Sometimes referred to as: pimples, cystic acne

Interview between:

  • Jamila Schwartz, MD

  • Jimmy Chen, MD

Acne is a skin condition caused by a blocked pore, leading to skin blemishes such as blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules. There can sometimes be associated inflammation, which results in redness and irritation.

Clinicians evaluate cases of acne based on two factors: lesion type and severity. Acne lesions most often occur in areas where there are more sebaceous (oil) glands, including the face, neck, chest, and back.

Cases Per Year (US)

Acne is the most commonly reported skin condition, with approximately 50 million people affected per year.

General Frequency

About 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience some form of acne.


Low, however untreated acne can lead to scarring—and with so many effective treatments available, patients often feel much better, in terms of self esteem, when treated.



What are the different types of acne?

Non-inflammatory acne is more mild. It causes whiteheads (closed blocked pores) and blackheads (open blocked pores), but not redness or swelling.

Inflammatory acne occurs, as the name implies, when there is some degree of inflammation. It can be further broken down into two categories: mild-to-moderate and moderate-to-severe.

What is considered severe acne?

Cystic acne is a severe type of inflammatory acne resulting in the formation of often-painful cysts. This type of acne can result in more long-term issues with scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Does it matter what type of acne people have in terms of prognosis or treatment selection?

Virtually all cases of acne are treatable. Non-inflammatory acne responds well to over-the-counter treatments and retinoids, which work by preventing the formation of lesions. Retinoids also have some anti-inflammatory properties, so they function well when combined with other medications for inflammatory acne.

Mild-to-moderate types of acne also typically respond well to retinoids, as well as to benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics. Moderate-to-severe and severe acne cases may require oral antibiotics and other treatments.






Prevention & Maintenance

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Jamila Schwartz, MD and Jimmy Chen, MD are both members of the Galileo Clinical Team. Connect with one of our physicians about Acne or any of the many other conditions we treat.

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