Types of Acne
An affliction of acne could be mild, moderate or severe. There are 7 types of acne:
1. Whiteheads - Small, whitish bumps caused by clogging of the pores on the skin. They appear to be white as the afflicted areas have not been exposed to the sun.
2. Blackheads – are similar to whiteheads but are black in color as the area where the blackheads are have been exposed to the sun and therefore have been oxidized. These dark bumps can turn yellow because of the presence of excessive melanin in the skin.
3. Papules - Small, firm, cone-shaped lumps, pink in color, and do not contain any pus. They should never be poked or popped as this will lead to creation of scars.
4. Pustules – are a moderate form of acne and are small, round lesions, with either red, yellow or even whitish color at their centers.
5. Nodules and Cysts - Nodules are deep-rooted, painful, severely inflamed and hard. Cysts are also deep-rooted, but soft pus-filled acne. Both are caused because the blackheads or whiteheads have not been attended to. Nodules and Cysts can occur separately and will last for weeks. Cysts are the more severe form of acne.
6. Back Acne – Occurs when sweat and heat are snagged against the body and underneath layers of clothing, consequently irritating the skin.
7. Acne Conglobata (AC) – is a very rare and severe type of acne. This type of acne can occur widely across your body. Areas that can get infected are your back, chest, shoulders, upper arms, thighs, face and even your posterior. This type of acne has abscesses which leave scars. This condition is a combination of pustules, and nodules with the added possibility of bacterial infection. No known causes for occurrence of this type of acne has been found, however this condition can erupt if your existing acne is left untreated.
How does Scarring Develop?
Acne in its most severe forms can cause scarring. Scars are formed once the lesions has healed; a fibrous tissue forms a layer over the wound, replacing / repairing the skin.
Types of Acne Scars
Ø Atrophic Acne Scars – these blemishes are small, soft sunken scars. They can be purple or reddish in color and are commonly found to occur in the Caucasian population. The purple or reddish color is due to the presence of blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin.
Ø Depressed (Atrophic) Fibrotic Acne Scars - found underneath the outer layer of the skin and is characterized by being deep, fibrotic, sharper, well defined steeper edges in comparison to an Atrophic scar. It is also larger than an atrophic scar.
Ø Pigmented Acne Scars – appears to be red in color on light complexioned skin and black or brown on dark complexioned individuals. These scars occur when the inflammation caused by the acne begins it healing process.
Ø Boxcar Acne Scars – forms when the inflamed lesion damages the tissue creating a sunken area under the skin. Appears to be small depressed craters either oval or round in shape with steeply angled sides. They look akin to chicken pox.
Ø Ice Pick Acne Scars – lie deep under the skin sometimes extending into the lower layers of the dermis or secondary skin. They are small, narrow, pinpoint in shape.
Ø Superficial and Deep Soft Acne Scars – generally circular in shape with rolling edges. They are not fibrotic.
Ø Keloid (Hypertrophic) Acne Scars – this type of scarring occurs mostly in populations that are Asian or African. These acne scars project above the skin and are caused because the body produces excess collagen and fibrous tissue.