If you suffer from acne, you may be aware that there are different types of facial acne. The type of acne you suffer from, along with the severity of the breakouts and your skin sensitivity, are all factors as to how your dermatologist will treat your condition. If you have seen or are considering seeing a dermatologist for acne breakouts, take the time to educate yourself on the different types of acne and their treatments. This will help you communicate effectively with your dermatologist to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that is right for you.
Acne vulgaris, also known as common acne, ranges from mild to severe and may be only an occasional breakout or a chronic problem. Common acne is marked by the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and red bumps such as papules, pustules and nodules on the skin. There are a number of factors that could contribute to acne, but it is commonly caused by uneven sloughing of dead skin cells along with excess oil production. The oil and dead skin cells mix and clog the pores where bacteria multiplies and forms red bumps commonly known as pimples. Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, antibiotics and retinoids are examples of treatments for acne vulgaris.
While common acne rarely forms cysts, nodulocystic acne is characterized by the formation of large cysts in the skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology's AcneNet website, these cysts may measure several centimeters in diameter and may appear alone or be widespread over the entire face as well as scalp, neck, chest and back. These cysts come from a nodular or papular acne lesion and then worsen, and may appear to be filled with yellow fluid. If you suffer from this type of acne, do not try to pop or drain the cysts yourself, as this should only be done by a physician. Treatment for nodulocystic acne includes isotretinoin, a powerful oral drug, and antibiotics. Large cysts may need to be surgically excised and drained by a dermatologist.
Acne rosacea primarily effects people between the ages of 30 and 50, and is more commonly seen in women. However, men with rosacea tend to be more severely affected. According to MedlinePlus, rosacea is caused by swelling of the blood vessels that are just under the skin. Symptoms of acne rosacea include redness of the skin in small areas or over the entire face, a tendency to flush easily, an increase in spider-like veins on the face, skin eruptions that may resemble acne, irritation or burning of the skin and irritation or watering of the eyes. There is no known cure for rosacea, and treatment is primarily focused on avoiding triggers that make rosacea flare up or get worse. If you have acne rosacea, keeping a diary of your symptoms to catch any possible triggers, avoiding prolonged sun and heat exposure, practicing stress reduction techniques and avoiding spicy foods, alcohol and hot beverages may improve your rosacea symptoms. Topical antibiotics may be prescribed if you have any skin eruptions.