Acne fulminans, also known as ulcerative acne or acne conglobata, is a severe variant of inflammatory acne. There are limited dermatological treatments of acne fulminans, but the challenge can be in finding adequate dermatological treatments for the severe acne scars it can leave.
While acne fulminans is relatively rare, having proper classifications and dermatological treatments for this form of acne is important for getting improved outcomes, including prevention of the acne scars where possible.
Acne fulminans appears suddenly with very painful erosions that bleed and crust. These acne lesions usually appear on the trunk, and often result in severe, disfiguring acne scarring. Another extreme version of this condition causes severe inflammation throughout the body, causing symptoms such as fever, joint pains, and bony lesions.Acne fulminans is most often seen in teenage boys who often have a history of acne, appearing in hair follicles that are sensitive to testosterone (terminal hairs) – the chest, face, back and buttocks can be heavily affected. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why acne fulminans appears, but it seems to be an immune condition or can be set off by use of a derivative of vitamin A used in some acne treatments and/or by androgens.
Acne drug-induced acne fulminans is on the rise, probably due to more of the drug being prescribed to people with acne, but it is associated with increased androgens and the use of anabolic steroids.
Dermatological treatments for acne scars and acne fulminans
Dermatological treatments for acne scars naturally differs to the treatment of acne fulminans, which responds in most cases to corticosteroids and ironically the vitamin-A derivative that may have been responsible for its appearance in the first place. Treatment typically goes many months, and will be at your dermatologist’s discretion.
Some dermatological treatments for acne fulminans may include:
- Corticosteroids (orally)
- Vitamin-A derivatives
- Tumour necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors
Antibiotics are not very effective against acne fulminans, but a combined approach may work. Topical acne medications are not useful for acne fulminans.
Dermatological treatments for acne scarring
Treating the deep, severe and disfiguring scarring left by acne fulminans can be tricky, since the scars tend to be deep, fibrous and thick. Dermatological treatments for acne scars are available, and include collagen-modifications, laser ablation and light treatments. The active acne must be treated effectively first, but the sooner you get to treating the acne scars, the better the results.
Dermatological treatments for acne scars can include:
- Laser treatments
- Radiofrequency treatments
- Light treatments
The dermatological treatments for your acne scars will vary depending on the exact nature of your acne scars.
Acne scars appear due to the nature of the skin infection inside the pore, that scoops out the inside of the follicle, destroying collagen, while the infection persists. This results in a space under the skin that fills with scar tissue, and causes the pocked and pitted appearance of acne scarring.
If you have extensive scarring due to acne fulminans, contact our Melbourne clinic for dermatological treatment options.