The Most Severe Types of Acne

The most severe types of acne are characterized by deep dermal lesions that are most often infected and occupying several pores in the affected region of the body. Generally, this type of acne is known as nodulocystic, or simply “cystic” acne.

Cystic acne forms at the deepest layer of the skin, deep in the dermis where it can easily become infected and spread to other pores. When cystic acne spreads to other pores, the infection can cause severe pain and swelling and will almost always result in scarring. Cystic acne begins as a knot or lump under the skin called a “nodule” and is typically firm to the touch.

This type of acne will develop and worsen over time, eventually turning into a cyst with a white head. Because the root of the acne lies deep within the skin tissue, as the oil, infection, and cellular debris that makes up the cysts rises to the surface, it significantly damages the inside of the pore and breaks down the walls between the pore cavities. Because of the damage done to the internal structures of the pores, cystic acne results in heave scarring.

While there are no age limitations for this type of acne, it most often occurs during or after puberty and can be a recurring problem throughout the life of the individual. It can be limited with the help of a dermatologist and proper skin care, however.


Types of Cystic Acne

Cystic acne can develop into acne conditions that are characterized by significant pain, swelling, and systemic symptoms (symptoms from other parts of the body or body system.)

Acne conglobata is a type of acne in which the infection in one pore has extended greatly to other pores in the affected region of the body. This condition is characterized by groups of inflamed pores that are all infected, and may be found to exist among other stages of acne; from blackheads and milia to lesser cysts.

Acne fulminans is a rare type of cystic acne and is known to be the worst type of acne derived from the bacteria and oils that cause all forms of acne. This type of acne causes other body systems to respond to the infection in such a way that produces fever, joint pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and other systemic responses.

Rosacea fulminans was once thought to be related to acne conglobata, but is actually a different type of disorder involving reddening appearance of the skin and cystic lesions. This type of acne is severe and is known to only affect adult women. Why this is the case is uncertain, but significant scarring and lesions are possible, making it much different than other forms of rosacea.

Gram-negative folliculitis is a type of acne that can result from prolonged use of antibiotics or tetracycline and may also be caused by hot tub immersion; it is also found in HIV\AIDS patients. The name is derived from the type of bacteria that cause the infection, as they are measured in a laboratory setting.