There are different types of acne and learning which type you have is the first step to treating it. Learn more about the four acne types and the various treatments they may require to determine which type of acne you have and how you can best fight it.
Types of Acne
1. Grade I
Grade I acne is the mildest of acne types. It features infrequent minor pimples, blackheads – sometimes in large numbers -, but no inflammation. Mild acne often occurs in early adolescence (with minor outbreaks on the nose and/or forehead), but is seen in adults as well (in the form of blackheads on the nose and forehead).
It is generally fairly easy to keep in check and will not leave acne scars. It can be treated at home, using OTC products, containing salicyclic acid or tea tree oil. It is important to treat it in the early stages to prevent it from progressing.
2. Grade II
In the ranking of acne types, Grade II is considered moderate. It will involve blackheads and milia, usually in larger numbers, as well as papules and pustule formations. At this stage, you will witness more frequent, visible breakouts and a slight inflammation. In teens, it will spread to other areas of the face and body (chest and shoulders). Adult women may experience breakouts along the cheeks, chin and jawline, especially before or during their menses.
Moderate acne can also be treated at home, using non-prescription products. Alongside salicylic acid, you will need to use a benzoyl peroxyde lotion to fight off the bacteria causing inflammation. If the symptoms don't subside after several weeks of home treatment, you should see a dermatologist.
3. Grade III
Grade III is deemed severe, compared to the previous two acne types. What distinguishes it from Grade II is heightened inflammation. There will be larger numbers of papules and pustules, joined by nodules. At this stage, breakouts will spread to other body areas (neck, chest, shoulders) and there is a greater risk of scarring. If you experience these symptoms, you should see a dermatologist. Left untreated, severe acne may quickly progress to the next stage.
4. Grade IV
Grade IV acne, also called cystic acne, is the most serious of acne types. It features a high level of inflammation and severe breakouts. It may spread to the entire back, chest and shoulders. Acne scars are nearly invariably present at this stage. Grade IV acne needs specialized treatment. It will be hard to keep in check and will probably require powerful systemic medication, alongside topical treatments.