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Acne Conglobata is a rare and severe type of acne that usually affects males between 18 to 30 years of age. In some cases however, even people above 40 years of age, and babies may also suffer from the condition.
It appears as interconnected lesions on the face, chest, neck, buttocks and upper arms which make the lesions look like lumps.
As ulcers develop below these inflammatory nodules which tend to develop around these clumps, they interconnect and create abscesses. Subsequently, the nodules grow in size and eventually burst open to emit foul smelling pus.
As these burrowing abscesses tend to leave behind deep and irregular scars even after treatment, people suffering from acne conglobata from severe skin damage.
- What are the Causes of Acne Conglobata?
Doctors still do not know the exact cause for acne conglobata, but most opine that it is a genetic condition. It is the chromosomal defects in the genes inherited from parents that generally lead to this form of acne. In some cases, acne conglobata may also flare up from dormant acne. However there are some known triggers for this acne. Toxic gases like halogens and dioxins, anabolic steroids and also the discontinuation of a course of testosterone are all known to trigger acne conglobata.
- What are the Symptoms of Acne Conglobata?
The main symptoms of this form of acne are swelling and pain in the lesions. There may also be severe inflammation and sensitivity while the cysts and lesions may erupt and ooze out in extreme cases.
What are the Treatment Options for Acne Conglobata?
There are various treatment options available for acne conglobata that range from over the counter medication to natural and alternative treatment options to surgical options.
- Oral Medication
1) In severe cases of acne conglobata your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids for topical application, and antibiotics as oral medication. Bacteria that causes this acne is treated and controlled by the antibiotics while the topical medication helps reduce the inflammation of the lesions. Consequently, the patient experiences lots of relief.
Tetracycline and erythromycin are the two most widely used antibiotics for treating this type of acne. However don’t expect immediate results with antibiotics. The antibiotics need time to work and heal the lesions.
2) Isotretinoin is another oral medication used for treating severe acne that doesn’t respond to other medication. Isotetrinoin is a man-made retinoid or a form of vitamin A that helps prevent the secretion of sebum from sebaceous glands. This leaves skin pores unclogged and thus checks and controls the growth of new acne blemishes. For best results, doctors usually prescribe isotetrinoin for five months after a course of antibiotics.
3) Tretinoin is also used for treating acne conglobata. Patients taking this drug have to however make repeated visits to the dermatologist to eliminate the risk of any recurrence of the acne. Tretinoin is also prescribed for topical application after treating the lesions with carbon dioxide laser.
4) In extreme cases, your doctor may also prescribe the leprosy drug Dapsone to treat the condition. However this is not a regular treatment option, and if administered, requires observation.
- Isotretinoin Risks and Side Effects
Though the best and most important oral medication for treating acne conglobata is isotretinoin, it has its share of side effects. It can lead to possible depression and even suicidal thoughts in some people. Moreover, research has proven that isotetrinoin can cause miscarriages and birth defects if taken by pregnant women.
This is why pregnant women should not take isotetrinoin for treating the acne. Moreover, women taking the medication should also practice birth control while taking this drug. In case of antibiotics, some patients may develop diarrhea because of it, while the corticosteroids used to treat this acne can lead to thin skin and allergies.
- Laser Treatment
This is a relatively new treatment option for acne conglobata where the physician uses laser light for destroying bacteria. The laser also helps in shrinking oil glands and thus reduces excess oil production. Though painless, this is an expensive treatment option where you have to pay about $500 per session, and you need about 5 sessions to see results.
- Interlesional Corticosteroid Injections
Steroid injections like interlesional corticosteroid injections are now being used for treating severe cystic acne. The objective of giving the injection is to prevent acne cysts from rupturing. It also helps reduce inflammation and promotes healing of the acne. With time, the injected corticosteroid dilution also helps the cyst ‘melt’ away.
- Surgical Options
The last option available for treating acne conglobata is surgery. The doctor uses surgical methods for removing the connected nodules. Doctors also use intralesional triamcinolone or cryotherapy to treat the condition. The patients however need to undergo skin grafting after the surgery to camouflage the surgical scars, and thus regain their healthy skin.
- What is the Alternative – Natural Treatment Options
As you need a strong body immunity system to treat the condition, your doctor will prescribe vitamins A, B6, E and C, and zinc to boost your body immunity and to fight the acne conglobata causing bacteria. Consequently, you have to follow a healthy diet with more of fruits and organic food for better body immunity.
Regular exercise also helps as it helps improve blood circulation to give healthy skin. This in turn reduces the chances of recurring acne outbreaks. Though it is not possible to actually prevent acne conglobata, it is better for people who have a history of the acne in their family to keep their skin clean by taking regular baths. In addition to this, they can take extra precautionary measures like applying topical medication that helps control the spread of acne.
If you suffer from recurring acne, it is better to make regular visits to your dermatologist to check for acne conglobata symptoms so that you can nip the problem in the bud.
Cherry juice is extensively used to treat various types of acne, including acne conglobata. It works as a great acne fighter as it is rich in vitamin A, C and various minerals and is a great antioxidant. Moreover, its antibacterial properties help eliminate toxins from the body and fights against any bacteria in the skin. The best way to include cherry in your diet is by adding it to your favorite fruit and vegetable dishes.