For many consumers the mere mention or thought of acne brings up images and visions of zits, pimples and blackheads. In fact, many people believe that these skin blemishes are the only types of acne that can infect an individual. Actually, there are at least 12 different types or widely known cases of acne. The conditions can range from a very mild case to the extreme side where severe cases of acne can occur.
Usually the more mild symptoms and cases of acne can easily be treated with over the counter acne solutions; unfortunately the more stubborn and severe cases almost always require the assistance of a certified health profession such as a dermatologist to provide powerful acne fighting skin cleansers in order to treat the more advanced skin blemishes. Another misconception is that acne only appears on the face and forehead. Actually, acne can appear on many different parts of the body to include the back, chest, legs and arms of an individual.
The most common form of acne, that everyone normally associates skin blemishes with, is called Acne Vulgaris. This name actually does stand for the term "common acne" and is responsible for ruining many prom nights and first dates based on its ability to produce blackheads, papules, cysts and nodules.
Speaking of blackheads, although many people use this term interchangeably with acne, a blackhead is actually what occurs when the pores of our skin cells become partially clogged or blocked. These clogged pores allow for sebum and other bacteria, such as dead skin cells to rise to the surface where they turn black once exposed to the air. Blackheads differ from whiteheads in the fact that whiteheads are generally under the skin's surface and occur when the cell pores become completely blocked by bacteria, dead cells and sebum.
Pustules are what many people commonly refer to as zits or pimples. This skin blemish usually appears as a red circle on the skin with a yellow or whitish center. Their counterparts, the papules, are small tender red bumps that appear on the skin and are very irritating. Papules have the ability to cause acne scarring if they are squeezed or popped so the most prevalent advice is to avoid touching them if at all possible.
There are several forms of acne that are prone to scarring and they include nodules, which form as hardened lumps under the skin's surface. They usually have a longer life cycle of several months, are extremely painful and require the assistance of a dermatologist to properly treat them. Cysts are almost exactly like nodules except that they are filled with a substance known as pus. As mentioned before with nodules, they are very painful and best treated by a dermatologist based on their propensity to scarring.
The really scary forms of acne include Acne Conglobata and Acne Fulminans. These extreme forms of acne are uncommon but when diagnosed can be extremely painful, form large lesions all over the body and are very prone to scarring. These are very nasty skin blemishes that clearly need to be treated by a professional dermatologist because the usual treatment to control this form of acne requires oral steroids.
Gram-Negative Folliculitis is a skin condition that is bacterial in nature and usually causes cysts and pustules. Another radical form of acne that only affects females is known as Pyoderma Faciale. It can lead to scarring due to the appearance of cysts, pustules and nodules. The final form of acne is called Acne Rosacea and it looks like a mild rash that is colored red on the face. It can have pimples and zits as an offshoot and generally it targets females over males and it is predominately diagnosed in people that are 30 years or older.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of acne related skin blemishes that affect thousands upon thousands of consumers on a daily basis. Some forms have very mild and easily treatable symptoms while others are more difficult to control and require the intervention of a trained dermatologist in order to prevent scarring. The key to properly treating your acne or skin blemish is to determine what form of acne you are currently suffering from.