Acne Severities: How to Treat Mild, Moderate, and Severe Acne
acne severities

2022-04-25T23:07:07.362Z

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Slather - Acne Severities: How to Treat Mild, Moderate, and Severe Acne

A blog article written for Slather, Apostrophe's blog, entitled Acne Severities: How to Treat Mild, Moderate, and Severe Acne

Aimee PaikDoctorateDegreeAmerican Board of DermatologyBoard Certified DermatologistChief Medical OfficerDermatologist100A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can identify and treat more than 3,000 conditions. These conditions include eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, among many others.
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2022-04-25T23:07:07.362Z
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Acne Severities: How to Treat Mild, Moderate, and Severe Acne

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Education

Acne Severities: How to Treat Mild, Moderate, and Severe Acne

Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD

Written by Annie Lam

Last updated 4/1/2022

When our dermatologists talk about treating acne, they tend to talk about acne based on their severity: mild, moderate, or severe. These are considered acne severities. Today we're going to talk through what the difference is between each type of acne severity and how to treat them.

What are acne severities?

Depending on your acne severity, your dermatologist may recommend different treatments for your breakouts. Your acne severity is typically determined by your lesion count (number of pimples) and type of acne. There are three main categories of acne severities:

- Mild acne: Mild acne is typically categorized as mostly whiteheads (closed comedones) and blackheads (open comedones) with a few papules and pustules.

- Moderate acne: Moderate acne typically has more widespread whiteheads and blackheads and many papules and pustules. You may also have more inflammatory acne.

- Severe acne: Severe acne typically has many papules and pustules along with nodules and cysts. Severe acne tends to have lots of inflammatory acne and can have acne scarring as well.

One thing to know about different severities of acne is that it's a scale: from very mild to very severe. You may experience a different acne severity at different times in your life. For example, you may have mild acne most of the time, but you may experience more moderate breakouts and inflammatory acne around your menstrual cycle.

Check out our blog post on the different .


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How do derms treat mild acne?

When it comes to treating mild acne, there are great over-the-counter treatment options like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These acne treatments are great for mild comedonal acne. If you aren't seeing results with these treatments, you may want to check in with a dermatologist to see if prescription acne treatments are the right fit for your skin.

How do derms treat moderate acne?

When it comes to treating moderate acne, dermatologists may recommend a combination of oral and topical treatments. Some commonly prescribed treatments are:

Topical treatments

- Topical retinoids: Topical retinoids like tretinoin and tazarotene help to resurface the skin and unclog pores by removing dead skin cells. It also helps to treat hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

- Topical spironolactone: A topical treatment that targets hormonal breakouts at the skin level. Exclusively widely available at Apostrophe!

- Topical antibiotics: Topical antibiotics like clindamycin are an effective treatment for an inflammatory lesion like a papule or pustule. They help to reduce inflammation in the skin.

Oral medications

- Oral spironolactone: An oral acne medication that treats hormonal/adult acne in women. It helps to balance the effect of androgens and balance oil production in the sebaceous gland.

- Oral antibiotics: Oral antibiotics like doxycycline are typically used to quickly reduce inflammation in the skin. Dermatologists typically prescribe oral antibiotics as a short-term treatment to prevent antibiotic resistance.


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How do derms treat severe acne?

For severe acne, dermatologists typically prescribe a combination of oral and topical treatments (similar to moderate acne). However, with more severe breakouts, seeing results may take longer due to the severity of your acne. Every patient's experience is different, so be sure to be consistent and patient with your skin!

In some cases of severe inflammatory acne, dermatologists may recommend oral isotretinoin (Accutane) to help treat your cystic acne. Some dermatologists may also recommend isotretinoin to patients who have not seen results with other acne treatments.

Oral isotretinoin is an extremely effective oral acne medication that does have potential side effects. Treatment for oral isotretinoin is best done under the care of a dermatologist to ensure each patient is monitored for safe and effective treatment.

Get expert treatment for all acne severities

Here at Apostrophe, we're committed to helping you feel confident in your skin. No matter what acne severity you have, our board-certified derms are confident that we'll have the right treatment for you. You'll receive a customized acne treatment plan for your unique skin and concerns. If you're ready to get expert treatment for your stubborn pimples, dark spots, or acne scar - we've got you covered. Get started with Apostrophe today

Image Source

Eyres, Lebby, and Josie Griffiths. “Pus-Soaked Sheets, Crippling Anxiety and Regular Panic Attacks – the Agony of Living with Severe Cystic Acne.” The US Sun, The US Sun, 17 July 2020, https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/1153680/severe-cystic-acne-agony-pus-soaked-sheets-crippling-anxiety-housebound/amp/.

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