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What Is Acne? How Can I Get Rid Of It? And What Kind Of Acne Do I Have?

Updated on July 19, 2017

Millions of people spend hundreds of dollars each year on skin creams and other medicines that promise to keep your skin clear of acne. No one wants to look in the mirror and see a big ugly pimple but the sad truth is it has happened to everyone at one point in his or her lives. However, one pimple does not always mean that you have acne. Acne is usually more severe than just one or two unsightly pimples. It is important to know which type of acne that you have in order to get the correct treatment. Below you will find many different types of acne and their descriptions.

Treating Bad Acne
Treating Bad Acne

Acne Aestivalis

Acne aestivalis is a light sensitive form of acne, which means that breakouts are triggered by exposure to the sun. If exposure to sunlight is causing you to break out in blotches of tightly clustered red papules then you most likely have this form of acne.

People commonly associate this form of acne with skin cancer simply because they are both caused by UV light. There is no actual link between the two except that if you are getting frequent breakouts then that should be a warning that you are spending too much time in the sun.

Sunscreen may seem like it would be helpful in preventing breakouts but this is not completely true. People who use sunscreen are only slightly protected against the sun and the sunscreen itself will only clog pores, which can sometimes cause breakouts anyway.

This type of acne is not an extremely common type. People who spend an enormous amount of time outdoors in the sunlight are at a greater risk of developing this type of acne then people who do not go outside a lot. If you cannot avoid being outdoors, you can protect yourself by wearing clothing that will shield your skin from the sun and a wide brimmed hat that will shield your face.

People who have a dark skin complexion are most likely never going to develop this form of acne. On the other side of that coin, people who have a very light complexion are at a high risk of developing this type of acne.

If you have noticed that you are suffering from breakouts after spending time outside in the sun then you most likely have this type of acne. If this is the case, you should spend as little time in the sun as possible and see your doctor about treatment options immediately.

Acne Conglobata

This type of acne is most commonly associated with men who either have suffered or are suffering from other types of acne. The reason this form of acne affects men more than women is because of the hormone testosterone and excess androgen's, which can be caused by male puberty, certain tumors, steroid abuse, and testosterone therapy.

This type of acne is identified by the process in which it forms. It first starts as blackheads, usually in groups of three or four. Those blackheads then become pimples and the pimples eventually fill and explode. Once the pimple ruptures, the body’s immune system causes pus to fill the wound. This response causes the pimple to fill with pus and rupture repeatedly. Over time, the pimple becomes larger and larger. If they become large, enough two or three of these lesions may fuse together and cover a large area of the face. This is why this type of acne causes such bad scarring.

If you believe that you have this type of acne, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. If you do not get this treated right away, it will only get worse and you will be left with very bad scarring.

Acne Cosmetica

As the name suggests this type of acne is formed by the use of cosmetics. There have been many different types of acne that have been diagnosed under this one name because they were all caused from the use of make-up in one way or another. This type of acne is far less common today since many cosmetic companies have taken several strides to ensuring that their products do not cause people to break out.

Even though make-up is far less likely to cause a person to break out now, there are still cases of acne in which make-up was the cause. However, this is commonly due to people leaving make-up on overnight, using too much, or using the wrong type for their skin.

If you notice that a certain type of cosmetic that you are using is causing you to break out then you may be suffering from acne cosmetica. Is this is true then simply not using that product any longer should cure the problem. If it does not then you are suffering from a different form of acne and should see a doctor to identify the problem correctly.

Acne Fulminans

This is a more severe type of acne and usually develops from the use of treitonin to treat acne Conglobata. This does not mean that it is always linked to this other form of acne. It can be its own type of acne and can be a reaction to the use, or abuse, of steroids.

This type of acne is more severe because it does not attack the normal places that acne is commonly found. This type of acne can spread to places beyond the skin and cause serious swelling of the joints and lymph nodes. This can be extremely painful and hospitalization if often necessary because when it affects the lymph nodes it can make it extremely hard for a person to breathe.

Along with these other symptoms, this form of acne normally causes open sores on a person’s torso, which will be extremely susceptible to infection if not properly cared for.

The long-term effects of this type of acne go far beyond simple scarring. When joints become swollen, it normally causes a person to restrict the movement of their limbs. This can lead to loss of muscle and bone mass. In addition, if a person is having a hard time breathing this can reduce the oxygen that other internal organs need and restricting their oxygen can cause these organs to become crippled and presently damaged.

The only way to treat this type of acne is to be seen by a doctor immediately to begin a treatment of steroids. This condition can be quite painful and deadly when not cared for properly.

Acne Keloidalis Nuchae

This type of acne is a form of folliculitis and can be identified by the painful scarring on the scalp. This form of acne normally attacks men of African American decent. It is most likely caused by ingrown hair, which causes the follicle to swell and eventually cause a lesion that turns into a scar. It generally affects the back of the head and the nape of the neck. The scarring can cause hair to either grow back in damaged or not grow at all.

Acne Miliaris Necrotica

This type of acne also affects the scalp. This is a different type of acne because it can be confused for a normal case of dandruff very easily. The only difference between this type of acne and a normal case of dandruff is the scars that it causes because of the dead skin cells.

Anyone can get this form of acne. However, people who are bald generally are unaffected by this condition. It is unclear why this type of acne is caused but it is thought that genetic reasons may come into play. In addition, people who suffer from extreme dry scalp are more prone to this type of acne.

It is difficult to determine if you have this type of acne or not. The symptoms of this form of acne can be associated with many other types of conditions. The only way to be sure is to consult with a doctor.

Acne Necrotica

This is one of the most painful and disfiguring forms of acne. This type of acne can strike anyone and is not a result of genetics or heredity. Acne necrotica is caused when the skin inside of an acne pustule dies because of lack of oxygen to that skin. It most commonly forms when a person is already suffering from another form of acne known as acne vulgaris. This type of acne can be identified by the dark grey or black skin around the pustule, which is probably because of the necrotized tissue. If not treated immediately this skin condition will spread.

This type of acne is chronic and if left to heal on its own will not only be extremely destructive but will take a very long time to heal. It is extremely painful and leaves very bad scarring. The scars associated with this acne are permanent and require laser therapy to get rid of. The only way to lessen the damaging effects is to get this condition treated immediately by a doctor.

© 2011 Meagan Ireland


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    • mireland19 profile imageAUTHOR

      Meagan Ireland 

      6 years ago from Maine

      No thanks needed. In fact, thank you for taking the time to let me know how useful the hub was! I love knowing that someone got something out of my hub as that is why I write them! Good luck with your new blog and if you ever need any content please let me know! :)


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