Moderate and Severe Adult Acne Blemishes

Moderate adult acne is more common than severe acne, but both severities can cause significant problems for adults. Acne blemishes that are persistent or difficult to treat can be embarrassing and painful. Moderate and severe acne conditions involve infection and swelling of the pores in the skin.

Moderate acne types include two types of adult acne lesions: papules and pustules. Papules and pustules are forms of adult acne that form close to the surface of the skin.

Papules are red lumps or bumps on the skin that do not have a “visible” head. Instead the pore has become clogged and is accumulating oil. Swelling indicates that the tissues inside of the pores are being damaged by the blockage. The oils are unable to seep out of the pores, either because the pore opening is too small or because it is blocked. In this stage, the P. acnes bacteria that lives on the skin begins to infest the pore because there is no oxygen to keep it regulated.

Pustules are typical pimples, known as whiteheads. Pustules indicate that the bacteria in the pore have developed to the point that the body has reacted with an immune response. White blood cells are invading the pore to kill the bacteria. As the pressure inside of the pore rises, the whitehead forms on top of the pore as the substances try to escape.

Severe acne types include two types of adult acne lesions as well: nodules and cysts. Nodules and cysts begin much deeper in the skin layer than other forms of adult acne.

Nodules are comparable to papules, except that they are infected and occur deep in the underlying layers of the dermis. Because significant damage is done to the pore walls, infection can spread to nearby pores and creates a bigger lump in the skin that is often very painful.

Cysts are nodules that have become very infected. Much like pustules, cysts have become engorged with pus, oils, and cellular debris. Because the infection originated much deeper in the dermis and involves multiple pores, it is very painful and much more severe than pustule infection however.


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