The first part of any treatment plan is diagnosis. Understanding how to treat acne truly starts with understanding acne itself. Many believe they can self-diagnose their acne, but it’s wise to schedule an appointment with a licensed dermatologist.
The Importance of Getting the Right Diagnosis
In order to determine the best type of treatment for your skin, it’s important to have a full understanding of the severity and degree of your individual case of acne. A dermatologist skilled in skin care can help pinpoint the proper treatment to help clear up your skin and alleviate the symptoms and effects of acne, helping you avoid permanent skin damage and disfigurement.
If you’re dealing with mild acne and your skin exhibits only occasional breakouts, you may be able to accurately self-diagnose and treat your skin with BioClarity products. However, if any of the following warning signs are present, it’s essential to make an appointment with a skin care professional or physician as soon as possible:
- Your acne was catalyzed by the prescription of a new medication.
- You’re experiencing severe emotional distress as a result of your acne.
- Your acne has not improved or has grown worse after three months of home care and treatment.
- You have developed scars and permanent marks even after your acne has cleared up.
- Your pimples are larger than normal and filled with foul-smelling fluid.
- You’re experiencing other physical symptoms in addition to your acne.
Diseases that May Cause Acne
Reaching an Acne Diagnosis
During a skin care consultation, a doctor or licensed skin care professional will perform a physical exam, and ask numerous questions about medical history and past and present acne flare-ups. Women will be asked about their menstrual cycles to help determine whether hormones are having a significant impact on the breakouts in question. Certain symptoms and observations made during this exam may indicate underlying health issues that require different treatment plans. If this is the case, a doctor or dermatologist may run a series of tests to rule out any diseases and illnesses that could be causing any skin ailments.
1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the result of significant shifts in a woman’s hormones. This shift can cause the production of androgens to increase and overwhelm estrogen levels, signaling the production of excess sebum. This hormonal imbalance can result in painful cysts, period changes, infertility issues, heart disease, diabetes, and skin conditions like acne. One research study performed purported that 27 percent of all women struggling with acne also were diagnosed with PCOS. Those with PCOS are more prone to inflammation, which can worsen the severity of acne.
2. Adrenal Hyperplasia
While rare, those with this condition can also often suffer from severe cases of acne. Those with congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia experience an accumulation of adrenal steroid precursors and disrupt the metabolic rate of androgens. This increase in androgens may result in excess sebum, which catalyzes the formation of acne.
Classifying Acne Severity
If your dermatologist does deem your skin condition to be Acne Vulgaris—the medical name for common acne—they will likely assign your specific acne with a grade of severity.
Grade I: This is the mildest grade of acne, and individuals may exhibit comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) and/or small pimples. There is minimal inflammation in Grade I cases of acne.
Grade II: This grade refers to moderate acne that features a higher saturation of blackheads and whiteheads along with a higher number of pimples. Breakouts are more frequent than Grade I acne, and there may be development of papules and pustules.
Grade III: Patients diagnosed with Grade III acne likely suffer from a higher rates of inflammation, leaving the skin tender and often painful to the touch. This severity sees patients with a high number of papules and pustules, and they may also exhibit painful nodules.
Grade IV: This is the most severe grade in acne diagnoses, and individuals with severe acne will exhibit a large number of papules, pustule, nodules, and pus-filled cysts. Severe acne is often observed on varied areas of the body, including the back and chest. This type of acne is the most likely to cause permanent skin damage in the form of scarring and disfiguration if treated improperly.
Mild acne is common, and luckily, generally responds well and quickly to proper treatment. Mild acne can be cleared with gentle cleansing, or with the use of topical treatment options. If this treatment prompts little change, a doctor may prescribe stronger creams, lotions, and other topical options.
Salicylic acid vs benzoyl peroxide has long been a hot topic in the treatment of acne. Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid and has proven to be one of the most effective acne treatments, and a safer option than benzoyl peroxide. It features keratolytic properties, meaning it dissolves keratin, making it an ideal exfoliating ingredient. Salicylic is chemically comparable to aspirin, and can help reduce redness and calm inflammation as pores open up and clear out. When salicylic acid is applied to the skin, it can help break down the fatty compounds found in sebum that can cause pores to clog. BioClarity products contain the highest allowable concentration of salicylic acid to ensure effective acne treatment. This pimple medicine works on plugged comedones by sloughing off dead skin cells and clearing pores.
Sulfur has been used in treating acne for thousands of years, and in the 1950s, it became available in a foam product designed for direct application to the skin. Can sulfur work on acne? Sulfur dries out the skin, consequently drying out and shrinking pimples. It tends to be gentler than Benzoyl Peroxide treatments, and is less likely to dehydrate the skin, which would result in further irritation.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
AHAs are designed to prevent pore clogging and are commonly used in conjunction with topical treatments like BioClarity. Alpha Hydroxy acids serve as a gentle exfoliator, and can increase the effectiveness of other products.
Benzoyl peroxide is used commonly in over the counter acne treatments, but higher percentages of this ingredient can result in dryness, peeling, and other skin irritation. Depending on acne severity, Benzoyl Peroxide is used in varied concentrations: 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. It’s not recommended that Benzoyl Peroxide be used in conjunction with acne medication to avoid excessive dryness.
In most cases of mild acne, it’s important to wash affected areas of the skin twice daily with products like BioClarity. Our naturally-based skin care products harness the power of Floralux, a unique, revolutionary formula made up of naturally-derived Chlorophyll and copper. Our three-step process is designed to treat acne by utilizing natural ingredients such as chamomile, cucumber, green tea, and oat kernel extract to help soothe the skin of irritation and dryness. These ingredients result in safer, more effective acne treatment and acne medication, allowing the skin to heal and regenerate from acne lesions without the worry of harmful side effects many chemical treatments can render on the skin.