Dermatologists, like so many specialists it seems, have their own language when it comes to describing types of acnes and many other related subjects. Use this glossary to help get through some of the more scientific documents.
Acne conglobata. A very severe type of acne in which nodules are connected beneath the skin surface to other nodules or acne lesions.
Androgens.Hormones that stimulate sebaceous glands in addition to other effects on the body. Present in both males and females, androgens are responsible for physical maturation in males and therefore occur in much higher levels in males. Males tend to have more severe acne than females.
Blackhead. An open, noninflammatory comedo.
Closed comedo. A whitehead; a non-inflammatory comedo with white center.
Comedo (plural: comedones). An acne lesion.
Comedogenic. Likely to cause comedones.
Dermatologic surgery. Deals with the diagnosis and treatment of medically necessary and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair, nails, veins, mucous membranes and adjacent tissues by various surgical, reconstructive, cosmetic and non-surgical methods. This includes laser surgery, cryosurgery, chemical surgery, aspirational surgery and excisional surgery. The purpose of dermatologic surgery is to repair and/or improve the function and cosmetic appearance of skin tissue
Follicle. The tiny shaft in the skin through which a hair grows, and sebum is excreted from sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin.
Hormones. Chemical substances produced by the body that, depending on the hormone, govern many body processes. Certain hormones cause physical maturation during puberty. These are the ones implicated in acne.
Inflammatory. A word that means "causing inflammation." In acne, "inflammatory" is usually used to describe lesions that are inflamed by chemical reactions or bacteria in clogged follicles.
ipids. Oily substances that include things like fats, oils and waxes. Sebum is made up of lipids. A particular kind of lipid, free fatty acids, are irritating to the skin.
Microcomedo. The first stage of comedo formation; a comedo so small that it can be seen only with a microscope.
Nodule. The most severe form of acne lesion, a nodule is a large, deep-seated, pus-filled, often painful lump. Acne with nodules often results in permanent scarring and requires treatment by a physician. Sometimes called an acne "cyst."
Noncomedogenic. Not likely to cause comedones.
Noninflammatory. In acne, comedones that are not associated with redness in the skin.
Open comedo. A blackhead) a noninflammatory comedo with a dark top and firmly packed contents.
Papule. An inflammatory comedo that resembles a small, red bump on the skin.
Papulopustular. A type of acne characterized by the presence of papules and pustules.
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). A normal resident on the skin, P. acnes will multiply rapidly in clogged hair follicles where sebum is trapped.
Puberty. The time of life when a child begins the physical maturation process toward adulthood. Onset is usually in the early teens and is accompanied by a large increase in hormone production.
Pustule. An inflammatory comedo that resembles a whitehead with a ring of redness around it.
Sebaceous glands. Glands in the skin that produce an oily substance called sebum–these glands are the sites of acne lesions. Sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles and are found mostly on the face, neck, back and chest.
Sebum. The oily substance produced by sebaceous glands.
White blood cells. Components of the blood that help fight off infections.
Whitehead. A closed comedo.