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Forms of acne

Depending on the causes, the type and the severity of the skin changes, doctors differentiate between different forms of acne. By far the most common is common acne or acne vulgaris, which in most cases becomes noticeable for the first time during puberty. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, they are divided into the following three or four types of acne

Acne comedonica

Acne comedonica is the lightest form of acne vulgaris. Its hallmarks are blackheads that are not or hardly inflamed. They are mainly found on the face and here especially in the side area of the nose, as well as on the chin and forehead.

Acne papulopustulosa

In addition to blackheads, patients with this moderately severe form of acne have inflamed pustules, slightly larger papules and nodules up to ten millimeters in size. All of these skin changes can hurt when touched. In addition to the face, the acne papulopustulosa can also affect the back, chest and upper arms.

Acne conglobata

Mainly men suffer from this most severe form of common acne. Inflamed and painful nodules the size of a centimeter form here, which merge with each other via passageways or encapsulate themselves as pus bumps

( abscesses ) penetrating deep into the skin . Even after the skin changes have healed, the characteristic acne scars often remain after an acne conglobata.

Acne Fulminans

This very rare and severe form of acne occurs almost exclusively in boys and young men. Affected skin regions (necrosis) die, which can be accompanied by symptoms such as fever , general feeling of illness, joint inflammation and swollen lymph nodes.

Other forms of acne

In addition to the different variants of acne vulgaris, there are a number of other types of acne. These include, for example:

Acne inversa – here the symptoms appear predominantly in the area of large skin folds such as armpits, groin, female breasts and the genital and anal region. This form of acne, which often leads to the formation of painful abscesses, can be very stressful for those affected, especially if it is severe.

Acne cosmetica – due to care and cosmetic products

Acne medicamentosa – drugs are the trigger here

Acne venenata – triggered by the mostly professional use of chemicals such as chlorine, oils or tar

Acne tarda – if acne persists beyond the age of 25 or only begins in adults, doctors speak of acne tarda

Acne neonatorum – occurs in newborns and usually heals within a few weeks after delivery. The cause is considered to be male sex hormones in the mother that have been passed on to the unborn during pregnancy

Acne infantum – this form, also called “infant acne”, occurs in babies and toddlers after the third month of life

Acne vulgaris

Acne vulgaris is a skin disease that appears in the form of oily skin and blemishes. This type of acne is the most common of all types of acne. The main triggers are hormone changes during puberty, whereby genetic predisposition can play a role. With the right diet and lifestyle, as well as the use of suitable care products, those affected can alleviate the symptoms. Medicines for acne treatment are used for severe courses.

What is acne vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris, also called “acne simplex” or “ordinary acne”, is a skin disease that manifests itself in the form of blackheads, pimples, nodules and pustules on the skin. The affected areas of the body include the face, shoulders, chest and back. The skin disease usually occurs during puberty. That is why it is also known as puberty acne. There are several types of acne , with acne vulgaris being the most common.

Treatment of acne vulgaris

If you suspect you have acne, you should see a dermatologist (dermatologist). He looks at the condition of the skin and carries out a questionnaire (anamnesis), among other things, about the patient’s lifestyle. He then advises the person concerned about treatment options. Acne vulgaris can be treated externally (through ointments and peels) and internally ( medication for acne treatment) . If the skin disease is not treated, the symptoms usually go away by the age of 25. However, lack of treatment can result in scarring.

Which form of treatment is suitable depends on the severity of the skin disease.

Mild acne vulgaris: About 60 – 70% of all acne patients have a mild form and do not need any medical therapy. With effective skin cleansing and proper care, patients can get their symptoms under control. If the symptoms are more pronounced, topical drugs are used (for external use).

Mild to moderate acne vulgaris: This type of dermatologist usually prescribes creams and tinctures with active ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide (BPO), adapalene or the antibiotic clindamycin, which are particularly effective against comedones and increased sebum production.

Severe acne vulgaris: In the case of severe inflammation and abscesses, isotretinoin is usually prescribed for oral use to alleviate the symptoms. The active ingredient reduces sebum production and has an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect.

What you can do about puberty acne yourself

If you suffer from acne vulgaris, there are a few things you should consider to avoid aggravating the symptoms:

Avoid putting your hands on your face. There are many bacteria on your hands that can cause or increase inflammation.

Pay attention to the diet: There are indications that the diet has an influence on the development and course of acne vulgaris. It is believed that a balanced diet with as unprocessed foods as possible has a positive effect on the complexion. Acne patients should also eat as little carbohydrates and cow’s milk as possible.

