How can you tell which form of acne you have? Is there a different treatment which is more effective against your specific form of acne?

Acne can come in many forms. I will try to describe the various forms of acne as well as explain the distinguishing characteristics of each.

There are forms of acne which are relatively minor and there are also some very serious acne conditions as well. The most minor forms of acne are also the most common.

This most common form of acne is known as ‘acne vulgaris’. Acne lesions that are considered acne vulgaris are blackheads, whiteheads, papules and pustules.

- Whiteheads (similar to postules) occur when skin pores becomes clogged due to trapped oil, bacteria and dead skin cells. The surface of the skin becomes white. This type of acne typically has the shortest lifespan.

- Blackheads typically occur when the pores are just partially blocked by oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Blackheads can linger for a long time and take a quite a while to clear up.

- Papules are red, tender bumps that have become inflamed but do not have the white appearance on the tip. Papules can more easily become infected and therefore should not be squeezed

- Pustules are similar to whiteheads but are inflamed and have a red circle surrounding the affected area.

Cystic acne is in the class of severe vulgaris can appear very similar to a nodule but a cyst is pus filled and usually gets much larger. Cystic acne is very painful and even if left alone can cause scarring. Squeezing acne cysts will most likely cause the area to become infected and cause it to last much longer than if the pimple had been left alone.

Acne that forms into nodules is also severe and shows up as spots that are larger and can be rather painful. Nodules are large, hard bumps under the skin’s surface and can last for up to several months. Squeezing nodular acne will result in scarring and will also prolong the life of the pimple.

Acne Rosacea looks very similar to acne vulgaris and affects millions over the age of thirty. Acne Rosacea is a red rash, which is found on the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Bumps, pimples, and other skin blemishes accompany it. This form of acne also causes the blood vessels to become more visible on the skin. It is more common in women but more severe for men.

Acne Conglobata is the most severe form of acne. It is characterized by a lot of large lesions and widespread blackheads. Left untreated it ill result in severe damage to the skin and scarring. It is usually found on the face, chest, back, buttocks, upper arms, and thighs.

As with most acne, the cause of this form is also unknown. Treatment usually includes medication and is sometimes resistant to treatment. Strong and persistent treatment will conquer the acne in most cases.

Acne Fulminans is an onset of acne conglobata with symptoms of severe nodule cysts. Extreme scarring is possible and even likely. Symptoms may also include a fever and achy joints. Antibiotics do not typically work with this form of acne and oral steroids are normally the preferred method of treatment.

Although there are many types of acne the most common is the mild acne and is very treatable. Most people outgrow acne by the time they reach their thirties. If scarring occurs there are many treatment options for the acne sufferer.

Prevention of acne is still the best way to avoid any complications. If you suffer from an acne which seems to be more troublesome than average acne, a dermatologist will be able to prescribe a treatment that will lessen the swelling as well as prevent scarring.

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