Acne: Causes and Types

Acne is a common inflammatory disease that affects the skin. Here is a look at some of the causes of acne as well as the different types.

The scientific term for acne is acne vulagaris. Usually, it caused when the skin structure that includes the hair follicle and sebaceous glands, known as the pilosebaceous units, goes through changes because of hormones or other reasons. Symptoms usually include pimples, spots, and zits. The term acne is of Greek origin, and is a combination of the words “acme”, which means “skin eruption” and “bacne” or “backne” which is a type of acne that shows up on the back instead of the face.

Acne is commonly found in pubescent people, or teens. It is more common in Western societies, possibly because of a genetic disposition to the condition. However, people of all races and ages can get acne. For teenagers, acne is considered the body’s way of reacting to hormones in the body, as during this age the different hormones are fluctuating wildly. These fluctuations tend to level out over time, so for many people the acne will decrease or disappear as they enter their 20s. However, not everyone is so lucky. It is impossible to predict how long it will take acne to disappear for an individual person. Nearly everyone will deal with acne at some point during their lifetime. Some people continue to have acne as adults, especially women. In women, it can be aggravated by the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or changes in birth control medication, since all of these factors affect the hormone balance of the body.

There are several types of acne. Here is a look at some of the more common types and their causes.

Acne vulgaris is the type of acne commonly seen in teenagers. It starts around puberty, and will usually be found on the face, shoulders, and/or chest.

Acne rosacea is more often found in adults. This type of acne appears as a red rash that is localized to the patient’s face.

Acne keloidalis nuchae is also known as pseudofollicultis nuchae. This acne rash is a result of irritation caused by shaving.

Acne conglobata is also known as hidraenitis suppurative. This type of acne is actually abscesses and boils on the sweat glands and hair follicles. You will generally find this acne in the armpits, groin, and buttocks, though some women will also get it under the breasts. In its extreme form, this type of acne is known as acne fulminas.

Acne cosmetic is a type of acne caused by a reaction to different makeup or cosmetics. It can sometimes be avoided by wearing non-acne causing formulations.

Acne medicamentosa is a form of acne caused in response to a change in medication.

Baby acne is an acne-like rash seen on newborns. It is generally found on the cheeks, chin, and forehead and will clear up on its own.

Chloracne is a rash that is caused due to the exposure of a person to chlorinated hydrocarbons.

In most cases, only your dermatologist will be able to positively identify the type of acne that you have, as well as the best treatment for it.