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How Dermatologists Diagnose and Treat Acne

Oct 10, 2021

Acne breakouts are uncomfortable on a physical and emotional level and, if left untreated, can lead to permanent scarring. Studies show that acne affects one in four people worldwide and up to 85 percent of teenagers. In addition, acne leads to poor self-esteem, depression, and anxiety for sufferers.

Advances made by science and doctors in recent years have made acne treatment efficient and effective. Involving a board-certified dermatologist can help you diagnose the cause of your acne and begin the appropriate treatment to control acne for good. Learn the methodology involved in diagnosing acne flare-ups and the options sufferers have to treat it.


Finding the Cause of Acne

A dermatologist uses a variety of techniques to diagnose and treat acne. It begins with a physical examination of the patient’s skin to see how deep the pimples have gone and if they are cystic. Cystic acne is more severe and is caused when cysts form deep under the skin.


A dermatologist will also evaluate the skin to rule out conditions that resemble acne, such as hidradenitis suppurativa or perioral dermatitis.

Treatment for Acne

Living with severe acne is a daily battle if left to mere over-the-counter solutions. The good news for those afflicted with acne is that the majority that seek acne treatment get successful results. Your doctor will begin your acne treatment plan by analyzing a variety of contributing factors such as:


  • The type of acne.
  • Where the acne is on your skin.
  • Treatments you have had so far.
  • The amount of time that has passed since the breakouts began.
  • How old you are.
  • If acne has left scars or spots on your skin.


Planning an acne-friendly skincare routine will set you up for success in eliminating acne. Skincare regimens for acne-prone skin take daily commitment to products and cleaning methods that won’t irritate your skin and lead to more breakouts.


Treatment Methods for Acne

Treatment protocol will be driven by the type of acne you have on your skin. Some acne will respond best to a multifaceted treatment approach. Your dermatologist will prescribe one or more of the following treatments and/or medications to phase out your acne:


  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • A Retinoid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Topical and/or antibiotic
  • Corticosteroids
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser/light therapy
  • Injections of corticosteroids
  • Birth control pills
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Dietary changes


Teens and pre-teens shouldn’t delay receiving acne treatment. Instead, involve a dermatologist early to prevent emotional distress, reduce the need for stronger acne medications, avoid acne scars/spots, and get faster treatment results before mild acne has a chance to worsen.


With over 40 years of experience, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michael Bukhalo at Arlington Dermatology is well-versed in treating all types of skin conditions. His compassionate staff offers innovative medical techniques that are patient-friendly and effective. Contact us at 847-725-0824 for a skincare consultation or schedule an appointment online