Learn About The Different Types Of Acne
Acne can be found in many forms. These include acne vulgaris, cystic acne, rosacea (which is not actually acne, though it's often confused as such), infantile acne, and scalp folliculitis.
Acne may start its development from the overproduction of sebum (by the sebaceous glands). These can be triggered by many factors including stress, diet and hormonal imbalance. Dead cells, oil, and bacteria may lead to an acne infection, which may then become inflamed. This can in turn lead to swelling, pain and redness at the site of the infection.
Acne may be defined as inflammatory or non-inflammatory. It often begins from a minor lesion or microcomedo. These microcomedo are very small, and generally visible only under the microscope. They are the precursors to whiteheads (which are still beneath the skin), and blackheads, which have opened up to the outside of the skin and become discolored due to a reaction with oxygen. Blackheads are not black because of dirt. Whiteheads and blacheads are called closed and open comedos respectively.
Pustules and nodules are a more severe form of acne. Pustules are pus-filled, yellowish pimples that are red at the base. Nodules are solid, inflamed swellings that are deep beneath the skin.
Another form of acne is papules. These are beneath the skin, but usually sore to touch. Papules are sometimes called 'blind pimples', because they are mildly inflamed, yet there are no visible pus in the center.
Cysts are the most severe form of acne, and recognized for their sac-like and pus-filled form. They can be very painful and cause scarring. Squeezing or pinching acne cysts is not a good idea. Because they run deep into the skin, squeezing them can cause the pus to spread deeper into the affected skin layers. This then triggers the immune system to release white blood cells to combat the spread of bacteria. This is what essentially leads to more swelling and pain, and inflammation.
Acne vulgaris is the most common form of acne infection which generally expresses as whiteheads or blackheads.
Acne rosacea, on the other hand, is a skin condition that is often misdiagnosed as a type of acne. It mainly affects middle-aged people, mostly women. Faces are very flushed, and it can lead to a bulbous nose in its more severe form.
Infantile acne is fairly rare, and babies usually grow out of it. Symptoms often show at the time of birth, and is mainly a result of fetal hormone changes.
Scalp folliculitis is a form of acne that develops in the scalp, especially around the hairlines. This may be caused by an excess accumulation of oil, hair products, and dirt. The acid present in the scalp often causes the scalp to be flaky, itchy and dry.
Often, young women experience perioral dermatitis. These tiny papules and pustules appear around the mouth and the chin, and sometimes end up in areas below the eyelids. In many cases, these are caused by fluorine contained in toothpastes and steroids.
Acne conglobata is an unusual and very severe form of acne. It tends to affect adults, and in particular men. Acne conglobata occurs on the face, back, and shoulders. There are usually 2 to 3 cysts grouped together, and the abscesses they form are often interconnected. The pus in them smells foul, and usually returns after it has been drained. It often leads to scarring.
Acne fulminans is another type of severe acne that tends to occur in teenage boys with a history of acne. It is a systemic, immune response that is also present with fever. Fortunately is rare.