Skin cleansing and using the right care: The combination of effective cleansing and symptom-adjusted care is necessary for successful therapy for acne. For those affected, there are care products that are specially tailored to the skin disease. Eucerin has developed the DERMOPURE care series that works against excess sebum, blackheads and inflammation.

Anyone who uses drug therapy can support the skin with the  help of moisturizing therapy . This reduces side effects such as dry skin, burning and stinging.

Expressing the pimples is not a good idea for acne vulgaris – this can promote inflammation. Special care products can help treat acne vulgaris.

Suggested Products

The following generally applies to skin prone to acne: mild but effective cleaning and care products are recommended. Those affected should use products that are specifically tailored to the needs of acne skin. This means that the products are not comedogenic. “Comedogenic” means “blackheadtriggering”.

A cleansing gel is suitable for cleaning oily and acne-prone skin, which gently frees the skin of make-up residues and excess sebum. The DERMOPURE cleaning gel from Eucerin has an antibacterial, non-comedogenic and is soap and fragrance free .

If those affected want to cover their blemishes, products with a double effect are ideal: a concealer that not only conceals imperfections but also reduces pimples, such as the DERMOPURE concealer . This contains, among other things, salicylic acid, which has a comedolytic effect – this means that it dissolves blackheads.

Acne vulgaris symptoms

Typical symptoms of acne vulgaris are:

Comedones (blackheads)







Typical symptoms of common acne include blackheads and pimples.

Inflammation often only disappears after several weeks. In addition, the skin is often oily and reddened by the inflammation. Those affected not only suffer psychologically from the appearance of the skin, but also from pain caused by inflammation if the course is severe. The peak phase of the disease is between the ages of 15 and 18 years. If puberty starts earlier, acne symptoms may also be observed earlier.

Severity of acne vulgaris:

Depending on the form, acne vulgaris is divided into four degrees of severity :

Acne comedonica: Blackheads and mild inflammation occur (mostly only on the face).

Acne papulo-pustulosa: Moderate to severe purulent and inflamed papules and pustules on the face, back and décolleté.

Acne conglobata: Large inflamed nodules and possibly abscesses appear. Usually the face and the entire abdomen and back area are affected.

Special form of acne fulminans: In addition to severe inflammation, this special form of acne can also cause fever, joint pain and leukocytosis (abnormally high white blood cells).

How does acne vulgaris develop?

The cause of acne vulgaris is hormonal changes during puberty. Hyperkeratosis (excessive cornification) in the sebum gland follicle and increased sebum production (sebum production) promote bacterial growth. The subsequent immune response of the body becomes visible as inflammation.

Hereditary predisposition plays a major role in acne. If both parents had acne in adolescence, the chances are high that their children will also develop acne during puberty. Factors such as stress, a carbohydrate-rich diet and a high consumption of cow’s milk, the use of unsuitable care products, little sleep and the manipulation of pimples can increase the symptoms.


The symptoms of acne can vary in severity. The signs of the skin disease usually arise from the fact that the sebaceous glands of the skin produce an excessive amount of sebum under the influence of androgens, thereby clogging and igniting. Typical for acne is blemished skin, which is shown by the following symptoms:

  • Pimples and blackheads (comedones),
  • Papules and pustules (pus-filled blisters) as well an oily skin.

These symptoms are usually found on the face, neck and décolleté. Sometimes, however, the acne also occurs on the back, under the armpits and in the genital, buttocks and groin region.

With severe acne, large inflammatory nodules, abscesses, crusts and scars appear on the skin. Depending on which areas of the body are affected, the inflammation can cause pain (e.g. when sitting with acne in the buttocks area). Particularly severe forms of acne can trigger other symptoms in the form of fever and joint inflammation.

In most cases, the symptoms of acne go away on their own.

Blackheads (comedones), small skin thickenings (papules), pus-filled blisters (pustules), inflamed nodules and nodules, and generally oily skin are the typical symptoms of acne. It arises primarily in regions where there are many sebaceous glands: in addition to the face with forehead, cheeks, chin and nose, this includes the neck, back and above all shoulders, upper arms and chest (décolleté).

Depending on how pronounced the symptoms are and which areas of the body affect them, the inflammatory changes can also cause pain. It should also not be underestimated that the visible skin symptoms in acne represent a psychological burden that affects the self-confidence of those affected and their quality of life.

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