There are many types of acne, some more common than others. What follows is an explanation of the most common forms of acne.
Acne vulgaris is the most prevalent acne type, and afflicts primarily teenagers and some young adults. There are several causes of acne vulgaris, including but not limited to genetics, accumulation of excess dead skin cells, bacteria, hormones, vitamin deficiencies, inflammation, side-effects from medication and stress. In severe cases of acne vulgaris, cysts and nodules are formed on the skin.
When choosing a medication for acne vulgaris it is important to take into account the various individual factors of your condition. This includes your skin type, the affected area and the severity of the problem.
Acne vulgaris can be treated in a number of ways, by over-the-counter and prescription-strength treatments. Treatments can be all-natural or chemical based, and can have a varying degree of effectiveness and side-effects, depending on the product and the user. Popular acne-fighting ingredients include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, aloe vera and azaleic acid.
It is always advisable to consult a dermatologist or physician before deciding to try a strong medication, especially if it is used in combination with other treatments. While some treatments are topical and aim to reduce active spots, others such as acne-fighting pills claim to attack the problem at the source, by correcting the hormonal, vitamin or oil imbalance in the body.
Acne rosacea is also a prevalent form of acne that is often confused with acne vulgaris. Acne rosacea causes reddening, small bumps, pustules and a burning sensation in the affected area, and may also cause red eyes. Acne rosacea usually affects individuals between 30 and 60 years old, and is estimated to affect over 45 million people worldwide.
Acne rosacea may be manifest in any one of four different forms. It is important to assess the type and severity of the acne before deciding on suitable treatment. Dermatologists often recommend keeping a log of the skin’s reaction to various treatments and conditions, so that triggers can be identified and treated or avoided. In order to prevent acne rosacea, some experts recommend sunscreen and gentle exfoliators.
While some cases of acne rosacea are short-lived, most require ongoing treatment. Only dermatologists can assess and prescribe treatments for acne rosacea; popular treatments include doxycycline, metronidazole, minocycline and tetracycline.
Acne ConglobataAcne conglobata is comparatively rare, and afflicts mostly males between the ages of 18 and 30. It is a highly inflammatory condition with deep pimples and scars that are connected below the skin. Abscesses, comedones, nodules and sinus tracts may be present in this condition, and visible disfigurement often occurs. Unlike other types of acne, conglobata can occur in almost any area of the skin. Females, and in the rare case infants may be affected by this condition. Causes of acne conglobata is not clearly known, although genetic predisposition has been noted in cases.
Accutane is the most prevalent form of treatment for acne conglobata, but may not deliver results in some cases. This form of acne can continue to fester for several years before subsiding.
Acne FulminansAcne fulminans is also known as acne maligna. It is a severe condition which usually results when acne conglobata is not treated properly or successfully. It is initially characterized by inflamed and painful joints, and the inflammation then reaches the lymph nodes. After this, the pain and inflammation of the joints is further worsened, and in many cases is so severe as to cause a total lack in appetite. In untreated cases this can lead to severe weight loss and atrophy of muscles, and hospitalization becomes necessary. Early treatment is thus crucial in avoiding hospitalization due to acne maligna.
Some scientists suspect that acne fulminans may be connected to elevated testosterone levels in males, but as yet it has not been successfully treated through the use of steroids or other testosterone related medications.
Gram-Negative FolliculitisGram-negative folliculitis is a form of bacterial infection which manifests in the form of cysts and pustules. Long-term use of antibiotics to treat acne vulgaris can lead to this infection, but it is a very rare disease and little data is available regarding its prevalence in males and females of specific age groups.
Isotretinoin is an effective treatment for this infection.