Whether you have mild, moderate, or severe acne, you probably want it to clear up -- stat. But, it may be helpful to know exactly what severity level of acne you are dealing with to help you ensure you get the proper care for your level of acne.
Even if you seem to have minor acne, it is best to start treatment for it instead of ignoring the problem, as minor acne blemishes can progress to moderate or severe acne if left untreated.
Below, we will cover the main ways to differentiate between the three levels of acne, mild, moderate, and severe, as well as how they are each normally treated.
Mild acne may be so minor that it may be barely noticeable by others, especially with the use of properly applied makeup or concealer. This level of acne usually has no inflammation, pain, or redness associated with the blemishes. There may be a few scattered small pimples, plus blackheads, whiteheads, or small bumps that do not come to a head at all.
Many may barely notice this level of acne, or avoid treating it since it is not that severe.
However, even minor cases of acne should be treated to ensure that it does not progress to moderate or severe acne that can cause scarring.
Mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter acne cleansers and products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acne, or topical retinoids.
If these over-the-counter remedies do not clear mild acne over the course of many weeks, you can speak to your doctor about treatment options including prescription retinoids.
Lifestyle changes like improving your diet, staying hydrated, stress relief, and getting enough exercise may help clear minor cases of acne.
Moderate acne may present as more blackheads and bumps as compared to mild acne, as well as papules and pustules that may be slightly reddened, with or without pus in the center. Mild to moderate levels of inflammation may start being seen in this level of acne, showing up as redness, swelling, and tenderness around the blemish areas.
With moderate severity levels of acne, the breakouts may start progressing from just the face, to some amount of body acne found on the neck, back, chest, or butt. Moderate acne treatment can start by trying out over the counter options with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and weak retinoids. Body acne can be managed by medicated body washes to help treat acne while bathing.
Lifestyle and diet adjustments may also help manage acne symptoms.
If over the counter measures are not helping in a few weeks, or your moderate acne is worsening, it is time to speak with your doctor about medications like stronger retinoids or topical antibiotic creams.
Severe acne is hard to ignore and can be particularly stressful for those that have to deal with it. Severe acne can lead to reduced self-esteem, confidence issues, and avoidance of social situations, making this level of acne all the more important to treat immediately.
This level of acne severity normally presents as significant inflammation and redness, severe papules and pustules, and deep, painful cystic or nodular blemishes.
Severe acne is the most common form of acne to leave permanent acne scars, or long-lasting post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) marks on the skin.Due to the risk of scarring with this level of acne, you should start with seeing a doctor to get treatment started.
Strong retinoids like Tretinoin, topical antibiotic creams, and sometimes even oral antibiotics and retinoids may be used to help clear the most severe forms of acne.As with other levels of acne, healthy lifestyle and diet changes may help with the overall improvements of this level of acne, but it will likely not be enough to replace prescription treatments.
It is possible that you seem to have a combination of these levels of acne, or that you normally have mild acne that flares up into moderate or severe acne from time to time.
No matter which level of acne you think you are dealing with, if over the counter options are not helping, you feel distressed by your acne, or your acne is severe, getting professional treatment may be the best route.
At Strut Health, we have a passion for helping people live their best lives, and that includes not having to worry about any pimples that pop up, no matter the severity level.
Whether you think that you have pretty mild acne, or it is severe, you can have a free 10-15 minute online consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors to help you put together a plan of action for clearer skin.
Our doctors will review your information, take a look a images of your skin, and see if you are a good fit for prescription acne creams containing Tretinoin retinoids, soothing vitamin Niacinamide, and the topical antibiotic Clindamycin.
If you are a good candidate for the treatment of your mild, moderate, or severe acne, your prescription medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.