Adult acne types
A brief description of acne and its types that are frequently found on adults.
By Traci Pederson
Acne is a very common skin problem, occurring even among adults. It causes pimples on the face and upper torso because the skin is not cleaned from oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Oily skin and poor cleaning habits do not cause acne, but may make it worse. There are many factors contributing to adult acne, which requires a multiple approach. Before buying any kind of medicated cream or cleansing solution, it is best to see a dermatologist to receive an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
There are two types of acne classification. The first is called non-inflammatory acne. These are commonly referred to as whiteheads or blackheads. Whiteheads are follicles that are plugged but stay below the surface of the skin. Because it stays under the skin, a whitehead is called a closed comedo. It may appear on the skin surface as a small whitish bump. The other type of non-inflammatory acne is a blackhead. Blackheads are plugged follicles that push through to the surface of the skin. Once it appears on the skin surface, it is an open comedo. The dark plug is not because of dirt, but rather a buildup of the skin’s pigment or melanin.
The other acne classification is inflammatory. The four types of inflammatory acne relate more to the severity of the inflammation. The first type or mildest form is a papule. They are often tender. The skin appearance of a papule is a small and firm pink bump. They are in the middle of non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne.
The next level of inflammation acne is a pustule. They too are small and round but contain pus that can be seen. Their appearance is red at the base of the lesion with a yellowish-white center. They may contain some bacteria, but most of the inflammation is caused by the skin’s oil parts being chemically irritated.
The third level or type of inflammatory acne is a nodule or cyst. These are typically much larger and very painful. Cysts and nodules develop deep in the skin. When a comedo breaks under the skin, the contents of it are released into the surrounding area. This causes the body’s immune system to react by creating pus. They may last for weeks under the skin with their contents hardening. Nodules and cysts frequently leave deep scars.
The last form is rare but very serious. It is called acne conglobata. It mainly develops on the chest, back and buttocks. It has the pustules and nodules of regular inflammatory acne along with a severe bacterial infection.
Many types of treatment are available for adult acne. The doctor may help you create a routine using over-the-counter medications and cleansers. If the condition is more serious, a prescription medication will be given.
Many other forms of skin blemishes and conditions may be mistaken for acne. Rosacea is the most commonly mistaken skin problem, with red, bumpy skin and papules. The treatments for acne will make rosacea worse as it is more of a problem with the blood vessels under the skin. Other skin problems misdiagnosed are milia, keratosis pilaris, eczema and enlarged pores.
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