Diagnosis of Acne

By  , Expert Content
Aug 12, 2011

Acne is a clinical diagnosis - that is the doctor diagnoses acne based on the appearance of the skin and the lesion.

Doctor diagnosing acneMost people don’t need any tests. Your doctor will examine you and evaluate the type of acne, amount and severity of inflammation, extent of spread and the areas of your body that are affected. Acne on the basis of severity can be classified in four grades.

Grade I:This is the mildest form of acne and there are relatively few blackheads, whiteheads and occasionally minor pimples. Inflammation is usually absent and it can be treated with over-the-counter medicines.

Grade II (moderate acne): The skin has greater number of blackheads and whiteheads, and pimples and pustules are also present. It may get cured with over-the-counter products, but if you don’t notice improvement after six to eight weeks, consult a doctor.

Grade III (Moderate to severe acne):
The extent of inflammation in Grade III acne is more than Grade II. More papules and pustules are present and more redness and inflammation is found on the skin. Occasional nodules may be present. Consult your dermatologist if you have several papules and pustules with lot of redness and inflammation.

Grade IV –
This is the most severe grade of acne. There are several pustules, nodules, and cysts with extensive redness and inflammation. Blackheads and whiteheads are also frequent. This grade of acne, is also called cystic acne. You should consult a dermatologist for treatment.

Acne Look-alikes: Some lesions or problems of the skin can look very similar to acne, but the cause and treatment are different. Some common conditions which might resemble acne include rosacea, folliculitis, keratosis pilaris, miliaria rubra.If you are not sure if your problem is acne or some other acne look-alike then you must consult your doctor. The doctor will most definitely help you overcome any kind of hesitation you experience when facing the public in case you suffer from Grade IV acne.


American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that there are many effective acne treatments. This does not mean that every acne treatment works for everyone who has acne. But it does mean that virtually every case of acne can be controlled.


People who have mild acne have a few blemishes. They may have whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and/or pustules (aka pimples). Many people can treat mild acne with products that you can buy without a prescription. A product containing benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid often clears the skin. This does not mean that the acne will clear overnight.


Despite the claims, acne treatment does not work overnight. At-home treatment requires 4-8 weeks to see improvement. Once acne clears, you must continue to treat the skin to prevent breakouts.


If you have a lot of acne, cysts, or nodules, a medicine that you can buy without a prescription may not work. If you want to see clearer skin, you should see a dermatologist.

Read more articles on Acne.



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