Acne | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is acne diagnosed?

A dermatologist will examine your child's skin to diagnose acne, because there are other skin conditions that can look like acne. If your child has acne, the dermatologist will assign a grade to the acne: Grade 1 is mild acne and grade 4 is severe acne.

What are the treatment options for acne?

There are many different types of treatments for acne, but not every treatment works for everyone. However, it does mean that acne can be controlled and treatment can be effective.

Your child may have mild acne, only a few blemishes, whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Mild acne often can be treated with over-the-counter products, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Keep in mind, acne treatment does not work overnight. Generally, the at-home treatments take four to eight weeks before a noticeable improvement.

If your child has have a lot of acne, cysts or nodules, over-the-counter treatments may not be effective. You may need to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, who can offer several different forms of treatment:

  • topical acne treatment
  • antibiotics to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation
  • birth control pills and medicines that works on hormones can be helpful for females
  • Isotretinoin

Your dermatologist may opt to treat your child's acne with a procedure, such as:

  • lasers and other light therapies to reduce bacteria
  • chemical peels to treat blackheads and papules
  • drainage and extraction to remove a large acne cyst