Acne conglobata is one of the most severe, disfiguring types of acne. It produces large acne lesions such as cysts and nodules, which frequently unite and form major eruptions that create scars. It is treatable with the right techniques.
When you hear the word “acne” you typically think of common acne, or acne vulgaris, which is characterized by blocked pores, pustules, and papules—but there are more severe forms of acne, such as acne conglobata. Acne conglobata is very uncommon and extremely painful and disfiguring; you need a dermatologist to formulate an acne conglobata treatment regimen in order to keep the symptoms under control.
What is Acne Conglobata?
Acne conglobata is characterized by:
- Burrowing, interconnecting, abscessed lesions.
- Comedones (blocked pores) occur in groups of two or three, forming cysts.
- The cysts contain a seropurulent matter (pus) that smells foul and keeps returning after drainage.
- The lesions eventually form irregular, disfiguring scars.
The typical acne conglobata sufferer is male; the lesions appear late in adolescence and young adulthood (between the ages of 18 and 30), and usually occur on the face, shoulders, back, chest, and buttocks. The lesions are very pronounced and painful, causing psychological as well as physical problems due to the tendency by society to ostracize those with severe acne. Acne conglobata treatment needs to be initiated as soon as possible to prevent worsening and to reduce the inevitable disfiguring scars.
Sometimes acne conglobata occurs when acne vulgaris pustules and papules deteriorate due to a lack of medical attention, but usually it is a hereditary condition or an autoimmune response.
Acne Conglobata Treatment
Acne conglobata is a serious condition that causes major scarring and tissue damage, and it will not go away by itself. Do not try to express the cysts yourself, or you risk further damaging the skin and worsening the infection and inflammation. Acne conglobata treatment will help reduce the symptoms and prevent lesions from recurring, but many people continue having problems for many years, with the condition going dormant for periods of time and then “flaring up” suddenly.
Acne conglobata requires aggressive treatment by a dermatologist. Usually, acne conglobata treatment is multi-faceted, involving oral and/or topical antibiotics, isotretinoin (Accutane), steroids, and even types of laser therapy for lesions that are unresponsive to other treatments.
Istotretinoin (Accutane) Treatment for Acne Conglobata
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a chemical compound derived from vitamin A; it is widely used as an acne conglobata treatment as well as for acne vulgaris and as a wrinkle reducer. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is taken orally, in capsule form, helps to dry out the skin and speed the healing process. Some people experience a temporary worsening of their acne conglobata at the beginning of treatment with isotretinoin (Accutane), but this usually disappears after a few weeks of use. The preferred therapy is an ongoing dose of isotretinoin (Accutane) at a dosage of 0.5-1 mg per kilogram of body weight for four to six months.
If you develop acne conglobate symptoms, do not try to treat yourself. This is a serious medical condition that can cause major scarring, and it will not go away by itself. Acne conglobata treatment needs to be directed by a dermatologist, who will use several types of therapy, including isotretinoin (Accutane).