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DermNet NZ


Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Acne fulminans

What is acne fulminans?

Acne fulminans is a rare and very severe form of acne conglobata associated with systemic symptoms. It nearly always affects adolescent males.

Acne fulminans Acne fulminans Acne fulminans
Acne fulminans

What are the clinical features of acne fulminans?

Acne fulminans is characterised by:

Tests typically reveal:

What causes acne fulminans?

Acne fulminans has been associated with increased androgens (male hormones), autoimmune complex disease and genetic predisposition. It may be related to an explosive hypersensitivity reaction to surface bacteria (Propionibacteria acnes). Acne fulminans may be precipitated by:

The syndrome SAPHO (Synovitis, Acne, Pustulosis, Hyperostosis and Osteitis) may be a serious complication of acne fulminans.

What is the treatment for acne fulminans?

Patients with acne fulminans should consult a dermatologist urgently. Management can prove difficult, and several medications are usually required for several months or longer. These may include:

Topical acne medications are unhelpful.

Related information

References:

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Author: Reviewed and updated by Dr Amanda Oakley Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, and Clare Morrison, Copy Editor, April 2014.

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If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.