When Should You See A Doctor For Acne Treatment
Acne may or may not warrant a trip to your doctor. Some people can control their blemishes with over-the-counter treatments and other self-care measures, while others feel their acne is serious enough to require medical help.
The decision to see a doctor will likely depend on how well youre able to manage bumps, as well as the severity of your acne.
Its always a good idea to make an appointment for persistent acne that doesnt clear up. What you think is run-of-the-mill acne could actually be another skin condition like rosacea, keratosis pilaris, or perioral dermatitis.
To diagnose acne and determine the type of acne and the treatment youll need, your dermatologist will visually examine your skin.
For mild-to-moderate acne, start with over-the-counter medicine before you see a doctor. These include topical creams and acne face washes that contain acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs prevent clogging of pores, while topical antibiotics kill bacteria on the skin. Salicylic acid facial washes remove dead skin cells by exfoliation. Some of these products may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Check with your doctor to be sure.
It Sounds Like You Have Papules
Papules are small, hard, red bumps that form on the skins surface. They develop when a pore becomes clogged with excess oil or dead skin cells then mixes with bacteria on the skin.
The contents of the pore can spill out, spreading bacteria to the surrounding tissue to create an inflamed lesion with no visible pus.
Inflammatory acne lesions like papules can be treated with over-the-counter remedies like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Consider a routine that includes cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturization to manage breakouts.
It Sounds Like You Have Nodules
Nodules are large, painful, swollen bumps that develop underneath the skin when the walls of a clogged hair follicle break down.
When the walls of the follicle break down, oil and bacteria spread deeper into the skin to create a painful infection that can affect multiple pores. Fluctuating hormones can trigger or worsen nodular acne.
Nodules are deeply rooted in the skin and they generally do not contain pus, so they cannot be extracted and they are difficult to treat with over-the-counter acne treatments.
Consider consulting with a medical professional. Such providers can recommend a wide array of options, including prescription treatments like tretinoin to help control inflammation or specific types of birth control to help regulate hormonal fluctuations that can cause nodular acne.
We offer access to providers and a free consultation to make professional treatment possible from the comfort of home.
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Can Acne Be Prevented
Preventing acne is difficult if not impossible during normal hormonal changes. But some things can help:
- Wash your face daily with warm water and a mild facial cleanser.
- Routinely use moisturizer.
- You dont have to stop using makeup, but try to use non-comedogenic products and remove makeup at the end of each day.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
How To Tell If You Haveinflammatory Acne
Inflammatory acne occurs when lesions become larger, deeper, red and tender. These more uncomfortable symptoms happen because bacteria have flourished inside the blemish. Eventually, the wall of the blocked pore breaks down and allows debris and bacteria to spread into the surrounding dermal tissue. This form is more likely to be more tricky to kick. Its not all bad news though! Understanding which type of inflammatory acne youre experiencing is the first step to managing the skin issue.
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But Cysts And Nodules Are The Most Severe Acne Types
Ask anyone who has ever suffered from a cyst and they’ll tell you that these pus-filled inflammatory blemishes deserve a league of their own. Nodules, pus-free cysts, are equally as awful, and “are the hardest and deepest acne lesions found within the dermis and are associated with a hormonal imbalance,” explains Dr. Akridge. They’re hard and sore, and can take weeksif not monthsto go away. This leads us to the main problem: If you suffer from hormonal acne, even the most curated skincare routine won’t make a difference. What will can only be found in the dermatologist’s office.
“A doctor may need to prescribe a short course of oral antibiotics like tetracycline, not only for the bacterial reduction but also for the antibiotics’ ability to reduce inflammation,” shares Jacqueline Piotaz, a certified esthetician. In more severe cases, spironolactone and isotrentinoin may also be utilized cortisone shots can also be injected directly into cysts for quick relief. Whatever your cystic acne’s severity, it’s critical to leave these blemishes alone: Since nodules exist deep under the surface, you can’t physically extract them at homewhich is why they’re better left to your dermatologist.
Identifying Different Types Of Acne
No one enjoys the presence of acne on their skin. This makes it important to understand the most effective treatment to remove acne from the skin. However, there are many different types of acne. Identifying some of the most common types of acne can help you to determine the best possible treatment for your acne. If you suffer with acne, it will likely be beneficial to consult with a dermatologist in order to ensure the best treatment for your condition.
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If You Answeredmostly As
You Have Blackheads
If you have small black dots on your breakouts, these are called . They get their black color from oxidized melanin the pigment in our skin, notdirt which is why no matter how hard you might scrub, they wont wash away. To treat blackheads and prevent future ones from cropping up, opt for oil-free skincare products. We also recommend cleansing regularly with a mildly exfoliating face wash that contains salicylic acid, such as the Vichy Normaderm PhytoAction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Acne
- What type of acne do I have?
