How is acne diagnosed?

Corey Schuler, MS, DC
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Consider that acne may have a significant hormonal component. If this is the case, what is causing the hormone imbalance and is the diet conducive to hormone balance? Stress, nutrient insufficiencies, and excess exposure to environmental insults may make acne worse.
Your dermatologist can tell if you have acne. Acne is a skin condition that commonly occurs on the face, chest, and back. You may have blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps, pus pimples, or painful nodules. Acne commonly occurs during the teenage years, when your hormones are changing. However,in some patients acne may continue well into adulthood. Your hormones influence how much oil your skin makes, which can lead to outbreaks. This explains why some women break out in pimples before their menstrual period. It is important to see your dermatologist for acne because it is a treatable condition. You want to treat the skin early to prevent the deveopment of permanent scarring from severe acne. Also, while most of the time what looks like acne really is acne.  Sometimes, other skin conditions that look like acne really are caused by something totally different. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Acne can be diagnosed by a doctor relatively easily through visual inspection. Your primary care physician may refer you to a dermatologist for specific treatment options.
Patricia Farris, MD

Acne is diagnosed based on the type of lesions and location.There are three forms of acne. The first is comedonal acne. Comedone is the medical term referring to blackheads and white heads. The second type is inflammatory acne. Patients with inflammatory acne have red bumps called papules and pustules. This type of acne is more noticable than comedonal acne. The third type of acne is nodulocystic acne. Patients with this form of acne have large deep cystic lesions that patients often refer to as underground pimples. Nodulocystic lesions don't come to a head per se but usually remain below the skin. This is the most severe form of acne and can cause scarring. While acne usually occurs on the face it may also affect the neck, chest and back. 

Acne is usually diagnosed by a simple analysis of the skin. Dermatologists-doctors who specialize in skin conditions-will examine a patient's blemishes to determine the type of irritation and the severity of the acne. Dermatologists can then decide what treatment is best for each person.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.