Acne is a very common skin problem that almost everyone will face at one point or another.

As it is so common, there are lots of different treatment approaches to acne.  Most of the time people can treat acne at home without needing a medical provider’s help.  When acne is not easily controlled or is bad enough that it produces scars, dermatologists are here to help.   

What Causes Acne?

“We try to determine what the underlying cause is of your particular acne and then treat that underlying cause.”

Acne can be caused and exacerbated by a number of things.  Usually, there is an increased amount of sebum, or natural oil, on our skin that can become trapped and produce a pimple.  When bacteria get into the pimple it can cause bigger lesions called cysts.  As we treat acne, we try to determine what the underlying cause is of your particular acne and then treat that underlying cause.  Please be patient though because treating the underlying cause of acne often takes 6 weeks of dedicated and consistent action on your part before you will see results.    

What Are The Different Types Of Acne?

Acne can be categorized by its severity:

  1. Mild acne is usually acne that is small in size, not too many lesions present, and does not scar. This is usually the comedones (whiteheads or blackheads) with minimal redness or inflammation.  This type does not usually produce scars unless it is being picked or popped..
  2. Moderate acne has bigger lesions, more of them, and can scar.  There is usually more redness present.  
  3. Severe acne, also called nodular or cystic acne, has big cystic lesions that have a higher chance of producing permanent scars.  

What Factors Make Acne Worse?

These factors can contribute to acne:

  • Changing hormone levels – this can be puberty or the natural hormonal changes that happen later in life.  It can also predictably happen at the same time during a menstrual cycle.  
  • Using the wrong skin products.  Skin products should say “Non-Acne Causing or Non-Comedogenic to have the least chance of causing acne from their use.  
  • Rubbing and Pressure – whether this is from sports equipment or from placing your hand on your chin, acne can be caused from both of these.  
  • Environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity
  • Squeezing or picking at blemishes
  • Hard scrubbing of the skin 
  • Poor diet – eat well!  Eating poorly is not good for any organ system

“Anyone at any age can get acne.”

Treatment Options

Benzoyl Peroxide


Oral Antibiotics


Learn About Acne and Nutrition

Other Resources