- How severe is my acne?
- Do I need to see a dermatologist?
- Do I need a referral?
- What over-the-counter medications do you recommend?
- What prescription medications do you recommend?
A note from Cleveland Clinic:
Acne is the most common of all skin conditions and can have a profound psychosocial impact.
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Corrective Care For Acne
If youre looking for a solution to help remove excess sebum and help regulate excess sebum production, our Effaclar Anti-Acne Purifying Clay Mask is well suited to your skin concerns. Leave this corrective mask on for five minutes to further unclog your pores and reduce shine by removing invisible impurities such as dust and pollution particles. Use once or twice a week only by applying a fine layer to freshly cleansed skin.
How Severe Can Acne Get
Dermatologists rank acne by severity:
- Grade 1 : mostly whiteheads and blackheads, with a few papules and pustules.
- Grade 2 : multiple papules and pustules, mostly on your face.
- Grade 3 : numerous papules and pustules, along with occasionally inflamed nodules. Your back and chest may also be affected.
- Grade 4 : numerous large, painful and inflamed pustules and nodules.
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Why Do I Have Acne
Acne is most commonly linked to the changes in hormone levels during puberty, but can start at any age.
Certain hormones cause the grease-producing glands next to hair follicles in the skin to produce larger amounts of oil .
This abnormal sebum changes the activity of a usually harmless skin bacterium called P. acnes, which becomes more aggressive and causes inflammation and pus.
The hormones also thicken the inner lining of the hair follicle, causing blockage of the pores. Cleaning the skin does not help to remove this blockage.
Treatment For Inflammatory Acne
Because severe acne is more closely tied to things like hormonal imbalances, genetics and food intolerances, its important to immediately seek treatment from a dermatologist.
I’m a huge fan of natural and non-toxic skincare treatments, but the truth is a majority of the time over-the-counter treatments simply won’t cut it. Not saying it’s impossible, but using countless over the counter treatments will leave you feeling exhausted, defeated and penniless. The longer you put off treatment, the more scarring you risk.
For some, inflammatory acne can be treated with an improved diet. For others, hormonal problems may be contributing to acne. And a small group may just be using the wrong products. This means it could take you a while to determine the deeper root cause.
A dermatologist can work with you to decide the best course of treatment. Most of the time, prescriptions will be tried first. Then antibiotics, and as a last resort Accutane .
Severe inflammatory acne and scarring can lead to depression, social anxiety and other psychological problems. Thats why it’s important to treat it as soon as possible.
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What Type Of Acne Do You Have
Spot, pop and yet another bump, weve all been there at some point or another. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience some form of acne, be it mild or severe. However, despite it being a condition which is generally associated with puberty, acne can last all the way into your 30s and even your 40s. Surprisingly enough , not every type of acne was created equally.
Acne is actually a broader term for many skin conditions, and knowing which type of acne you have is crucial when it comes to treating it. Correct treatment is key to reducing possible lasting impacts such as scarring, dark spots and other untreatable skin blemishes. But, first, what kind of acne could you possibly have?
The Bottom Line: Once You Identify The Type Of Acne Youre Dealing With Youll Have A Better Sense Of How To Treat It
You can absolutely get rid of some forms of acne with gentle, consistent skin care, but other types can be a bit more complex. Of course, acne is typically viewed as a physical problem, but the constant breakouts can also take a toll on your mental health and self-esteem. If you can, reach out to your doctor or a board-certified dermatologist if youre really strugglingthey can help identify the root cause of your acne, so you can start to heal your skin from the inside out.
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What Your Answers May Mean
- If you had mostly A’s, your acne is likely in the severe range.
- If most of your answers fell into the middle categories, B’s and C’s, your acne probably would be categorized as moderate.
- Mostly D’s indicates mild acne.
Even if you have only mild to moderate acne, a dermatologist can guide you to OTC products to try. And if your acne is severe, a dermatologist can create a treatment plan that’s tailored for you.
Our Online Acne Clinic
Our LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor acne clinic boasts a wide range of treatment plans, so that our clinicians can tailor treatment to you and your acne. The service is easy to use and involves a free consultation which includes the opportunity to upload photos of your acne. These alongside the answers to the consultation questions will be reviewed by our clinicians, who will then decide, if suitable, what treatment option might be best, depending on your preference, medical history and the severity of your acne.
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Can Acne Cause Scars
Acne does sometimes result in scarring. It happens when the acne penetrates the skin and damages the deeper layers. Inflammation makes the acne pores swell and breakdown occurs in the wall of the pore. Scarring can, of course, be a source of anxiety, which is normal. But before it can be treated, your healthcare provider will determine what type of acne caused the scars.
