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Ask a Skin Specialist: Acneiform Eruptions

Dear Doctor

Hello, I have been told that I have acneiform disease and not the common acne. What is the difference and how is it treated? Thank you so much.

skin of color skin diseases

Acneiform Eruption


Dear Patient

The differences between acneiform eruptions and acne vulgaris include:

1. Acneiform eruptions do not have comedones (black head and white heads) which are common in acne vulgaris.


2. The lesions of acneiform eruptions have a monomorphic appearance regardless of whether they are papulopustular (small swellings with pus) or nodules (larger solid swellings). This means that they have a uniform size as seen in the picture above. In acne vulgaris, you can expect to skin lesion with different sizes like small comedones and big nodules as seen in the picture below.


4. Acneiform eruptions can develop in unusual places where acne vulgaris does not develop like the forearms.


5. Acneiform eruptions generally appear suddenly. For example you can wake up one morning and find your face covered with acneiform pimples while acne vulgaris usually has a chronic course extending over several months or years.

moderate acne skin of color

Acne Vulgaris

Treatment of Acneiform Eruptions

The treatment of acneiform eruptions depends on the cause and includes:

1. Stopping the medications if it is caused by medications. Medications which cause acneiform eruptions include phenytoin used to treat seizures, corticosteroids like prednisone and epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor inhibitors used to treat cancer like cetuximab (Erbitux) and erlotinib. Pleae do not stop taking these medications without consulting the doctor who prescribed them.

2. Treating the infections if it is caused by infections. Infections that can cause acneiform eruptions include gram negative folliculitis and eosinophilic pustular folliculitis (EPF).

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