Severe (Nodular) Acne

Types of Acne

There are several different types of acne. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Blackheads and Whiteheads
When hair follicles on the skin become blocked, small bumps can appear. If a blocked follicle stays open, it forms a blackhead. If it closes, the bump looks whiter – so it is called a whitehead. Blackheads and whiteheads are considered mild forms of acne and are usually easy to treat.

Papules and Pustules
If blocked follicles get irritated, their walls can break and cause larger pimples called papules and pustules. Papules are small raised bumps that feel hard when you touch them. Pustules are similar to papules, but are filled with a yellowish pus and are more blister-like in appearance.

Cystic Acne and Nodular Acne
If blocked follicles get even more irritated, pimples get bigger and form nodules or cysts deep in the skin. Nodules are hard, solid, painful lumps. Cysts are softer and filled with pus. If you have the symptoms of cystic acne or nodular acne, you should see a doctor for treatment.

Severe (Nodular) Acne is nodular acne that has failed to respond to treatment. ABSORICA is only used to treat severe (nodular) acne. It is indicated in patients 12 years of age and older. Continue reading to learn more about severe (nodular) acne.


In general, three things happen underneath the skin to cause acne:

  • Too much of a skin oil called sebum is made
  • Too many dead skin cells
  • A build-up of bacteria

When dead skin cells and sebum build up and block hair follicles on your skin, acne occurs. When you have severe inflammatory acne, it is common to have nodules. These are red, swollen, tender lumps that form in the skin. Nodules can be the size of pencil erasers, or larger, and can be hard to treat. Even antibiotic medications and other topical medications fail to treat this type of acne. Nodular acne can lead to scarring if not treated.

Who it affects

Anyone can get severe (nodular) acne. Acne tends to run in families. So if any of your family members had severe (nodular) acne, then you are more likely to have it. Although it is more common in teens, adults can also get severe (nodular) acne.

Signs and Symptoms (what it looks like, where it is, and how it may feel)

When you have severe (nodular) acne, you have painful nodules (red, swollen, tender lumps) on your skin. They can occur anywhere on your face, neck, scalp, back, chest and shoulders.

acne patients

Treatment options

If you have severe (nodular) acne, you should be treated by a Dermatologist. When other treatment options like oral antibiotics don’t work, a medication called isotretinoin may be prescribed. Isotretinoin is a retinoid, which is a vitamin A derivative. Isotretinoins markedly reduce the size of oil glands so that much less oil is produced. As a result, the growth of bacteria is decreased. There are different types of isotretinoins available – and they are not all the same.

ABSORICA capsules contain isotretinoin, which is used to treat people with severe (nodular) acne that has not improved with other conventional therapies, including systemic antibiotics.
Learn About ABSORICA Tips for caring for your skin

Living with severe (nodular) acne

It can be very hard living with severe (nodular) acne. Know that there are treatment options available. Ask your doctor for the treatment that is right for you. If you would like information on acne support groups or counseling, speak to your doctor. Don’t suffer in silence.

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iPLEDGE® Program

As with all isotretinoins, you must enroll in the mandatory iPLEDGE® Program while taking ABSORICA.
What is the iPLEDGE® Program?
Download an iPLEDGE® Program Checklist


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