What is Acne?

Though the most common skin condition in the USA, reliable information about acne can be hard to find. Dermatology of Seattle can help you understand acne and its available treatments.
Without treatment, spots and scars can appear on the skin. Acne can appear not only on the face, but the body as well.



How do dermatologists diagnose acne?

To diagnose acne, a dermatologist will examine your skin, because other conditions look like acne. The dermatologist will grade the acne from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe acne.) Blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, papules, nodules and cysts are signs of acne.

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How do dermatologists treat acne?

There are many acne treatments, and not every acne treatment works for everyone, but these treatments can keep acne under control. Patients may have whiteheads, blackheads, papules and pustules (pimples). A product containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid usually clears the skin. Continuous treatment is required to prevent breakouts. Most acne treatments are topical and applied to the skin. Some kill bacteria and other reduce oil on the skin. Topical medicine may contain a retinoid, or antibiotic.

Additional treatments include laser and light therapies, chemical peels which are used for blackheads and papules, a drainage and extraction for large cysts, which can help prevent scarring. Sometimes birth control pills can be helpful for women. Isotretinoin is another treatment. Your dermatologist at Dermatology of Seattle can tell you when an acne treatment is no longer necessary to prevent breakouts.