Mild or severe acne? Spot the difference

Mild or severe acne? Spot the difference
Mild or severe acne? Spot the difference

We’re all different, the consequence of different genetics, environments, diets, lifestyles and many other physiological and psychological factors. Naturally then, our skin types differ and so do our skin issues. So while you and your friend might both suffer from acne, the actual type of acne would be quite different. It will also be different at different life stages. So the first thing to be aware of is that there are many varieties of acne depending on type, stage and severity.

Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Let’s see if we can try and de-bunk some myths and make the process of acne-identification a bit easier for everyone.

Symptoms of mild acne

It’s safe to say that if your breakouts don’t happen very often and when they do, if they seem minor, you probably suffer from mild acne. So you might come across some blackheads and spots every once in a while, but they’re not constant and they’re certainly not hugely inflamed all the time. This is good news as it’s very common and happens to more people than you might realise. So that immaculate colleague with the beautiful complexion who always looks like she’s stepped straight out of the pages of a magazine spread? Yes, she’s probably had mild acne too. Mild acne can be treated with skincare that targets the symptoms of acne-prone skin that go to work quickly to unclog pores and control excess oil production.

The NHS recommends that you do not wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day. Frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse. You could wash the affected area with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water instead of very hot or cold water which can make acne worse. Also, do try not to "clean out" blackheads or squeeze spots. This can make them worse and cause permanent scarring. You are also advised to avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics. So while reading this article if you’ve identified yourself as a mild acne skin type, please breathe easy in the knowledge that it can and will be cured.  

Symptoms of severe acne

There is of course, another group of people who fall under the severe acne skin type. Again, a common sense approach makes it easy to identify this skin type as the blemishes are large, red and swollen. This is a more complicated problem and can cause severe psychological distress because it’s difficult to conceal with make-up alone and can even stand in the way of your confidence and self-esteem levels.

But there is honestly no need to despair, because a visit to the dermatologist could really help. Don’t put that off, as severe acne cannot be treated just with cosmetic products and recommendations by friends and family. It needs a prescription and a skincare routine that complements the medicine with ingredients that target acne symptoms specifically. It might need a bit of patience and discipline, but severe acne can definitely be managed over time.

Acne is a common problem, but it can definitely be controlled.
So take a good long look at the mirror, smile at yourself and step out into the world knowing that acne or not, you can look great and feel confident.


This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting a new regime or course of conduct.