Let’s Talk About Acne

Let's Talk About Acne

Acne is a very common skin condition that many of us have struggled with at some point in our lives. While it is not life threatening, acne can significantly impact a person’s confidence and quality of life and is a topic that deserves some attention.

Types of Acne

Let’s start by discussing the different types of acne lesions because that determines which treatment is right for you.  Acne is classified as Grade 1, 2, 3 or 4, with Grade 1 being the least severe and Grade 4 being the most severe. Grade 1, or comedonal acne, is divided into open and closed comedones. Open comedones are commonly known as blackheads and occur frequently on the nose and chin areas as well on the back. Closed comedones are small skin colored or white acne lesions. The next category of acne lesions falls under the papulopustular designation and is Grade 2 in severity. This includes red and inflamed acne lesions and pus-filled acne lesions known as pustules. Nodulocystic acne (Grades 3 and 4) is the final category and the most difficult to treat. These are deeper and often painful acne lesions that may require oral medications to treat. This type of acne is also the most likely to cause scarring.

Basic Skin Care Principles

Here are a few of my recommendations when caring for acne-prone skin.

  1. Use a very gentle non-soap liquid cleanser to wash your face once daily.  Gentle skin care is important as your skin is already inflamed if you’re dealing with acne. These calming cleansers are easily found over the counter and some common brands are Cetaphil or Aquanil. You need to use the liquid cleanser and not the bar. You should use your fingertips and gently wash your face while being careful not to scrub.
  2. Use an oil free facial moisturizer, with or without sunscreen, at least once daily. This helps to regulate the moisture balance and oil production of your skin.
  3. Do not pick at your face. Picking or squeezing acne lesions can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and/or scarring. Hyperpigmentation is the dark spot that remains after an acne lesion has resolved. It may fade with time, gentle skin care and avoiding sun exposure. Scarring, however, is more difficult to correct and often needs multiple treatments that can be costly and time consuming.

Summer Skin Care

As we get into warmer and sunnier weather, sunscreen is increasingly important.  If you are acne prone, the wrong kind can lead to more acne. An oil free facial sunscreen, however, will not only prevent sun damage, but it will also help the dark spots from previous acne lesions fade.


Marshall Dermatology has many great treatment options for acne, utilizing both topical and oral medication. Please contact us at 304-691-1930.  We are accepting new acne patients and would love to help you achieve your skin care goals. You don’t have to live with acne, and you can have clear skin.


Erin Bateman, PA-C

Erin Bateman is a board-certified physician assistant with Marshall Dermatology. She specializes in adult and pediatric dermatology including the treatment of psoriasis, acne and atopic dermatitis.