In the previous article, we studied different types of rare acne; pimples which affect only a handful of the population and which are nothing like acne vulgaris that is known to affect millions of people around the world. In continuation to this topic, we are back with other rarer acne forms that are equally distressing.
Rosacea means ‘redness’ of the skin. Acne rosacea is similar to normal acne but is characterized by extreme redness of skin especially on the cheeks, nose, forehead etc. It is often mistaken with ‘blushing or sunburn’. The main difference between normal adult acne and acne rosacea is that the latter has no blackheads which are characteristic in acne vulgaris. Many women, and some men, in the age range of 30 and above are known to suffer from acne rosacea. The exact cause of this skin disease is not known but dermatologists believe that the tiny blood vessels situated just beneath the skin become inflamed and leaky owing to sun damage, certain inflammatory foods etc. Unfortunately, there is no known permanent cure for clearing acne rosacea. It is best to avoid excess sun and also use sunscreen with UVA and UVB blocking property and SPF 30 or higher. Men must avoid using harsh razors while shaving when suffering from acne rosacea. Women must avoid scrubs or steroidal creams etc to prevent rosacea flare-ups.Other precautions like avoiding strenuous activities, hot drinks, alcoholic beverages, spicy foods etc can also help prevent excessive redness that accompanies acne rosacea.
Gram Negative Folliculitis
This condition is seen in patients already having acne vulgaris or acne rosacea. It is caused by gram negative organisms –a class of bacterium that is usually highly resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics and which does not stain when exposed to ‘Gram’. This type of acne flare-up is seen in patients suffering from HIV/AIDS as well as in people who undergo hot tub immersion. The latter is called Spa folliculitis which is caused by Pseudomonas bacterium that is known to withstand very high temperatures, high alkalinity and high organic content of hot pools.Gram negative folliculitis is characterized by a red rash which is similar to acne vulgaris. It is also typical in patients being treated using tetracyclines or other antibiotics given for acne. The lesions accompanying such a rash are often deep, circular and pus filled. The Proteus species of organisms causing Gram negative folliculitis is also able to penetrate deep within the dermis causing abscess and cysts. Treating this condition is rather difficult as the patient is already on antibiotics to which the bacterium is resistant. Certain drugs like ampicillin and trimethoprim are known to show favorable results. Isotretinoin is also known to reduce sebum formation and dry up the mucus membrane where the bacteria causing the gram negative folliculitis are found.
This is another very rare form of acne seen in men and women suffering from psychological disorders. This acne erupts when the patient either scratches out exiting acne pimples or simply spends hours in front of the mirror touching the skin to reduce non existing blemishes. Treating the underlying mental disease is the only way of treating this acne.
This is a rare form of acne, also called Rosacea Fulminans, which affects more women than men, typically in the age range of 20 to 40. This skin condition closely resembles acne vulgaris but is different because there is no formation of lesions, comedones or sores or even presence of infective bacteria causing them. Isotretinoin, systemic corticosteroids and medicines like Accutane® are often prescribed for this rare and unusual acne, often without results. As this acne outbreak comes on rather suddenly, it can cause great deal of turmoil in the patients.
Acne cosmetica and Chloracne
Certain cosmetics can also bring on sudden acne flare-ups. Acne cosmetica was very common in the 1970’s due to the manufacture and widespread use of pore-blocking cosmetics. Today, it is rarer seeing this type of acne owing to increased consumer awareness and also improved manufacturing standards. Chloracne is caused by exposure to industrial waste, chloracnegens and even certain toxic contaminants in food or halogenated aromatic compounds. A dermatologist must conduct allergy tests to rule out these acne triggers. You might have to change your diet and certain daily habits to see improvement in the skin.
If you need more help with your acne or think it does not belong to the category of normal adult acne, do visit an experienced dermatologist immediately.