Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads, while inflammatory acne includes pimples, red pustules, and larger lesions that are formed when overproduction of sebum leads to a rupture, which then begins to store bacteria.
This result in an inflammatory reaction, which is responsible for redness, swelling, and pain associated with acne cysts. The more severe the acne appears, the more the immune system responds.
Our skin contains thousands of pores, and for whatever reason, these pores can produce too many cells, which can cause blockages to form. The acne caused by this problem is very real.
Your pores produce sebum oil, and in a normal environment, the oil should be able to drain to the surface of your skin, but when there is a blockage inside of the pore, the sebum oil cannot drain to the surface, and bacteria begin to grow inside of the pore.
Every acne lesion comes from a clogged pore, and most people have experienced at least one breakout during adolescence, which they viewed as a normal part of growing up. However, for some people, the condition never goes away and might even get worse as they advance in age.
Adult acne often presents itself as inflammatory or non-inflammatory lesions, and changes in skin’s structures caused by fluctuating hormones, stress, improper diet and environmental changes can all lead to inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
The Difference Between Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory
This occurs when tiny hair follicles, typically on your face, back, or neck, become clogged with oil or debris. Your skin’s natural oils are secreted through the hair follicle from tiny sebaceous glands, and when these glands become overactive, comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) form.
The other type of breakouts is inflammatory acne, which occurs when an already clogged hair follicle experiences an overgrowth of the bacteria, P. Acnes, which causes an immune reaction, leading to inflammation and infection.
Inflammatory acne is more difficult to control because it can be caused by hormones, food sensitivities, stress, and underlying medical conditions. Cystic acne that occurs when a hair follicle ruptures, causing painful bumps deep within the skin is a form of inflammatory acne.
The major difference between the two types of acne is the harshness of the inflammation. While blackheads and whiteheads are viewed as non-inflammatory because they’re clogged pores that don’t allow bacteria to get inside and thrive, the inflammatory one consists of clogged pores that have become infected with bacteria.
The best treatment for your condition will depend on the type of acne that you are experiencing.
For Inflammatory Acne
- For mild inflammatory acne, first treatment should be a combination therapy that consists of topical and oral medicines. Your dermatologist might prescribe Benzoyl peroxide or retinoid or along with an oral antibiotic drug.
- For moderate inflammatory acne, your doctor or dermatologist might prescribe topical and oral antibiotics alongside topical retinoid plus topical benzoyl peroxide.
- Severe comedones treatment of acne lesions may include oral isotretinoin. In the early stages though, most doctors prefer placing patients only on antibiotics or topical treatment in the form of benzoyl peroxide plus retinoid plus oral antibiotics.
- For mild nodular acne, a dermatologist may add alternate retinoid or topical Dapsone, and for moderate papule acne, your doctor might recommend oral contraceptives or Spironolactone to women. Oral isotretinoin is also an option.
- For severe inflammatory acne, your doctor may recommend another antibiotic alongside spironolactone and oral isotretinoin.
Non-Inflammatory Acne Treatment
- Avoid over cleansing, as washing your face over and over causes excess oil production which could lead to acne.
- Avoid abrasion from handbags, scarves, pillowcases etc, as they can all cause friction and lead to acne. Try to avoid these as far as possible, and wash pillowcases, yoga mats and scarves to limit bacteria.
- Change your cosmetic because many cosmetics clog pores and cause inflammatory as well as non-inflammatory acne. Use dermatologist recommended cosmetics, and avoid ones that are comedogenic. Also stay away from heavy or greasy hair and skin products.
- Improper diet can also be one of the non-inflammatory acne causes. A healthy diet for clear skin ideally includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, and you should avoid refined products containing dyes, sugar, and preservatives.
- Stay away from dairy, gluten, soy, and other allergens, and keep a food journal to help you identify foods that trigger acne flare-ups.
- Manage stress, since stress can also lead to excess hormone production which in turn can cause acne. The key to clear skin is a stress-free life, and you can combat day to day stress through exercise, proper diet, and relaxation methods like deep breathing, yoga etc.
- Avoid certain medications, since many medicines like oral contraceptives, steroids, iodides, and lithium can lead to acne lesions. Talk to your doctor if you are taking these medicines.
Medicines for Non-Inflammatory Acne
In order to get rid of non-inflammatory acne, make use of the following products:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Retin A, which is a derivative of Vitamin A and causes pores to unplug.
- Oral/topical antibiotics for very severe non-inflammatory acne.
- Accutane, which is an aggressive acne treatment for severe inflammatory acne lesions. It combats oil production and is mainly prescribed to patients who do not respond to any other acne treatment. Accutane can have side effects so it is best to use it with caution.