Acne Conglobata is one of the more severe types of acne. It is very resistant to treatment and is long lasting. Unlike the normal acne which causes pimples, Acne Conglobata produces large cysts/nodules underneath the skin. The acne lesions are almost always fiery looking and red.
Acne Conglobata is many times more common in males than females. Unlike Acne Vulgaris, it is most often seen in the 2nd and 3rd decade of life. It occurs because of the plugging of the sweat pores and excess sebum production.
Acne Conglobata usually starts off as regular acne with the development of pustules and acne cysts. Most of these pustules resolve but some do not heal and get worse with time. The pustules get inflamed and form multiple comedones. The large cysts than collect pus and form collections underneath the skin. Pus drainage is a classic feature of this acne. When these cysts/nodules heal, they usually form deep scars and also keloids. The condition is chronic and often flares up during stress.
The typical features of this acne include:
- the cysts almost always contain pus
- the skin is red and hot
- scars and skin deformity are common
- scarring almost always occurs upon healing
- black heads are very common
Many people with Acne Conglobata also have Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Hidradenitis is a chronic disease of certain sweat glands. For unknown reasons, people with Hidradenitis also develop plugging or clogging of their sweat glands. The condition eventually causes chronic scarring and pus collection under the armpits (axilla), buttocks and groin areas. In women it can also occur under the breasts. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is thought to be similar to acne and is more commonly seen in individuals who have acne. Some think that it is another type of chronic acne.
The treatment of acne Conglobata is not satisfactory. Most individuals who have this acne are forever seeking the ultimate cure. The acne is almost always treated with a Retinoid derivative. Accutane or Isotretinoin is the most effective drug. It is effective in some cases and does reduce the severe inflammation and redness. However it does not prevent the scars from forming.
Because of the pus collection in this acne, many physicians do prescribe antibiotics for treatment. The antibiotics have to be continued for long periods before one can see any benefit.
Home skin care is highly recommended for all these individuals.
Many of these individuals develop ugly scars on the face and these can be managed by a cosmetic surgeon or a dermatologist.