According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 50 million Americans struggle with acne each year. Whether you experience it in your teen years (like 85% of 12-24-year-olds do), or it strikes a little later on, it’s pretty likely you’ll have at least some experience with acne in your lifetime. But did you know that there are many types of acne that can affect your complexion?
It’s true—acne is a broad term that encompasses a variety of skin ailments. It’s a condition that involves much more than an occasional pimple or zit. Acne comes in varying severity and it affects everyone differently.
- Types of acne
- How acne develops
- Consider additional acne treatments
- Acne severity
- Other types of skin conditions
- Best acne treatment option
- Key Takeaways
To successfully treat your acne, it’s essential to recognize and diagnose the different acne types you are struggling with (you may have more than one). Bear with us, these aren’t the nicest names or descriptions, but knowing them can help you better manage your acne and achieve that clear complexion you’ve always dreamed of!
- Types of Acne
- How Acne Develops
- What Type of Acne Do I Have and How Can I Treat it?
- Is the Type of Acne I Have Considered Severe?
- Other Types of Skin Conditions
- Emotional Impact
- Which Treatment is Right for My Acne Type?
- Key Takeaways
- Six Different Types Of Pimples
- What Are the Symptoms of Different Types of Acne?
- Different Types of Acne and Their Symptoms
Types of Acne
Acne vulgaris is a broad term for the most common of the three main types of acne. Acne vulgaris encompasses different types of acne lesions (also known as pimples).
Acne vulgaris forms when hair follicles become clogged with excess sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells. This results in a comedo, also known as a clogged pore. Acne vulgaris can be commonly found on the face, back, and chest, as these areas of the body tend to be saturated with pilosebaceous units.
As skin regenerates, old cells slough off, and if these dead skin cells aren’t flushed from the pores and manage to combine with sweat and oil, they could be trapped and result in the formation of a pimple.
Blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts are the most common types of pimples.
- Blackheads: Blackheads, also known as open comedones, generally form on the face, neck, chest, and back. They’re categorized by their black appearance where the pimple comes to a head. The black marking isn’t from dirt or infection but happens when the sebum oxidizes at the surface. Blackheads are generally caused when pores are clogged due to debris and oil buildup.
- Whiteheads: Whiteheads are clogged follicles covered by a thin layer of skin that appear as white bumps or spots.
- Papules: Papules are inflamed lesions that may appear red, and can be sensitive and painful.
- Pustules: Pustules are another type of pimple that’s’ an inflamed lesion. They are generally pus-filled and may appear white or yellow. Though it may be tempting to extract their pus, popping pustules can lead to acne scarring. Want to learn more? Learn how to prevent acne scars here.
- Nodules: Nodules are a severe form of acne lesion that develop under the skin; they don’t generally contain pus but are hard to the touch. These acne lesions are generally between 1 and 2 centimeters wide.
- Cysts: Cysts are a severe form of acne lesion that are inflamed and filled with pus. They are generally painful and may require professional medical treatment.
Beyond acne vulgaris, there are different kinds of acne conditions, including acne fulminans and acne mechanica.
- Acne fulminans: This is a rare but very severe form of acne that comes on abruptly in adolescent males, characterized by inflammatory nodular acne on both the chest and back. It can result in severe scarring and painful joints, along with other health issues such as fever and joint pain.
- Acne mechanica: This form of acne is triggered by excess pressure, heat, and friction on the skin, and is often found among athletes and those already prone to acne breakouts. It’s characterized by small bumps that can range from tiny comedones to inflamed lesions.
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How Acne Develops
Answering the question, “what type of acne do I have?” starts with learning what exactly acne is and how it develops. In the most basic sense, acne is the emergence of infected or inflamed sebaceous glands in the skin. But how do these inflamed sebaceous glands translate into blemishes and pimples that cloud your complexion?
Here’s how it works: our pores are connected to a system of oil glands directly beneath the skin. Within these oil glands, sebum is produced. This substance is meant to keep our skin moisturized and healthy, but excessive production of this oil can lead to acne. When the oil is pushed through the follicle, it can clog the pore and create a plug in the skin if it attaches to dead skin cells or bacteria. Sebum will continue to build up behind the plug, resulting in a pimple.
