Many people think that acne is just pimples, but a person who has acne can have any of these blemishes:

  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Papules
  • Pustules (what many people call pimples)
  • Cysts
  • Nodules

Acne usually appears on the face, but it can also appear on other areas of the body including the back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms and buttocks.

How do dermatologists treat acne?

Today there are many effective acne treatments; however, acne treatments do not work overnight. At-home treatments require 4-8 weeks to see improvement. Once acne clears, you must continue to treat the skin to prevent breakouts.

Acne treatments that you apply to the skin: Most acne treatments are applied to the skin. Your dermatologist may refer to these treatments as topical treatments. There are many topical acne treatments. Some topicals help kill the bacteria, while others work on reducing the oil. Topical medicine may contain a retinoid, prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic, or even salicylic acid.

Acne treatments that work throughout the body: Medicine that works throughout the body may be necessary when you have red, swollen types of acne. This type of treatment is usually necessary to treat acne cysts and nodules. Your dermatologist may prescribe one or more of these:

  • Antibiotics
  • Isotretinoin

Procedures that treat acne: Your dermatologist may treat your acne with a procedure that can be performed during an office visit. These treatments include:

  • Lasers
  • Chemical Peels
  • Acne removal (Surgery)