What Is Inflammatory Acne?


Inflammatory acne is pretty much what is says on the tin. It’s acne with inflammation. It has a variation of forms and can be severe (like painful cysts) or relatively painless (pimples).

To identify this kind of acne is quite easy. Just look for any sign of irritation that comes with your acne breakout. These can include: swelling, redness and dry skin.

Is inflamed acne a sign of a specific type of acne?

No it isn’t. The inflamed part of the acne is just a kind of ‘add-on’ to any kind of acne. These include:

  • Comedones
  • Papules
  • Nodules
  • Cysts
  • Pustules

Inflammation can be a normal part of having acne and it’s important to distinguish which kind of acne you have so you can figure out how to treat it.

How to treat inflamed acne

Inflamed acne can cause scarring and in some instances spread so treating it is key. Luckily, treating inflamed acne is the same as treating normal acne. The ingredients you need to look for are the same.

For severe acnes look for products that contain benzoyl peroxide, for less severe acne look for salicylic acid.

Benzoyl peroxide works by killing off p. acnes, the cause of acne, that might be trapped in your pores. This also works at reducing inflammation in the process. This ingredient is best used topically, not all over your face.

Salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant that works to remove dead skin cells from your pores and has also been used to help to break down inflamed acne lesions.This may be a good option for those of you who don’t have severe acne and don’t want to spend a lot of money on treatment.

What a dermatologist might recommend

The previous two treatments can, more often than not, be bought OTC but for more difficult cases of inflammatory acne a dermatologist might recommend: topical retinoids, oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, isotretinoin.

These kinds of treatments are reserved for severe cases because they could have some side effects. For example you shouldn’t take isotretoinoin if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or think you might become pregnant.

Oral and topically antibiotics are often very effective at treating severe inflamed acne because they work to get the acne causing bacteria under control.

Light Therapy

Intense pulsed light and pulsed-dye laser are a relatively under used acne treatment, mainly because people question their efficacy but if you feel like nothing has worked for you yet this may be the way to go.

This 2010 article on the two found that both PDL and IPL were found to treat acne effectively, but PDL showed a more sustained effect.

The truth is that you my find treating inflamed acne difficult and most people do because it take a long time to treat.If you’re ever frustrated and feel like you can’t find the right treatment for you please visit a doctor who will be able to shed some guidance but don’t give up!

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