The common type of acne is called acne vulgaris. It is a condition that mainly affects adolescents but may persist or even become more severe in adulthood. Most, but not all, acne patients have oily skin (seborrhoea).
What are the clinical features of acne vulgaris?
Acne vulgaris may occur on the face, chest, back and sometimes even more extensively. Several types of acne spots occur, often at the same time.
- Open comedones (blackheads)
- Closed comedones (whiteheads)
- Uninflamed nodules (sometimes called cysts)
- Papules (small red bumps)
- Pustules (white or yellow ‘squeezable’ spots)
- Inflamed nodules (large red lumps)
- Excoriations (picked or scratched spots)
- Erythematous macules (red marks from recently healed spots, mostly in fair skin)
- Pigmented macules (dark marks from old spots, mostly in dark skin)
Individual acne lesions usually last less than two weeks but the deeper papules and nodules may persist for months.
More images of acne ...
Acne may be classified as mild, moderate or severe1. Comedones and inflammatory lesions are usually considered separately.
- <20 comedones
- <15 inflammatory lesions
- Or, total lesion count <30
- 20-100 comedones
- 15-50 inflammatory lesions
- or, total lesion count 30-125
- >5 cysts
- Total comedo count >100
- Total inflammatory count >50
- Or total lesion count >125
Many dermatologists assess the severity of a patient's acne more precisely by using a grading scale, such as the one developed by the Leeds' group. The inflammatory lesions are compared with a set of standard photographs to determine the grade, which may be 1 (very mild) to 12 (exceptionally severe).
In clinical trials evaluating acne treatment, the numbers of uninflamed and inflamed lesions are carefully counted at regular intervals. It is remarkably difficult to count consistently.
What is the treatment for acne vulgaris?
Which treatment is best depends on the patient's age and sex, the extent and the severity of the acne.
- Lehmann HL, Robinson KA, Andrews JS, Holloway V, Goddman SN. Acne therapy: a methodological review. J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 47, 231-240 (2002)
On DermNet NZ:
On other websites:
- Acne Vulgaris – Medscape Reference
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