Types of Acne
When sebum is produced in excess, it gets trapped in the pores of the skin. The sticky sebum traps the dead skin cells from around it. The mixture then becomes thick inside the pore preventing its excretion. This becomes a host for the Propionibacterium Acnes, a gram positive bacterium that causes acne. But not all people suffer from the same kind of acne. There are different types of acne and they cause different types of problems. This article mentions details about the different types of acne.
Based on how they affect the skin they can be divided into mild, moderate and severe acne. Acne belonging to these types are explained below.
Types of acne that are mild to moderate
1. Blackhead – Blackhead is acne that has a partially exposed mixture of sebum, fatty acids, dead cells and melanin, the color pigment found in skin. Hence this type of acne is called as the open comedonal acne. The chemical pigment melanin present in the exposed top layer reacts with oxygen in the air and becomes black. This kind of acne is for long term and may be difficult to treat in some.
2. Whitehead – This type of acne is often small in appearance as the top of the pore either becomes small or gets sealed trapping sebum, skin cells and bacteria inside. Only a minor white color portion remains visible outside. Hence this type of acne is called as the closed comedonal acne. Is also tends to clear quicker than blackheads.
Types of Acne
3. Pustule – This is a red inflamed bump on the skin with a white or yellow center (head). People often try to pop pustules and squeeze out the pus. But this has to be donecarefully. This is often considered as less harmful. It is formed when a closed comedonal acne gets so big that the top gets ruptured and some amount of infected fatty acid is released into the epidermal layer. This does not pierce the epidermal layer and gets trapped there. The infection causing bacteria then infect the surrounding skin which draws the white blood cells there to fight the infection. The pus is a collection of broken down blood cells.
4. Papule – This is a pustule without a white or yellow head. It is inflamed but shows no sign of pus. It should not be poked else it can create a scar.
5. Hormonal acne – This is associated with the production of hormones that are produced during changes in the body. This is more common in teenagers than adults and affects more women than men. This, as a result of hormonal shifts in the body of a woman as she ages.
6. Acne vulgaris – This is the most common type of acne and affects both teenagers and adults. This type covers both open and closed comedonal acne. It occurs as cysts and nodules.
6.1 Cyst – This type of acne is a painful inflamed spot under the skin which is infected and is filled with pus. It is a papule that forms deep in the skin. It takes a long time to get cured. If it is pierced to draw out the pus then it can get infected again as well as cause a scar.
6.2 Nodule – This type of acne is a painful spot under the skin that is larger than a lesion. It originally starts as papule that forms deep in the skin. It is normally hard and does not easily disappear. It can also cause a scar. It gets infected repeatedly. The infection is caused by the leaked bacteria that get trapped below the epidermal layer.
Types of acne that are severe
1. Rosacea Fulminans – This is also known as Pyoderma Faciale and occurs only in women in their teens as well as those who are middle aged. It occurs on the face and appears suddenly without warning. The affected woman will suffer from several sores, pustules and nodules on her face. This acne lasts for about a year. Women who have long exposure to sun or consume lot of spicy foods as well as hot drinks are more prone to rosacea acne. Seasonal changes as well as the use of strong skin care products can also cause this type of acne. Women affected by this acne have a reddish appearance on their face.
2. Acne Fulminans – This type of acne is difficult to treat as antibiotics are useless once the outbreak occurs. Several lesions are formed on the skin and these appear connected together. Several nodules and cysts are formed and they can be accompanied with acne that is ulcerous. This severe form of acne causes fever and can lead to pain in the joints of the body. It is so severe that hospitalization is required. Scars are left behind once it abates which can cause disfigurement.
3. Acne Inversa – This severe form of acne is also called as Hidradenitis Suppurativa. The affected skin becomes inflamed and has several reddish looking bumps as well as blackheads.
4. Acne Conglobata – This acne affects mostly males. It can affect the whole of the body occurring in face, neck, upper back, chest, arms, armpits, shin and even the thighs. This normally occurs during teenage and continues well into middle age. Hence it stays for a long period of time. This is the severest form of acne and occurs as large sized skin lesions that are connected together. It is difficult to treat as antibiotics are not much helpful. It also requires a long term treatment. A large scar remains after the acne has subsided and can cause permanent disfigurement.
5. Gram-Negative Folliculitis – This form of acne is often the result of treatment of some mild form of acne using antibiotics. But it can be treated easily using antibiotics. It causes outbreaks of several cysts and pustules in the skin containing infectious bacteria. It is rare compared to the other forms of acne.
These are the various types of acne that affect a vast group of people worldwide. Severe form of acne require long term care hence it is necessary to identify them at an earlier stage and take appropriate measures to restrict their spread.