Type of Acne

Acne can be classify into four grade. Dermatologist classified acne based on a few criteria such as :

  • amount of inflammation, if any
  • areas of the body affected by acne
  • types of inflamed comedones present
  • types of non-inflamed comedones present
  • amount of breakout activity

Grade I 

The mildest form of acne. This type of acne appear only very occasionally and in small numbers. Basically, seen in early adolescence especially at the nose and/or forehead. Blackheads and milia will be found, sometimes in great numbers, but there is no inflammation for acne Grade I.

This type of acne can be successfully treated at home using product containing salicylic acid. Grade I acne may progress to Grade II if left untreated.

Grade II

Grade II acne is considered moderate acne. There will be blackheads and milia, generally in greater numbers. You will start seeing more pa pules and the formation of pustules in this stage. They will appear with greater frequency, and general breakout activity will be more obvious. Slight inflammation of the skin is now apparent.

For teenagers, you will see the acne progress from nose and forehead to other part of the face. The acne also may start to affect the chest and shoulders. Adult women may find greater breakout activity in the cheeks, chin, and jaw line area, especially just before and during the menstrual cycle.

Grade II acne can still be treated at home. In addition to a salicylic acid, a benzoyl peroxide lotion should be used daily to help kill the bacteria that cause inflammations. Grade II acne may progress to Grade III, especially if pimples are habitually picked at or squeezed.

Grade III

Grade III  acne is considered severe. The main difference between Grade II and Grade III acne  is the amount of inflammation present. The skin is now obviously reddened and inflamed. Papules and pustules have developed in greater numbers, and nodules will be present.

Grade III normally involves other body areas, such as the neck, chest, shoulders, and/or upper back, as well as the face. 

A dermatologist should treat acne at this stage. Grade III acne is usually treated with both topical and systemic therapies available only by prescription. Left untreated, Grade III acne may progress to Grade IV.

Grade IV

Grade IV is the serious stage of acne. It is often referred to as nodulocystic or cystic acne. The skin will display numerous papules, pustules, and nodules, in addition to cysts. There is a pronounced amount of inflammation and breakouts are severe. Cystic acne is very painful.

Acne of this severity usually extends beyond the face, and may affect the entire back, chest, shoulders, and upper arms. The infection is deep and widespread. 

Grade IV acne must be treated by a dermatologist. It tends to be hard to control, and almost always requires powerful systemic medications in addition to topical treatments.


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