Sunday, August 26, 2012

Acne Basics – The Different Types of Acne

Acne ranges from mild - a pimple or two containing oil, dead skin and white blood cells - to more severe. The more severe types of acne require a diagnosis and an aggressive regimen of treatment. Acne is rated by grade.

Types of Acne by Grade

Ÿ  Grade I – This includes the milder types of acne including acne vulgaris. These types are typical white and blackheads that are not inflamed and are treatable with over the counter topical medications.
Ÿ  Grade II - This is the diagnosis given when the acne papules and pustules are more widely spread and moderately inflamed. Pustules are filled with bacteria, dead skin cells and white blood cells. Papules are bumps that appear on the surface of the skin. They are lesions that are measurable at 5 mm. Both types of acne are often seen together.
Ÿ  Grade III - This is one of the severe types of acne. The papules and pustules are larger, redder, more inflamed and more numerous than in other types of acne.
Ÿ  Grade IV – This grade includes the most severe types of acne. This type includes cysts and nodules and usually spreads to other areas of the body besides the face. These types of acne often develop into acne congoblata.
Ÿ  Acne congoblata causes horrible inflammation and abscesses that are deep into the skin. This type causes severe scarring and other kinds of skin damage that is much more serious than any other types. Nodules form around the comedones (whiteheads and blackheads). The nodules are inflamed and grow until they explode, discharging pus. These are unsightly and horribly painful to experience. Scars of the Keloid type are caused by these.
Ÿ  Acne fulminans are another type that occur in Grade IV. With this type, nodules can ulcerate and cause painful recurrences of acne. This type is often accompanied by fever and aching joints. Corticosteroids or NSAIDS are often prescribed for acne fulminans. These are effective for some of the symptoms but do not treat the cause of the acne.

Ÿ  Nodulocystic acne is an even more severe type of acne. Unusual types of cysts form on the skin. They are many and close together in an area that is large and inflamed. They can form tunnels under the skin and infections spreads rapidly through the small tunnel. The prescription antibiotic, Accutane is usually used to treat nodulocystic acne.

Ÿ  Gram-negative folliculitis is caused by an infection in the follicles - the opening through which hair grows and sebum is released by the sebaceous glands. Bacteria multiplies and grows inside the acne causing the body to respond by sending white blood cells to the area to fight infection. This causes deep eruptions that must be treated differently. The bacteria that causes these types of acne are often antibiotic resistant. They may even be caused by antibiotic treatments for the other forms of acne.

A dermatologist or doctor is more experienced in differentiation between the types of acne and must be consulted for proper care and treatment of all but Grade I. If you think your acne is severe, make an appointment with one of these professionals. 

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