There’s a lot of speculation as to possible causes of acne, but what it comes down to is:
- Genetic history with acne
- An excess of the androgen hormone
- Too much oil production
- The presence of bacteria
Some of these factors you can’t control. However, you can take measures to care for your body and skin to prevent and improve acne flare-ups. Even simple changes to your skincare routine can help—learning how to wash your face properly, for example, can help clear your face of debris and excess oil production.
Acne vulgaris generally develops during the teen years, when the onset of puberty causes the hormonal level to fluctuate—this type of acne is also referred to as “hormonal acne.” As hormone levels rise, especially androgens, the skin glands begin producing larger amounts of sebum.
Puberty isn’t the only time we experience hormonal changes. Women experience regular variations in hormone levels, specifically that of estrogen and androgen (typically in line with their menstrual cycle). Men also experience hormone level fluctuations, especially in their teens, but this usually mellows out by adulthood.
Acne is also a result of hereditary factors. Children whose parents have dealt with acne are more likely to struggle with this skin condition. While it’s not a genetic disease, hereditary components have been linked to the presence of this skin condition.
And that goes for many types of skin conditions! Ever asked yourself: “Why do I have dry skin?” Family history can have a lot to do with the way your skin looks and feels, and is usually a good indication of whether or not an individual will deal with acne breakouts. The good news is, using a vegan moisturizer in combination with a non-invasive face wash can help you address dry skin and prevent acne flare-ups.
While stress doesn’t directly cause acne, it can trigger or exacerbate a breakout. We see this occur in students across the globe when they’re handling stress during finals. In a study of 144 female medical students between 22 and 24 years old, researchers found that acne severity was strongly correlated to how much stress the students were facing (using the Perceived Stress Scale). But what’s the physiological response that connects stress to different types of acne?
When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. When these hormones fluctuate, your skin secretes more oil, which can bring on a breakout or worsen pre-existing pimples.
If you find that your skin is particularly sensitive, be sure to integrate healthy skincare tips customized to your skin type to counteract the inevitable stress in your life.
What Type of Acne Do I Have and How Can I Treat it?
Now that we know how acne develops and the different types of acne, let’s dive deeper so we can answer the important question: “what type of acne do I have?”
Acne lesions are typically categorized into two main types: non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne. Although there are two primary categories, there are many different types of acne which we’ll discuss in even more detail later on.
Non-inflammatory acne is characterized by comedones, which can be open or closed. These comedones are more commonly known as whiteheads and blackheads and are generally referred to as different types of pimples.
Self-extraction of comedones can cause more harm than good. The follicle walls in blackheads and whiteheads can be ruptured quite easily, and this rupture allows bacteria to enter the surrounding pores and leads to inflamed acne. If that’s not enough to convince you to stay away from pimple popping, check out these warnings from the American Academy of Dermatology.
Extracting acne at home could cause:
- Exacerbated acne
- More painful acne
- An infection
Inflammatory breakouts are a result of P. Acnes bacteria infecting the follicles, causing a response from the body that can lead to acne breakouts. There are four types of inflammatory acne, sometimes commonly referred to as different pimple types: papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
Is the Type of Acne I Have Considered Severe?
When it comes to acne diagnosis, acne vulgaris is measured on grades of severity and can be diagnosed into three main different classifications: mild, moderate, and severe.
Mild acne is characterized by a small number of acne lesions (less than 20 comedones and 15 lesions).
People with moderate acne typically have between 20 and 100 comedones, and 15 to 50 inflammatory lesions.
When an individual is diagnosed with severe acne, a dermatologist not only considers comedones and surface level lesions, but they’ll also look to see if there are any cystic lesions present. Severe acne is categorized using the following metrics:
- 5 pseudocysts or more
- 100 comedones or more
- 50 inflammatory lesions or more
Other Types of Skin Conditions
There are other different types of acne that are not considered acne vulgaris, acne fulmians, or acne mechanica. They can look similar and exhibit comparable symptoms, but they tend to be much more difficult to treat and alleviate. If you are struggling with severe acne-like symptoms, it’s important to determine exactly what is causing your skin condition to get proper treatment.
