Clinical Types of Acne Vulgaris

Classifying acne vulgaris into clinical types is a way of grouping together cases of acne which are recognised as having common characteristics. The features used to classify acne into the different clinical types are the primary cause of the acne and the appearance and distribution of the spots. Eight clinical types of acne have been identified - adolescent acne, infantile acne, occupational acne, drug-induced acne, acne caused by occlusion, cosmetic-induced acne, acne conglobata and keloid acne - each of which has a different cause. Except for infantile acne, which only occurs in young babies, all the other clinical types of acne could potentially develop in a patient of any age. In reality, social factors also come into play, so that in developed countries young children do not develop occupational acne, which is caused by exposure to certain chemicals found in the workplace, although they may do so in cultures where child labour is tolerated.

Different Clinical Types of Acne

There is enormous variation in the incidence, severity and seriousness of the condition between the different types of acne. Two of the clinical types of acne, keloid acne and acne conglobata, Acne conglobata and keloid acne are each the cause of horrendous acne scarring are serious conditions which cause horrendous scarring, but their dramatic appearance sends most patients scurrying to see a doctor. In some clinical types of acne, such as drug-induced acne or occupational acne, the identification and prevention of further exposure to the cause is an essential part of the acne treatment. One clinical type of acne, adolescent acne, is the sign of a serious underlying medical condition when it occurs in babies or young children, but is almost ubiquitous in teenage acne sufferers and not a cause for concern. The remainder of the section provides detailed information about the cause and clinical presentation of each of the clinical types of acne.

Seeking a Medical Opinion

A teenager who develops an acne-like condition which has all the characteristic features of adolescent acne may reasonably decide not to consult a doctor immediately. If the acne does not improve within a couple of months, whether left untreated or subjected to an 'at home acne treatment' regime, a doctor should be consulted. A doctor should readily be able to diagnose the clinical type of acne by examining the spotsThe self-diagnosis of adolescent acne by a teenager is the only situation in which there is no immediate necessity to consult a doctor in a case of suspected acne. In all other forms of acne there are complexities surrounding the cause, diagnosis, management or treatment which warrant medical involvement. A doctor should readily be able to diagnose the clinical type of acne by examining the patient's spots and asking about exposure to medication and chemicals, assess the seriousness of the condition and offer advice on appropriate acne treatment. It is never wrong to consult a doctor in a case of suspected acne, even in the case of adolescent acne in a teenager, whereas the consequences of not seeking a medical opinion are potentially extremely serious.