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07-25-2012, 07:37 PM
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Diagnosis

To diagnose acne, a dermatologist will first examine your skin to make sure you have acne. Other skin conditions can look like acne. If you have acne, the dermatologist will:

Grade the acne. Grade 1 is mild acne. Grade 4 is severe acne.
Note what type, or types, of acne appear on your skin.

Treatment
Today, 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 benzoyl 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. Dermatologists offer the following types of treatment:

Acne treatment that you apply to the skin: Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. Your dermatologist may call this topical treatment. There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria. Others work on reducing the oil. The topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic, or even salicylic acid. Your dermatologist will determine what you need.

Acne treatment that works throughout the body: Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these:

Antibiotics (helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation).
Birth control pills and other medicine that works on hormones (can be helpful for women).
Isotretinoin (the only treatment that works on all that causes acne).
Procedures that treat acne: Your dermatologist may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:

Lasers and other light therapies: These devices reduce the p. acnes bacteria. Your dermatologist can determine whether this type of treatment can be helpful.
Chemical peels: You cannot buy the chemical peels that dermatologists use. Dermatologists use chemical peels to treat 2 types of acne — blackheads and papules.
Acne removal: Your dermatologist may perform a procedure called “drainage and extraction” to remove a large acne cyst. This procedure helps when the cyst does not respond to medicine. It also helps ease the pain and the chance that the cyst will leave a scar. If you absolutely have to get rid of a cyst quickly, your dermatologist may inject the cyst with medicine.


Acne Laser Treatments and IPL Treatments for Smoother,
Clearer Skin

Topical creams and oral medications can be effective treatments for acne outbreaks, but they can be expensive and can dry and irritate sensitive skin. What's more, acne that occurs on backs and chests can be difficult to treat topically because of the large surface area.
Treating acne with pulsed light can deliver better aesthetic results, especially on inflammatory acne, without the side effects associated with topical and oral acne medications. You can also treat scars resulting from acne outbreaks with fractional laser skin resurfacing.
Acne IPL treatments with Palomar® technology target and destroy the skin bacteria responsible for acne to help prevent future breakouts from occurring on faces, chests and backs. Our pulsed light technology delivers just the right amount of light in the right spot size for your treatment needs, while our Advanced Contact Cooling technology protects clients' skin.

Prognosis
Waiting for acne to clear on its own can be frustrating. Without treatment, acne can cause permanent scars, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.

To avoid these possible outcomes, dermatologists recommend that people treat acne. When the skin clears, treatment should continue. Treatment prevents new breakouts. Your dermatologist can tell you when you no longer need to treat acne to prevent breakouts.