Acne conglobata is an uncommon and severe form of acne that’s characterized by painful abscesses,irregular scars, and it features a large number of deep and inflamed comedones, nodules, and draining cysts all connected underneath the surface of the skin.
This type of acne is generally very hard to treat and it may require consultation with a professional dermatologist along with an effective skincare routine.
Gram-negative folliculitis is a bacterial infection that closely mimics acne, but in reality, it’s a pustular rash. Doctors can diagnose this condition with a Gram stain, but this condition can be difficult to treat, as the types of bacteria present in this condition don’t respond to most antibiotics used to treat severe acne.
This infection can arise from continued use of certain long-term antibiotics prescribed to treat acne; this is because the body builds up an immunity to these antibodies over time, resulting in worse acne flare-ups.
Pyoderma faciale can mimic both acne and rosacea, but it is neither. Here are a few key differences to note when diagnosing acne and rosacea vs. pyoderma faciale:
- Unlike severe acne, this condition comes on abruptly and can develop rapidly.
- Pyoderma faciale is not a cause of oil buildup on the skin.
- Acne can spread throughout the body, whereas pyoderma faciale only appears on the face.
- Acne can affect men and women equally, but pyoderma faciale disproportionately impacts women.
- Unlike rosacea, pyoderma faciale doesn’t affect the eyes.
- Pyoderma faciale is not associated with a flushed appearance on the skin.
This painful skin condition predominantly afflicts women, usually between the ages of 15 and 46 years old, and its onset is quick and immediate. Individuals with this skin condition will exhibit cysts, pustules, and nodules seemingly overnight. There are usually no comedones present with this condition on its own, but it is known to accompany cases of acne vulgaris. Usually, this skin condition lasts no longer than a year and is not associated with the production of oil in the skin. This is a rare condition and is usually best treated with medication prescribed by a dermatologist.
The most common medications to treat pyoderma faciale include:
- Systemic steroids
Clogged or Congested Pores?
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No matter the severity or type, individuals dealing with acne breakouts and other skin conditions often struggle with emotional effects as a result. For teenagers early in their social development, skin ailments such as acne can cause self-esteem issues and in severe cases, depression. Even with the best young adult acne treatment put to use, acne breakouts and scarring can mar a young person’s self-image as physical appearance becomes important to feelings of self-worth.
The threat of emotional damage doesn’t stop in adolescence, however. Adults who deal with different kinds of acne can also face negative emotional impact as a direct result of their skin condition. One study found that adult females with mild to moderate acne experienced higher levels of emotional and social stress.
Whether you deal with the occasional blackhead or have been experiencing severe and painful breakouts, you’re not alone. Millions across the country struggle with this painful skin condition daily. When acne flares, causing physical discomfort and pain and negative psychosocial effects, treatment is vital.
Be sure you know how to figure out your skin type as this understanding can aid you in any treatment you pursue. Narrowing in on the acne types you struggle with will enable you to select an effective treatment tailored to your skin type to clear your complexion and prevent future breakouts.
Which Treatment is Right for My Acne Type?
When searching for the right treatment option for the kind of acne you have, you should keep three things in mind: your skin type, your skin goal, and skincare ingredients.
Our line of vegan skincare routines are designed to suit your unique skin type to help you better treat breakouts, or simply even out or brighten your complexion.
Oily skin? Our Clear Skin Routine complete with a vegan face wash gently counteracts oil and strips away bacteria that cause acne so you can experience clearer skin in as little as two weeks. Or maybe red and blotchy skin’s getting in the way of your glow? Our Ultra Calming Routine is one of our most popular sets. Each vegan skincare product in the lineup is rich with calming ingredients such as chamomile, chlorophyll-based Floralux®, vitamin B3, and lentil to soothe and smooth irritated skin.
What’s more, our selection of skin routine products are carefully constructed with 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free ingredients so you can feel great about your skin routine, and look great, too. Each of our products uses our signature Floralux® complex—an improved chlorophyll formula that’s designed to nourish the skin while fighting off acne-causing bacterias.
- There are two main types of acne: non-inflammatory and inflammatory.
- Acne can cause significant negative psychological effects including lowered self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
- The most common types of pimples are blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
- Dermatologists diagnose acne vulgaris in three grades of severity: mild, moderate, and severe.
