesions form on the face, chest, back, buttocks, upper arms, and thighs, sometimes accompanied by numerous blackheads. Acne Conglobata can cause severe psychological as well as physical suffering, damage to the skin and permanent scarring. This condition can last several years.
Acne Fulminans – A sudden case of Acne Conglobata, with a fever and aching joints. Generally treated with oral steroids.
Gram-Negative Folliculitis – A bacterial infection which causes pustules and cysts, this form of acne may be caused by long-term treatment of acne with antibiotics.
Pyoderma Faciale – Affecting only females usually between ages 20 and 40, most commonly in women who never had acne before, this type of acne consists of painful pustules, cysts and nodules on the face. Permanent scarring is potential. Generally clears up within a year.
Acne Rosacea – Notably affecting people over the age of 30, Acne Rosacea causes a red rash on the face. Pimples or other skin blemishes may also be present. This should not be confused with Acne Vulgaris as there are two different treatments for these types. Acne Rosacea occurs more frequently in women than men but is more severe in the men it affects.