Diagnosing Your Acne

diagnosing your acne

We get it – any zit is the worst kind of zit. But in reality, there are different types of acne and different ways to battle it. Figuring out what types of pimples you’re fighting is the first step towards making them better.

Diagnosing Acne Severity
Dermatologists separate acne into four grades: grade one is the mildest, all the way up to grade four, which is the most severe. To figure out the severity of acne, dermatologists take into account the types of clogged pores (i.e. blackheads and whiteheads), the amount of inflammation, the severity, how widespread it is, and which areas of the body it affects. Once you and your doctor have figured out what types of pimples you’re fighting, you can find a regimen that’s right for you.

Grade one is considered the mildest form of acne, which consists of blackheads, whiteheads and the occasional pimple. People with grade one acne have no red inflammation.

Grade two acne is a step more severe, with more blackheads, whiteheads, papules and pustules. Papules are an inflamed red bump on the skin, whereas pustules are an inflamed red bump filled with pus.

Grade three acne is considered moderate to severe, with all the aforementioned symptoms in greater numbers, plus nodules, or acne that appears under the skin.

Grade four acne is the most severe and is also called cystic acne. Those suffering from cystic acne will have pustules, nodules and cysts, along with extensive blackheads and whiteheads.

Keep in mind that there are acne look-alikes, which can present symptoms similar to acne. As always, it helps to consult a dermatologist while fighting different types of acne.

Fighting Different Types of Acne
The key to fighting any type of acne is diagnosing the types of pimples you have, and finding a skincare regimen that works for you. Acne is cause by hormones and the overproduction of oils in the skin, which cause the pores to clog – trapping oil and dirt. To clear mild to moderate acne, look for a product that contains an acne-busting ingredient like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. A skincare regimen that contains one of these ingredients will help clear pores filled with dirt and oil, and minimize acne. Remember, clearing up acne takes time! Even if these treatments don’t work overnight, make sure you give them a proper chance and stick with it. And no, scrubbing doesn’t expedite the process (unfortunately).

If you acne is more severe, a stronger skincare regimen may be necessary. Using a spot treatment in addition to a skincare regimen may help treat pimples like pustules, papules and nodules. It’s always ok to enlist the help of your doctor or dermatologist while you figure out the severity of your acne, as well as what skincare regimen is right for you.