- There are more severe skin conditions that are commonly mistaken for common acne vulgaris, including acne fulminans, pyoderma faciale, and more. These types of skin conditions should be treated with the help of a dermatologist.
- Left untreated, acne can leave permanent scars, so it’s essential to begin treatment as soon as possible.
- Learning about your skin and how to take care of it can help you treat the type of acne you have, and get you one step closer to that gorgeous glow that lies beneath.
- When choosing skincare products, you should consider: what type of acne you have, your skin’s overall condition, your goal for your complexion, and how different ingredients help or hurt your skin.
- bioClarity helps nourish your skin using 100% vegan and cruelty-free acne products.
Abby Vinas has long been an active member of the holistic health community, advocating in favor of its benefits to both our physical and emotional well-being. Her commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle has made her an authority on self-care practices. Abby is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and proper skincare, and is also an avid lover of avocado toast and dog-petting.
Six Different Types Of Pimples
“Nooooooooooo,” is what I scream in front of my bathroom mirror anytime I feel a cystic pimple developing. That’s because cysts are much worse than regular pimples. They lie deep within the skin, are often caused by hormones, and occur when the pores become blocked and lead to infection. This is what makes them so painful and slow to heal. Your best bet is to A) keep the area clean, B) chemically exfoliate, and C) fight the infection. You might see a dermatologist for a cortisone injection, or you could try putting Renée Rouleau’s Anti Bump Solution on it twice a day. Jordana also recommends ice packing cysts, because the cold will restrict the blood vessels and reduce inflammation as a result. If you get regularly occuring cystic acne, retin-A and other more serious treatments can help. Contrary to popular belief (apparently, because I saw it on the internet), cystic pimples are not caused by masturbation OR chocolate. Now you know!
Like cysts, nodular pimples are one of the most severe forms of acne. They’re slightly different in that they are not filled with pus like cystic pimples are. Instead, they form a hard bump deep within the skin and feel painful at the surface. Nodules don’t always become red—they can match your skintone—but can take weeks to go away. Nodular acne usually needs pretty intensive treatments like antibiotics and other oral medications, so visiting the dermatologist is probably your best bet to finding a solution.
Photo via ITG.
What Are the Symptoms of Different Types of Acne?
Different Types of Acne and Their Symptoms
The occasional bump or breakout might not be a big deal to some. Persistent acne, on the other hand, can be a frustrating problem, affecting your self-esteem and confidence. Your feelings about acne may have everything to do with the extent of your skin problem, which can range from mild to severe.
“Mild acne is the less severe form of acne,” says Yoram Harth, MD, a dermatologist and the medical director of MDacne who’s based in San Francisco. “This kind of acne is easier to control and doesn’t usually leave long-term scars.” (6)
It’s a different story with moderate and severe acne, though.
Moderate acne, continues Dr. Harth, is more noticeable and can leave dark spots and scars, whereas severe acne is the worst form. It’s more difficult to treat and often leaves scars when it heals. (6)
It’s important that you learn how to recognize common types of blemishes — as well as their severity — because different types of acne respond to different treatments.
Bottom line: If you want clearer skin, you need to know what you’re dealing with.
Different types of acne (and their symptoms) include the following:
Whiteheads are a type of acne that develops underneath the skin’s surface. (7)
These blemishes are round and small. They’re also covered by a thin layer of skin, resulting in a white or yellowish appearance. (8) Different factors contribute to whiteheads, such as oily skin, hormones, puberty, diet, and the use of cosmetics and moisturizers on your face. (1)
Blackheads look similar to whiteheads. But instead of a white bump, blackhead pimples are black or dark. (8)
Blackheads aren’t covered by skin like a whitehead. Instead, they rise to the skin’s surface. (7). Exposure to air causes trapped oil inside the pore to turn black, resulting in the bump’s darker appearance. (8)
Possible causes of a blackhead include oily skin, an irritated hair follicle, hormones, and diet, as well as skin-care products. Some medications can trigger blackheads. (1)
A papule forms when a pore or hair follicle becomes clogged with bacteria. Your immune system reacts to the bacteria by producing white blood cells, which fight infections. This inflammatory response causes clusters of red, inflamed pimples. (8)
This type of acne is similar to papules. But with a pustule, your body’s inflammatory response causes pimples to fill with pus composed of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. These clusters of bumps are red, slightly larger, and sensitive to the touch. (8)
Nodular acne is a severe form of acne characterized by large, hard bumps underneath the skin’s surface. This type of acne also involves bacteria, and develops when the walls of a pore break down. As a result, bacteria and oil extend deeper into the skin, affecting other pores. Nodules are painful and can cause permanent scarring. (7,8)
Cystic acne also develops deep underneath the skin, and it’s the worst form of acne, says Harth. It occurs when a severe inflammatory reaction in your pores triggers boil-like, fluid-filled nodules, and is commonly seen in menstruating women. Varying levels of estrogen act at the level of the follicle to cause cysts deep underneath the skin. (7,8)
Adult acne is the bane of our lives: shouldn’t we have aged out of zits when we left high school? Contrary to our teenage beliefs, all spots are not created equal—it turns out that there are different types of acne that we should know about.