There are several available treatment options. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, microneedling and surgery can all be used to treat acne scars.
How To Identify Different Types Of Acne
Blanket terms like breakouts and blemishes are often used to describe acne. However, these terms hardly take into account the specific differences between acne types. In reality, there are dozens of different types of acne, each with varying symptoms, appearances, and treatment remedies.
Its important to know how to distinguish each type of acne before lumping your potential symptoms into a generic breakout category. Knowing the type of acne you have will guide your treatment plan and help clear up your symptoms more quickly.
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How Is Acne Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider can diagnose acne during a skin exam. They may also ask if youre undergoing significant stress or if you have a family history of acne, all of which are risk factors. Teenage girls and women may also be asked about their menstrual cycles, as breakouts are sometimes related. Sudden, severe acne outbreaks in older people can sometimes signal another underlying disease that requires medical attention.
Blackheads And Whiteheads Often Appear Together
Non-inflammatory acne sticks togetherso if you suffer from blackheads on your nose, you likely experience a smattering of whiteheads on your cheeks or chin every now and then. The reason? They share the same root cause. “Blackheads and whiteheads are caused by clogged pores filled with oil, dead skin cells, and propionibacterium acnes bacteria,” explains Dr. Dendy Engelman, a New York City dermatologist. “If the mixture is exposed to air, it becomes oxidized, which causes it to turn black, forming what we know as a blackhead.”
Whiteheads are also plugged with sebum and skin cells. But there’s one key difference that distinguishes them from their counterparts. “The top opening of the pore is closed, which results in a tiny bump at the surface, adds Dr. Zeichner. Luckily, you can reduce both types with one treatment plan, he says: “If you suffer from blackheads and whiteheads, stick to ingredients like topical retinoids, which help open up blocked pores and reduce inflammation.”
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Wash Your Face With A Facial Cleansing Device
Kim recommends using a facial cleansing device at nighttime to thoroughly remove makeup, sunscreen, oil, and environmental pollutionbut not just any cleansing brush. Opt for one with ultrasonic technology, which is gentler on your skin than a rotating brush head. The above, which is made from a relatively antimicrobial silicone, is one of Kim’s top picks.
Different Types Of Acne And Their Symptoms
The occasional bump or breakout might not be a big deal to some. Persistent acne, on the other hand, can be a frustrating problem, affecting your self-esteem and confidence. Your feelings about acne may have everything to do with the extent of your skin problem, which can range from mild to severe.
Mild acne is the less severe form of acne, says Yoram Harth, MD, a dermatologist and the medical director of MDacne whos based in San Francisco. This kind of acne is easier to control and doesnt usually leave long-term scars.
Its a different story with moderate and severe acne, though.
Moderate acne, continues Dr. Harth, is more noticeable and can leave dark spots and scars, whereas severe acne is the worst form. Its more difficult to treat and often leaves scars when it heals.
Its important that you learn how to recognize common types of blemishes as well as their severity because different types of acne respond to different treatments.
Bottom line: If you want clearer skin, you need to know what youre dealing with.
Different types of acne include the following:
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How Do Clinical Features Vary In Differing Types Of Skin
All characteristic lesions of acne vulgaris can occur in skin of colour, but it usually presents with less discernible redness and more postinflammatoryhyperpigmentation which persists long after the acne lesion has gone. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is often the major reason for seeking medical attention, causing significant psychological effects.
Pomade acne occurs more commonly in people with skin of colour due to cultural practices with hair styling products in African American and Hispanic populations. The use of greasy hair products leads to follicular plugging and comedones along the hairline.
Keloid scarring is more common in skin of colour following acne lesions, particularly along the jawline, chest, and upper back.
Acne in skin of colour
What Type Of Acne Do You Have Take This Easy Quiz To Find Out
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly
The first step to treating acne is determining exactly what type of acne it is. This can be difficult, of course, since there are many different variations like whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, pustules, nodules, and papules and each requires its own course of treatment. What makes it harder is that, if you walk down the aisle of any drugstore or beauty retailer, you’re inundated with products that promise to treat breakouts and keep zits under control. How do you know where to begin?
For starters, every skin-care routine needs a basic cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer, but those with acneic skin should stack their regimen with products formulated with breakout-fighting ingredients. The tricky thing is, not all acne ingredients are created equal, and some work better on certain types of acne than others. So, in order to purchase the right treatment for your specific type of acne, you need to know what you’re dealing with.
A trip to your dermatologist is always the best way to assess any skin-care situation you’re experiencing, but if you want to do a bit of research on your own as a preliminary first step, take the quiz ahead to help you determine what type of acne you have.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly
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