Dr Andrea G. Di Stefano is an European Board-Certified Dermatologist with a particular interest in Acne, skin cancer, infectious and Sexual Transmitted Diseases and autoimmune skin disorders....more
Acne Vulgaris, or commonly called acne, is a skin problem that can affect
people with ages ranging from 10 to 40. Acne is not just a problem for teenagers
enter into adolescence, but also a problem faced by adult women and men and even
newborn infant. Acne can appear as whiteheads or blackheads (when the oil
becomes oxidized) and also inflamed red lesions such as papules (or pimples),
pustules (pimples with pus), and cysts (or boils).
Acne happens when tiny skin pores become clogged with both sebum and dead
skin cells creating a prime breeding ground for bacteria, due to too much oil
produced by oil glands beneath the skin. The blocked pores are called comedones.
Comedones may appear as whiteheads or blackheads. When they rupture, the oil and
bacteria contained inside will be spread to surrounding areas. The body’s immune
system will then be activated to attack the bacteria and thus resulting in
inflammation and pus production. The degree of inflammation can range from mild
to severe. For mild inflammation, it can be easily treated by applying
over-the-counter acne cream and usually heals within a few days. It is less
likely to cause scarring. For severe inflammation deep into skin, a painful cyst
will appear. It might take weeks to months to heal and also has high risk of
Cystic acne is the most severe kind of acne disease. This deep, inflamed and
painful acne can appear on the face, buttocks, groin, and armpit area and other
body parts where sweat is usually collected. The cysts are soft and pus, which
contains killed bacteria, is filled inside them. They are usually very painful.
Nodules may appear at the same time with cysts. Nodules are also painful lumps
form deep under the skin, but it is hard. When both nodules and cysts appear
together, it is usually referred to as nodulocystic acne.
Although anyone can have cystic acne, this kind of acne is usually
genetically inherited. People, especially teenagers with one or both parents
with cystic acne histories, are prone to have cystic outbreaks too. Cystic acne
should be treated as soon as possible by dermatologists to avoid severe
outbreaks. If left untreated, these kinds of severe acne might result in
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