Just when you thought you knew it all about acne, more information pops up that makes you wash your face a little harder and stay away from that pepperoni pizza. Most people who deal with acne know a little bit about the more common types of acne, such as the varied varieties of acne vulgaris like hormonal acne. But this skin disease unfortunately has a lot more to offer. Some individuals are struck with rare and incredibly severe types of acne that literally change the way they live their lives.
Acne is something so incredibly common that nearly 80% of all people in the Western world will deal with it, primarily when they’re teenagers, and the other 20% will most likely deal with blackheads, occasional pimples, ingrown hairs, and other gland inflammations that create blemishes. In short, no one gets through life with perfect skin.
Below, we will go over some of the rarest types of acne out there and what the individual diseases bring to those afflicted with them.
Rare Types of Acne That Exist
Although this acne type, known technically as hidradenitis suppurativa, is rare, it’s not nearly rare enough once you factor in the 7 billion people on the planet. Those unlucky enough to contract acne inversa start out with typical blackheads. Nothing conspicuous about that, of course; billions of people deal with blackheads. But rather than the pores being cleansed or either inflaming in the way a regular pimple would, the blackheads become incredibly painful red bumps that are deeply rooted inside of the skin. Huge puss-filled nodules form inside of the skin and can last for weeks, months, or even years in some rare cases.
The most troubling part about this type of acne is that the pain usually persists as long as the bump persists, and attempting to pop it like a normal pimple will only make it worse. The swelling within the skin creates a sunken look on the surface, surrounded by a red rash. The pain is so severe in some cases that people need surgery and medication in order to cope in their daily lives.
Of all the rare types of acne, pyoderma faciale is one of the only types that is specific to females. There are two serious consequences of this acne in the way it presents itself. Number one: The acne can come on without warning. One morning, you can have clear skin; the next morning, you can start to break out in large groupings of big red, painful sores and pustules.
Number two: Pyoderma faciale can happen to women who haven’t experienced acne before in their lives. So there are no warning signs and no real ways to stop it from happening.
It can be treated with medications like Accutane and steroid injections, but the potential for scarring is almost a guarantee when you’re dealing with this rare type of acne.
Thankfully, this rare and severe type of acne is typically only a result of antibiotic side effects. This means losing the genetic lottery or being exposed to someone with the condition isn’t going to increase your odds of getting it. Gram-negative folliculitis is a rare type of acne that presents itself as large cysts and pustules. The cysts themselves are large, painful and deeply rooted in the skin. They fill with puss and begin to swell, which causes more pain, more inflammation, and increases the risks of scarring.
Other than doctors pinpointing the cause of this rare acne type, little more is known. It cannot be prevented. If you’re taking antibiotics, it’s a crap shoot. And in terms of treatment options, over-the-counter remedies seem to have little effect.
There are many types of acne that are caused by outside influences, presenting themselves like allergic reactions, but halogen acne is one of the rarest. This is a type of acne that’s caused by bromides, fluorides, iodides, and other halogens that are introduced through drugs or other substances. The condition itself is called halogenoderma, but it presents just like severe acne: Deep-rooted cysts and nodules, pustules, inflammation, pain, redness, etc.
The breakout itself can be treated with basic acne-fighting medications to lessen the severity, but the acne isn’t going to subside completely until the substances are out of the body. For instance, if the acne happened as a result of fluoride, it will continue until the use of fluoride is discontinued, taking several weeks to dissipate thereafter.
On its face, chloracne doesn’t sound that bad. It’s characterized as an acne-like skin eruption, only you’re dealing with raised blackheads, not red, inflamed, painful pustules and nodules. So, a few blackheads are easy enough to deal with. Right? Well, not exactly. What makes this rare acne type so worrisome is that the entire face typically tends to get covered in these raised blackheads, and the longer they persist, the more chance they have of turning into long-term cysts and pustules.
Dioxins, dibenzofurans and other halogenated aromatic compounds cause this type of acne, and it typically spreads across the cheeks, chin, forehead, and even around the back of the neck and under the ears. It can be treated like halogen acne, by removing the substance, but much more skincare may have to go in to removing the blackheads and resurfacing the face.
These rare types of acne can all be painful, and they will all almost certainly lead to scarring if not handled quickly and effectively. The good news is their rarity; the bad news is their severity.