A nodular acne is a severe form of acne condition, in which a person develops a lot of inflamed cysts on the face. Many times, nodular acne can be confused with other forms of acne, such as whiteheads, pustules or papules. However, it has some special features that set it apart from the rest. It is always better to consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Nodular acne is a form of inflammatory acne which is a severe form of acne. It is painful, highly inflamed and it is red in colour. Nodules occur when the sebaceous glands get infected because of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes.
The nodules are tender and are solid in structure. The nodules, when left untreated can leave scars. There are different types of nodular acne, but the main difference is the size of the nodules.
There are different factors that cause nodular acne, but one of the most common factors is having oily skin. People who have oily skin are more prone to develop nodules than people with dry skin. Nodular acne can also develop in people with sensitive skin. Also, there are people who have had acne breakouts for a long time who may have it on their face or have more breakouts that occur rapidly or have more pimples than usual.
Nodular Acne Vs Cystic Acne
A nodular acne is a form of acne that is not common. It usually occurs only in adults. The word nodular means a small lump or a small bump and has nothing to do with how big the nodule is. Many times, people get confused between nodular acne and cystic acne.
The most common type of acne, cystic acne, can occur anywhere on your body but it usually occurs on the face, especially on the cheeks and chin. Cystic acne can last for a very long time. Nodular acne is more likely to go away with little scarring, although it may leave behind a small permanent scar.
Nodular acne is quite different from cystic acne. Nodules are hard lumps under the skin, often with a red inflamed base and a surrounding area of normal skin. They may be a few millimetres to a few centimetres across.
Cystic acne is a severe condition in which large, painful, pus-filled lumps form in the skin. Cystic acne is often the result of inflammation and is further characterized by large, painful lumps that may be only one millimetre in size or as large as an egg.
On the surface of the skin, cystic acne look like large, red boils but because they are filled with pus, they are softer than nodules. Acne cysts develop when the contents of blackheads and whiteheads spill into the surrounding areas of the skin.
On the other hand, nodular acne remains intact, deep under the skin and may also be skin toned. Nodules may persist for weeks or even months with the result of their contents hardening into deep cysts.
How to Treat Nodular Acne?
OTC acne products usually don’t work for nodular acne as they help only in shedding excess sebum and dead skin cells from the surface. Talk to your dermatologist about your treatment options.
Prescribed topical acne medications can be directly applied to the acne nodules. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe antibiotics to help kill the bacteria trapped in the pores, high strength benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to dry out the dead skin and oil trapped inside the nodule. Retinoids are also effective in treating nodular acne as they help unclog trapped hair follicles.
Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed when the nodular acne indicates a problem with too much Propionibacterium acne bacteria on the skin. In this case, nodular acne keeps coming back even after treatment or the nodules might be widespread all over the body.
Oral antibiotics help clear up excess bacteria and prevent the bacteria from getting trapped under your pores. Antibiotics can also reduce the painful inflammation associated with nodular acne.
However, the problem with oral antibiotics is that you are supposed to take them for a short period of time so that your body doesn’t become resistant to bacteria.
Many times, birth control pills are also recommended for women to help control hormonal fluctuations that cause nodular acne.
One can also seek the help of surgery combined with prescription medication to reduce bacteria and inflammation as well as get rid of acne scars. These procedures include acne drainage and extraction, blue light therapy, injections and chemical peels.
Sometimes, dermatologists also recommend in-house procedures to treat scars like dermabrasion treatments and laser therapy. It is extremely important to talk with your dermatologist if you have recurring cases of nodular acne. You might need more preventive treatment measures to help keep the nodules from coming back.
Nodular acne is a severe and rare form of acne. It can result in scarring and pigmentation. While nodular acne can be difficult to get rid of, it is certainly not impossible. Following good skin care habits with resisting the urge to pop pimples is a good start.