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Acne Conglobata Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: May 20, 2016

Diagnostic Considerations

Halogenoderma must be considered, especially iododerma and bromoderma. Similarly, the chlorinated chemical dioxin in high doses (eg, when used as a poison) can produce acneiform papulonodules resembling acne fulminans.[23]

Acne conglobata (AC) resembles acne fulminans because both cause numerous inflammatory nodules on the trunk. Acne conglobata produces polyporous comedones and noninflammatory cysts, while acne fulminans does not. Unlike acne conglobata, large nodules of acne fulminans tend to become painful ulcers with overhanging borders surrounding exudative necrotic plaques that become confluent.

Mycobacterium chelonae I infection has been described as a mimic of acne conglobata in an immunocompetent host.[24]

The SAPHO syndrome, of which acne conglobata may be a prominent component, may have spinal imaging findings that require distinction from infection and cancer.[20]

Differential Diagnoses

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Visiting Professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, New York Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Ryszard Zaba, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Poznan University School of Medical Sciences, Poland

Ryszard Zaba, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: Sigma Xi, European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

David F Butler, MD Section Chief of Dermatology, Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Professor of Dermatology, Texas A&M University College of Medicine; Founding Chair, Department of Dermatology, Scott and White Clinic

David F Butler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of Military Dermatologists, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for MOHS Surgery, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey Meffert, MD Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Jeffrey Meffert, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Joshua A Zeichner, MD Assistant Professor, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Chief of Dermatology, Institute for Family Health at North General

Joshua A Zeichner, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, National Psoriasis Foundation

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Valeant for consulting; Received grant/research funds from Medicis for other; Received consulting fee from Galderma for consulting; Received consulting fee from Promius for consulting; Received consulting fee from Pharmaderm for consulting; Received consulting fee from Onset for consulting.

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Nodules on the back. Courtesy of Emanuel G. Kuflik.
Nodules on the face. Courtesy of Emanuel G. Kuflik.
A closer view of nodules and pustules on the back. Courtesy of Emanuel G. Kuflik.
A close-up view of nodules and pustules on the forehead. Courtesy of Emanuel G. Kuflik.
Nodules and pustules on the back. Courtesy of Emanuel G. Kuflik.
A close-up view of nodules and pustules on the back. Courtesy of Emanuel G. Kuflik.
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