Healthcare tips
Acne

The Different Types of Acne and How They’re Treated

February 14, 2024

Whether you have recently been diagnosed with acne or have been managing acne for a while, we’re here to help you on your journey toward clearer skin. To start, let’s explore the basic forms of acne and what treatments exist for each type.

What is Back Acne?

Back acne usually occurs when sweat, oil, or dirt clogs pores. It can also happen when clothing rubs or presses on sweating skin — thus trapping it in pores. 

There are both over-the-counter and prescription drugs to treat back acne:

  • Prescription medications for back acne might include oral antibiotics, prescription washes, and lotions. 
  • Over-the-counter treatments exist for back acne, such as Benzoyl Peroxide washes. When using, be sure to leave the wash on the pimples for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing. Salicylic acid products and retinoid (like Differin) products can also be used on the back. 

Other tips for back acne: 

  • Use clean linens and towels and change them often to keep bacteria away. 
  • Wash sports equipment often.
  • Use an oil-free and “noncomedogenic” body wash so it won’t clog pores. 
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing or clothes that wick sweat away from the body. 

What is Facial Acne?

Facial acne can vary from person to person. Blackheads and whiteheads may be treated differently than pimples or cysts. A dermatologist can look at your skin to diagnose and treat acne. They will ask you questions about your skin and examine it before developing a treatment plan for acne. 

Treatments for the Levels of Acne Severity

Acne treatment plans depend on a lot of factors. Two people with the same amount of breakouts may be treated differently. Age, gender, medical history, and type of breakouts are all things a healthcare professional will take into consideration. 

How to Treat Blackhead and Whitehead Acne

Treating these breakouts usually starts with a topical treatment. Topical medications for blackheads and whiteheads include an OTC or prescription retinoid. Patients are often given a combination of a retinoid along with Benzoyl Peroxide, azelaic acid, or salicylic acid. A dermatologist might also prescribe Benzoyl Peroxide and a topical antibiotic.

How to Treat Mild to Moderate Acne

Treatment for these kinds of breakouts usually starts with a topical treatment. Topical medications for pimples include OTC Benzoyl Peroxide, a retinoid, azelaic acid, or a combination of all of these. A physician may also prescribe a topical antibiotic to combat mild to moderate acne.

How to Treat Severe Acne

Severe acne includes deep, painful cysts and other acne that is not cleared up by other medications like the ones we’ve discussed above. This form of acne can lead to facial scarring and discoloration, so it is important to treat it. Treatments often include oral antibiotics along with topical treatments, hormonal birth control or other hormonal treatments, or Isotretinoin (the medication also known as Accutane).

For more information about acne treatment plans make sure to contact your dermatologist or general healthcare provider. 

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