Acne is a common, yet often misunderstood, skin condition. Did you know that Dermatologists classify acne into four grades? The classification system is based on a simple visual inspection of the skin. Knowing the grade of your acne is an important step in treating acne. All acne grades require different treatment methods. The four grades of Acne are described below:
Grade I is the mildest form of acne. There may be a few small whiteheads, blackheads and papules (red pimples) in small number. There is no inflammation in Grade I acne.
Grade II is considered moderate acne. This stage consists of blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules (inflamed papule with white or yellow center containing pus), and redness. They will appear with greater frequency, and general breakout activity will be more obvious. Slight inflammation of the skin is now apparent.
This type of 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. This is the most common grade of acne and has a higher risk of scarring and deep pitting.
The most severe form of acne, Grade IV is often referred to as cystic acne. The skin will display numerous papules, pustules, and nodules, in addition to cysts (a closed sac of fluid/infection under the skin. They are tender, painful and cannot be extracted). 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. Nearly all cystic acne sufferers develop scarring.