While the common term for acne is acne vulgaris, there are various types of acne vulgaris one can suffer from and some of these are worse than others. While most often people will get acne in their teenage years it is not uncommon for some people to have their first outbreak in their adulthood too. Acne vulgaris occurs mainly on the neck, back, face and shoulders. Though some people often claim to have it on their upper arms, these are more likely than not to be keratosis pilaris. The lesions you get with more acute acne vulgaris include pustules, comedones, papules and nodules which can become cysts.
The Different Types of Acne Vulgaris
There are three main types of acute acne vulgaris. These include Acne Conglobata, Acne Fulminans, and Nodulocystic Acne.
Acne Conglobata - The Conglobata type is chronic and acute and affects more men than women. It is identified by large eruptions and blackheads on the face, arms, neck and buttocks with inflammation and deeply concealed ulcers. This can cause extensive scarring and is treated with a form of the Vitamin A derived isotretinoin (Roaccutane, Accutane and topical Isotrex). This form of acne vulgaris will often recur even after treatment.
Acne Fulminans - The Fulminans form of acne is usually caused by a recurring of the Conglobata acne. It affects skin that is already inflamed and will often be accompanied by aching joints, fever and violent, ulcerating acne eruptions. The treatment for this form of acne will be a course of anti inflammatory non steroidal medication and perhaps long term treatment with isotretinoin.
Nodulocystic Acne -The Nodulocystic acne type is identified with large cysts on the face, scalp, neck, back, chest and shoulder. These cysts can be quite painful and are caused from nodular or popular lesions that have become infected. These should only be touched and handled by a dermatologist, because if two are close together, they could merge and turn into acne conglobata. Some extreme cases require surgery, but usually isotretinoin is quite effective at bringing nodulocystic acne under control.
Treatment for Acne Vulgaris
The treatment for any type of acne vulgaris ranges from ointments and antibiotics for the milder outbreaks to LASER therapy and surgery for the more severe outbreaks.
Consulting a dermatologist is the first step to find out what type of acne you have and what the best treatment is for that particular type. Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used as an over the counter medication for acne vulgaris, but it can often cause excessive drying of the skin accompanied by redness of the skin.
Some antibiotics are successful when used but in due course the bacteria tend to become resistant to it and for subsequent outbreaks you could find that the once effective treatment is now ineffectual. Lately women have also begun using hormone therapy to reduce the amount of androgen and for more severe cases oral isotretinoin can be taken (Accutane). Products like TriClear and Proactive are great for mild to moderate acne vulgaris.