Vol.1, No.8

When should you see a doctor about your acne?

For those with acne problems, it is important to know when to consult a doctor in order to prevent permanent, long-term damage to the skin.

Woman looking at acne
Photo Credit: Viktor Kitaykin
Acne is a skin condition that affects almost everyone at some point in his or her life. While many people only deal with the occasional pimple, others have to contend with regular outbreaks that can cause feelings of self-consciousness and misery. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments that can minimize or even eliminate acne problems. For some individuals, however, home treatments are not successful at treating acne and professional help is necessary. It is important to know when you should see a doctor about your acne in order to prevent long-term problems such as scarring or skin discoloration.

Hormones that lead to increased oil production are the main cause of acne. Bacteria then cause the oil to thicken and clog pores. This problem results in pimples and blackheads that are unattractive and can even be quite painful. Before consulting a doctor concerning your acne, try clearing up your skin with home treatments and remedies.

The first step in acne prevention and treatment is to use a good cleanser, washing your face no more than twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. It is important to use a good moisturizer in order to prevent skin from becoming overly dry, which will lead to increased oil production and more pimples. Once you have applied moisturizer, use an over-the-counter medication to treat the problem areas where outbreaks commonly occur. One of the best treatments is benzoyl peroxide lotion, which helps clear up the bacteria that causes acne.

Be cautious to use these treatments in moderation in order to avoid drying out the skin too much. Never squeeze or pick at pimples, which will only spread the acne-causing bacteria to the surrounding area and can lead to permanent scars.

If home treatments do not lead to a reduction in symptoms within two weeks, you should consult a doctor about how to best treat the problem. You should see a doctor if pimples become irritated or inflamed or if the problem worsens due to your home treatment. If either of your parents had severe acne or scarring as a result, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics that will kill the germs and bacteria that cause acne. Another commonly prescribed treatment is medicines that impact hormones amounts, leading to a reduction in the amount of oil the body produces. Your doctor may recommend other topical solutions that are stronger than those you can buy over the counter.

Before deciding on the treatment that is best for you, ask your doctor about the potential side effects of each option. Some hormonal treatments can lead to weight gain or moodiness, while topical solutions can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. If your doctor recommends the drug Accutane, be sure to inquire about the drug's potential for psychiatric side effects such as depression or thoughts of suicide. Carefully watch for potential problems after you begin using a doctor prescribed treatment and be sure to report any undesired or unexpected results.

Acne can be more than just a minor annoyance for many people. Those with severe acne often experience depression, feelings of self-consciousness, and may avoid social situations due to embarrassment over the condition. It is important to take good care of your skin in order to minimize acne, but home treatments may not be effective for everyone. Consult a doctor for advice and treatment if home remedies are not helping, if your acne is worsening, or if you have a family history of severe acne. A professional can offer treatments that will minimize or eliminate the problem. It is vital to treat acne effectively in order to prevent long-term damage such as skin discoloration and scarring.