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How to Treat Acne: Mild to Moderate

February 19, 2024

If you’re wondering how to treat acne, then you’re in the right place. Acne is a common skin condition that affects over half of our patients here at Atalo. Most acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to the development of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Acne can range from mild to moderate to severe, and the treatment options may vary depending on the severity of the condition. 

Here is a guide to understanding the differences between mild acne and moderate acne, as well as the causes and treatments for acne!

By: Alison, Licensed Esthetician


Mild Acne

What is Mild Acne & How is it Caused?

Mild acne is usually characterized by the presence of blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples. Additionally, the skin may have a slightly bumpy texture, and there may be occasional breakouts. Mild acne is often caused by excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria on the skin, hormonal changes, and inflammation. Certain factors such as stress, diet, and genetics can also contribute to the development of mild acne.

How to Treat Mild Acne

  • Over-the-counter products: Mild acne can often be treated with over-the-counter products that contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur. These products help to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and kill bacteria.
  • Gentle skincare routine: Maintaining a regular skincare routine is important for managing mild acne. Equally important is getting facials every 4 weeks, such as a Hydrafacial. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face twice daily, and avoid harsh scrubs or excessive scrubbing that can irritate the skin.
  • Non-comedogenic products: Choose skincare and makeup products that are labeled as non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores.
  • Lifestyle changes: healthy lifestyle can also help improve mild acne. This includes eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels.

Face Reality Acne Bootcamp

We offer an Acne Bootcamp using Face Reality Skincare which is a 12 week program designed to tackle all kinds of acne. Head over to our Face Reality treatment page to learn more!

This is an award-winning program that is both structured and individualized, down to which products to use when and which treatments to have done. It takes the guesswork out of treating your acne.

Moderate Acne

What is Moderate Acne & What Causes it?

Moderate acne is characterized by a higher number of inflamed pimples, papules, and pustules. Also, the skin may appear red and swollen, and breakouts may occur more frequently. Moderate acne is usually caused by a combination of factors, including excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria, hormonal changes, and inflammation. Genetic predisposition and certain medications may also contribute to moderate acne.

How to Treat Moderate Acne

  • Prescription medications: In cases of moderate acne, a dermatologist may prescribe topical medications such as retinoids, antibiotics, or a combination of both. These medications help to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria. Plus, they can also help to promote skin cell turnover.
  • Professional treatments: facials, chemical peels, laser therapy, or extraction of comedones to help improve moderate acne.
  • Skincare routine: Follow a consistent skincare routine using gentle cleansers, non-comedogenic products, and moisturizers suitable for acne-prone skin. Avoid picking or squeezing pimples, as it can lead to scarring and further inflammation.
  • Lifestyle changes: Similar to mild acne, adopting a healthy lifestyle is beneficial for managing moderate acne. Additionally, avoiding excessive sun exposure and protecting the skin with sunscreen is important when using certain acne medications.


Now Sure Where to Start? Schedule a Consult!

It’s important to note that severe acne may require more intensive treatments and medical intervention. If your acne does not improve with over-the-counter treatments or if it is causing significant distress, it is recommended to schedule a consult with one of our nurse practitioners or estheticians for a personalized treatment plan.

Everyone’s skin, beyond talking about how to treat acne, is different. That means no two skincare regimens or treatment plans will look alike. When you sit down with one of our providers, you’ll have your skin assessed using our VISIA Facial Analysis. This allows us to see the whole picture, including any hidden or underlying skin concerns. From there we can give you the most accurate plan and suggest the right products.