When people say the word acne, generally they're thinking about a face full of red pimples. But the truth is that acne is a term that covers a number of different types of conditions. It's important to understand the differences, because each type of acne will require slightly different treatment. That's important, because unless you know what's causing your acne, you might find the treatment you use is totally ineffective.
It's an awful name, but the most common form of acne is acne vulgaris. It has nothing to do with being vulgar, though. This is the most common form of acne for teenagers, and is the type that always appears right before their big date or the school dance. Usually it's a severe outbreak that covers most of the face, and is most common in people with oily skin. There are three phases of acne vulgaris:
- Non-inflammatory lesions, including blackheads and whiteheads
- Inflammatory lesions, which are basically the red pimples, or anything that looks like it could be squeezable
- Secondary lesions, which are popped pimples, healed pimples and scars
Have you ever had the type of whitehead or blackhead that doesn't become inflamed? They're known as comedonal acne, and they usually appear on the forehead or chin. This type of acne is aggravated by hormonal fluctuations, high humidity and the use of particular facial products. Babies can also get acne, which is called infantile acne. It usually only lasts for the first few months of the baby's life. Pregnant women are also susceptible to acne, particularly in the first trimester. Generally as the hormones change throughout the pregnancy, the acne clears up. If you're pregnant, you should never use any kind of treatment for acne without consulting your doctor first.
A worse form of acne vulgaris is acne conglobata. This usually occurs in males, and the acne is often worst on the back and chest, with only some on the face. There's an even more severe form known as acne fulminans. This often has symptoms well beyond the appearance of pimples, and may involve aching joints, fever, lack of appetite, weight loss, and a raised white blood count. Again, this is most common in males, and can result in them being quite ill.
Acne can also occur as a reaction to certain medications. This form is known as acne mediamentosa, and is most common with hormone-based medications like anabolic steroids or oral contraceptives for women. It's interesting, however, that oral contraceptives are often prescribed to help women who are suffering from outbreaks of acne!
Finally, there's acne excorit, which is mostly found in females. It's basically the aftermath of pimples, blackheads or whiteheads that have been interfered with due to popping or picking. Even though the acne may have healed, acne scars , sores and marks can be left behind. If you don't want to suffer this form of acne, then the best solution is to stop picking at the pimples in the first place.
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