“The main two categories of acne are ‘inflammatory’ and ‘non-inflammatory’ acne,” says Dr. Eric Schweiger, NYC dermatologist and founder of the Clear Clinic.
Non-Inflammatory Types of Acne
“Non-inflammatory acne lesions are blackheads and whiteheads, officially ‘open and closed comedones,’” Dr. Schweiger explains.
A blackhead is a pore that has become clogged by oil, dead skin cells and bacteria but remains open. Because the clog has been exposed to oxygen, it turns dark in color.
A whitehead is also a clogged pore, but one that is closed instead of open.
“Inflammatory acne is what is traditionally thought of as pimples and cysts. Inflammatory acne lesions, also known as cystic acne, can lead to scarring. It is characterized by red bumps that are often painful and deep and should never be treated without the assistance of a skincare professional.”
An inflamed red bump with a white, pus-filled head is called a pustule. Resist the urge to squeeze; doing so can cause scarring and push the bacteria deeper into the pore.
Papules are red bumps without a head.
The most severe type of acne, this is a large, painful bump that forms deep under the skin and can persist for weeks or months.
Clearing up non-inflammatory types of acne may be a bit simpler, but the treatment is the same for both types. “All types of acne are best treated with over the counter products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or tea tree oil in combination with in-office procedures, such as blue light therapy and Isolaz laser,” says Dr. Schweiger. See your dermatologist for a treatment targeted to your specific skin issues.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Once and For All
How does a doctor treat acne? Is it possible to remove acne scars?
It’s best to consult a primary care physician or dermatologist if an individual is unable to adequately control his or her acne. The goal of treatment should be the prevention of scarring (not a flawless complexion) so that after the condition spontaneously resolves there is no lasting sign of the affliction. Here are some of the options available:
- Topical (externally applied) antibiotics and antibacterials: These include erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), clindamycin (BenzaClin, Duac), sulfacetamide (Klaron), azelaic acid (Azelex or Finacea), and dapsone (Aczone).
- Retinoids: Retin-A (tretinoin) has been in use for years, and preparations have become milder and gentler while still maintaining its effectiveness. Newer retinoids include adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac). These medications are especially helpful for unclogging pores. Side effects may include irritation and a mild increase in sensitivity to the sun. Adapalene 0.1% is now available without a prescription. With proper sun protection, however, they can be used even during sunny periods. The combination medication known as Epiduo gel — which contains the retinoid, adapalene, along with the antibacterial, benzoyl peroxide — is applied once a day.
- Oral medications: Doctors may start antibiotic treatment with tetracycline (Sumycin) or one of the related “cyclines,” such as doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox, and others) and minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin). Other oral antibiotics that are useful for treating acne are cefadroxil (Duricef), amoxicillin (Amoxil, DisperMox, Trimox), and the sulfa drugs.
- Problems with these drugs can include allergic reactions (especially sulfa), gastrointestinal upset, and increased sun sensitivity. Doxycycline, in particular, is generally safe but can sometime cause esophagitis (irritation of the esophagus, producing discomfort when swallowing) and an increased tendency to sunburn.
- Despite the concern that the long-term use of tetracycline antibiotics for acne might “weaken the immune system” or induce bacterial resistance, these concerns seem to be unwarranted.
