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  • As the most common skin condition plaguing teens and adults today, acne dings the confidence of at least 17 million Americans, including 80% of adolescents and at least 40% of adults aged 20-40.
  • Properly identifying acne type is the first step in determining underlying causes and prescribing effective and long-lasting treatment plans.
  • Acne types are classified as inflammatory and noninflammatory and appear in cases that range from mild, moderate and severe.
  • While mild, noninflammatory cases often respond well to OTC treatments, inflammatory moderate to severe cases will require prompt and professional intervention to clear blemishes and prevent lasting scarring.

More About Acne

The Anatomy of a Pimple

The basic cause of acne is an accumulation of sebum (oil secreted by the sebaceous glands) and dead skin cells. A comedone is the resulting clogged pore, which can be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). These are the mild, noninflammatory variety of acne and, when appearing alone, can be topically treated with OTC cleansing products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids.

Inflammatory Acne

Mild acne cases may respond well to OTC treatments, but inflammatory acne leads to moderate and severe cases, which are harder to treat on your own and most likely to scar. The increased production of sebum is associated with hormonal fluctuations, especially during puberty, but an additional underlying cause of inflammatory acne is bacteria. Aspen dermatologists specialize in identifying these underlying causes and prescribing effective and long-lasting treatment plans to restore the skin to its clear and natural beauty.

Moderate Acne

Two types of inflammatory acne (papules and pustules) present in moderate cases and are characterized by their tenderness and pink/red coloring as the inflammation breaks down surrounding pores. Pustules, unlike papules, are bumps that fill with pus and present yellow/white heads. It’s important to resist popping pustules to prevent scarring and to consult with Aspen dermatologists for a prescription treatment plan that will prove more reliably effective than OTC cleansers, especially in the case of widespread outbreaks.

Severe Acne

In severe acne cases, deep infections under the skin present as nodules and cysts, pose a high risk of scarring, and require prescription oral and topical medication to treat. Nodules are deeper than pustules, cysts are deeper than nodules, and both are painful to the touch. An involved treatment plan is necessary to treat severe and cystic acne, but clear, confidence-boosting skin is still possible at Aspen Dermatology.

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