Acne Like Skin Infections
Acne are skin lesions that are common in teenagers, pregnant women and women a few days before their period. A variety of conditions are similar to acne but have very different causes and can have very different outcomes. It is important to be able to differentiate among conditions.
Acne is caused by bacteria, hormones, overactive oil glands and irregular skin shedding. Allergic skin conditions, herpes and chickenpox have very different causes. Herpes and chickenpox are caused by viral infections. Allergic skin conditions are caused by an overactive immune system. Rosacea is another chronic skin condition that can be confused with acne; it is most likely caused by hereditary and environmental factors.
Acne usually causes pimples that are rarely painful; it has no other symptoms besides the occasional painful lesion or scarring. Herpes and chickenpox cause painful, itchy lesions that are accompanied by fever, headache, malaise and muscle pain. Allergic reactions, or contact dermatitis, can be itchy and is spread through scratching, blisters and draining fluids.
Herpes and chicken pox are usually diagnosed with swab of the sores or blood testing, which reveals the causing virus. Contact dermatitis is diagnosed by applying allergens to the skin to test the body's reaction.
Herpes and chickenpox are treated with antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs. Contact dermatitis is treated by avoiding the allergen and medicating with antihistamines, corticosteroids and topical medications. Rosacea is treated with isotretinoin, topical agents and sometimes surgery. Acne is treated using antibiotics, oral contraceptives, isotretinoin and prescription topical agents.
Herpes and chickenpox, if left untreated, can have life-threatening complications. Contact dermatitis can lead to neurodermatitis, raw skin and skin pigmentation changes. Acne usually resolves on its own and can cause scarring of the skin.
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