- Oral contraceptives: Oral contraceptives (birth control pills), which are low in estrogen to promote safety, have little effect on acne one way or the other. Some contraceptive pills have been shown to have modest effectiveness in treating acne. Those that have been U.S. FDA approved for treating acne are Estrostep, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and Yaz. Most dermatologists work together with primary care physicians or gynecologists when recommending these medications.
- Spironolactone (Aldactone): This drug blocks androgen (hormone) receptors. It can cause breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and increased potassium levels in the bloodstream. It can help some women with resistant acne, however, and is generally well-tolerated in the young women who need it.
- Cortisone injections: To make large pimples and cysts flatten out fast, doctors inject them with a form of cortisone.
- Isotretinoin: Accutane was the original brand name; there are now several generic versions in common use, including Sotret, Claravis, and Amnesteem. Isotretinoin is an excellent treatment for severe, scarring, persistent acne and has been used on millions of patients since it was introduced in Europe in 1971 and in the U.S. in 1982. It should be used for people with severe acne, chiefly of the cystic variety, that has been unresponsive to conventional therapies like those listed above. If taken in sufficient dosage, it should eliminate the need to continue the use of prescription drugs in most patients. The drug has many potential serious side effects and requires a number of unique controls before it is prescribed. This means that isotretinoin is not a good choice for people whose acne is not that severe but who are frustrated and want “something that will knock acne out once and for all.” In order to use the drug, the prescribing physician, the patient, and the supplying pharmacy must be enrolled in the online “iPLEDGE PROGRAM.” Used properly, isotretinoin is safe and produces few side effects beyond dry lips and occasional muscle aches. This drug is prescribed for five to six months at a dosage that has a high likelihood of preventing the return of acne. Fasting blood tests are monitored monthly to check liver function and the level of triglycerides, substances related to cholesterol, which often rise a bit during treatment but rarely to the point at which treatment has to be modified or stopped.
- Even though isotretinoin does not remain in the body after therapy is stopped, improvement is often long-lasting. It is safe to take two or three courses of the drug if unresponsive acne makes a comeback. It is, however, best to wait at least several months and to try other methods before using isotretinoin again.
- Isotretinoin has a high risk of inducing birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Women of childbearing age who take isotretinoin need two negative pregnancy tests (blood or urine) before starting the drug, monthly tests while they take it, and another after they are done. Those who are sexually active must use two forms of contraception, one of which is usually the oral contraceptive pill. Isotretinoin leaves the body completely when treatment is done; women must be sure to avoid pregnancy for one month after therapy is stopped. There is, however, no risk to childbearing after that time.
- Other concerns include inflammatory bowel disease and the risk of depression and suicide in patients taking isotretinoin. Recent evidence seems to indicate that these problems are exceedingly rare. Government oversight has resulted in a highly publicized and very burdensome national registration system for those taking the drug. This has reinforced concerns in many patients and their families have that isotretinoin is dangerous. In fact, large-scale studies so far have shown no convincing evidence of increased risk for those taking isotretinoin compared with the general population. It is important for those taking this drug to report changes in mood or bowel habits (or any other symptoms) to their doctors. Even patients who are being treated for depression are not barred from taking isotretinoin, whose striking success often improves the mood and outlook of patients with severe disease.
- Light treatments: Recent years have brought reports of success in treating acne using special lights and similar devices, alone or in conjunction with photosensitizing dyes. It appears that these treatments are safe and can be effective, but it is not clear that their success is lasting. At this point, laser treatment of acne is best thought of as an adjunct to conventional therapy, rather than as a substitute.
- Chemical peels: Whether the superficial peels (like glycolic acid) performed by estheticians or deeper ones performed in the doctor’s office, chemical peels are of modest, supportive benefit only, and in general, they do not substitute for regular therapy.
- Treatment of acne scars: For those patients whose acne has gone away but left them with permanent scarring, several options are available. These include surgical procedures to elevate deep, depressed acne scars and laser resurfacing to smooth out shallow acne scars. Newer forms of laser resurfacing (“fractional resurfacing”) are less invasive and heal faster than older methods, although results are less complete and the procedures may need to be repeated three or more times. These treatments can help, but they are never completely successful at eliminating acne scars.