Nodular acne is exactly the same as Cystic Acne. Both of these diseases are known as Acne Vulgaris and sometimes are referred to as Nodulocystic Acne. If you suffer from scaly red patches of skin with black heads, white heads, maybe pimples and large, raised, painful cysts you are more than likely suffering from nodular acne. This is the type of acne that causes the worst types of skin scarring and it usually occurs in the areas where the most oil is produced on the skin. So areas that have a lot of oil producing glands such as the back and face are plagued with more acne. Oil creating glands can sometimes increase oil production as a result of stress and hormonal changes.
The main feature of nodular acne are large, raised, pus filled lumps or cysts. It develops anywhere there are a lot of hair follicles or sweat because this is where the oil gets secreted most frequently. People normally find nodular acne forming more frequently in the groin or on the buttocks, and armpits and the back. As stated above nodular acne causes significant scarring, this is because nodular acne forms in the deepest layers of the skin. It can cause significant disfigurement and it can lead people to pretty intense emotional issues as well. Most people start to suffer from nodular in their teens, when the oil glands start to mature and produce oil. This is also the time of our lives where we are most self-conscious and this sort of acne can lead to drops in self-esteem and potentially significant depression and isolation from friends and family. So it is a good idea to get your acne diagnosed and treated, especially if you are struggling with feelings of low self-esteem.
A lot of times these changes the hormones and such can be transient and don’t last long. But sometimes people are affected in a significant manner and the nodular acne can really be damaging both physically and emotionally. The increases in testosterone cause significant oil secretion and pores get clogged and it just seems to never end. This can often end when a person becomes an adult, or sometimes it can continue well into our older years, even into our fifties.
Nodular Acne Diagnosis
What is the process for diagnosing Nodular Acne? Many times doctors use a grading scale which helps to determine just how severe the nodular acne is. There are 2 very popular grading scales.
- Leeds Acne Grading Technique – This technique is based on using photographs of acne in different stages of severity. Then the photos are compared with your acne and it is graded on a level from 1 -15 with 15 being the most severe. Doctors then use this to determine the course of action when treating the nodular acne.
- Global Acne Grading Scale – This is a more complicated grading system based on a regional scoring system for the body. Then based on the areas and severity in those areas a grade is determined and from this treatment is decided upon.
Symptoms of Nodular Acne
So you have some problems with your skin but aren’t sure if it is really nodular acne or not. Then head to your doctor and go see a dermatologist and have your skin evaluated. It can’t hurt and you just may find something out that can really help you. Nodular acne is generally quite painful and they develop like large cysts under the skin. The skin often appears raised and red. Scars can develop readily from Nodular acne for a lot of reasons, but mainly it is the body’s inflammatory response that can most often result in scarring. The body tries to heal itself and as a result it lays down collagen to heal the skin and this sometimes causes scarring. There are several common types of scars that come with nodular acne.
- Rolling Scars – These are scars that when looked at on the face appear as though they are waves across the skin
- Box Car Scars – Usually located on the cheeks and forehead, the box car scar most closely resembles chicken pox scars.
- Ice Pick Scars – Deep pitted scars that are generally the most common nodular acne scars.
- Hypertrophic Scars – These are collagen based scars that appear to be thickening of the skin.
Causes of Nodular Acne
Hair follicles are the area on the body where the glands that produce oil (sebaceous glands) secrete oil. Nodular acne starts when these hair follicles get plugged up with too much oil. One it is blocked bacteria get trapped and nothing can escape so it starts to swell up. It begins to look like a large raised lump or nodule. It starts to turn red and can be very, very painful. As tempted as you are to touch, pick or squeeze these bumps – DON’T!! You can cause worse scarring and it can become infected possibly with a staph infection and much worse, so leave them alone and get help or let it run its course.
Cystic Acne Treatments
There are numerous treatments existing today to treat cystic acne, ranging from cleansers all the way to surgery.
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Hormones replacement therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Laser Treatment
There are some dermatologists who will conduct surgical lancing on some of the more stubborn and large nodules or cysts.
- Egg whites
- Tea Tree Oil
- Aloe Vera
- Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Over 40 – 50 million people in the United States Alone struggle with acne, affecting people of all races, religions and sexes and making it one of the most common disease people suffer from. Get treatment and get it treated early so you don’t have to suffer from disfiguring scaring or emotional issues. Acne is highly treatable and there have been many successes with treatment. So what are you waiting for?!