Acne Diagnosis Is it just spots & pimples or something more

Very mild forms of acne require little diagnosis, but the acne diagnosis for more severe forms of acne requires that you know a little more about it

In very mild forms acne diagnosis requires very little research.

  • Most people who reach their teens will easily recognize the small blackheads and white pimples that are surrounded by a reddened area and realise instantly it is mild acne.
  • Your teenage acne may consist of a field of small, white bumps called whiteheads. These will often disappear on their own.
  • Blackheads may form when the corrupted material reaches the skins surface, where it combines with air to form the characteristic dark color.

These two types of spot or pimple are called, respectively, closed or open comedones. A good antibacterial cleanser and time may be all that’s needed to clear them up.

Diagnosing Acne - Blackhead

But your acne diagnosis may show more severe forms of acne appearing, when nodules or cysts form.

And when papules or pustules have spread around the face, shoulders and chest, this often calls for a visit to the dermatologist.

These professional skin care experts will work-up a complete history of your problem and carefully examine the affected areas. They’ll carefully note the color, number and size of acne outbreaks.

Acne EruptionIn these more severe cases you may have other symptoms you wouldn’t commonly associate with acne, such as fever and aching joints, or even headaches and GI (gastrointestinal) distress.

These indicate more serious types of acne, calling for more specialized treatments, such as prescription drugs or lasers.

For the dermatoligist to carry out a full acne diagnosis; when symptoms appeared and in what order, is important.

Typically, only the patient can provide that information. So, it’s useful to keep track of outbreaks by keeping a log. Note which type of lesion occurred before the appearance of any pustules and when.

Along the way the dermatologist will, naturally, attempt to rule out any alternative explanations.

Certain insect bites, such as mosquito or spider bites, can temporarily resemble acne. 

Mosquito bite lesions, left alone, will disappear in a day or two, for all but those who are allergic to them.

Spider bites are often harmless, but some may be poisonous and lesions can spread, which demands an entirely different form of medical treatment.

  • Rosacea is a common skin disorder that differs from acne in several respects, but still forms papules and red pustules.
  • Keratosis pilaris produces small bumps that may resemble whiteheads.
  • Miliaria rubra, or heat rash, produces small red bumps.

All of the above would call for very different medical treatments than those prescribed when acne is diagnosed.

Similarly, many allergies can confuse your acne diagnosis as they produce skin lesions, redness and many other acne like symptoms.

Sexually transmitted diseases are a common ailment. Sometimes they actually produce acne, but they can cause other skin problems, too. Herpes, for example, may show up as red, painful bumps on the buttocks.

Certain prescription or illicit drugs can cause acne. Anabolic steroids, lithium and prednisone, are common today. Phenobarbital and tetracycline can cause acne.

Sometimes, even excess use of Vitamin B complex can cause acne. Your doctor will need to know about diet, about your supplements and whether your have tried any over the counter medications or remedies.

Your dermatologist will require a complete and honest history of drug use in order to make a full and proper acne diagnosis.

The key to correct acne diagnosis and the proper treatment of acne is knowing as much as possible about your own skin and your history of any acne outbreaks.