Acne develops when pores become clogged. If you have acne, a dermatologist can diagnose you by looking at your breakouts. During your appointment, a dermatologist will also note what types of acne you have and where the breakouts appear on your skin. This helps your dermatologist create an effective treatment plan. Sometimes what looks like acne isn’t acne. While rare, what looks like acne can be another condition. For example, some people mistake hidradenitis suppurativa, also called acne inversa, for everyday acne. Treatment for this condition differs from that for acne. Another condition that can be mistaken for acne is perioral dermatitis. It often causes breakouts that look like acne around the mouth. Seeing a board-certified dermatologist can be reassuring. Whether you have stubborn acne or another condition, a board-certified dermatologist can diagnose you and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Treatment Options for Acne
The acne treatment plan that’s right for you depends on many considerations, including:
- What type of acne (i.e., blackheads, pimples, etc.) you have
- Where the acne appears on your skin
- What treatments you’ve already tried
- When the breakouts started
- Your age
- Whether the acne has left you with dark spots or scars
While a treatment plan can vary from one patient to the next, even for 2 patients who have the same type of acne, treatment often can include the following:
- A retinoid
- Benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, or salicylic acid
- An antibiotic you apply to your skin or take orally
- Women who continue to get breakouts may need medication, such as a birth control pill that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat acne. The birth control patch may also be effective, as can some other medications.
- Hormone Therapy
- Isotretinoin (medication approved to treat severe acne)