People see dermatologists for lots of reasons, but one of the most common conditions that dermatologists treat is acne.
Acne is a condition wherein the pores of the skin become blocked by sebum, bacteria, hair, and dead skin cells, thereby producing blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, and other kinds of pimples. It is a common skin condition that can affect people of all ages but are most common among teens and young adults.
Mild cases of acne go away with commercially available skin care products and over-the-counter treatments. However, severe acne is a different story. In most cases of severe or stubborn acne, working with a trusted dermatologist is necessary to treat the condition.
How do you know if it’s time to go to a dermatologist? Well, here are some signs that you should look out for:
1. Your skincare products aren’t working
Usually, people with mild acne have a better chance of treating their skin with commercially available skin care products and acne treatments. However, even people with severe acne can reduce their pimples by using over-the-counter products. But whether your acne is mild or severe, using skincare products is not a fool-proof way to get rid of or prevent acne.
If your skincare products don’t seem to be working no matter how many you try or how much you use, it’s a clear sign that the active ingredients in over-the-counter products aren’t suitable for you. Either that—or your skincare products could be making your acne worse.
Furthermore, you may need medication to cure your acne aside from topical products, and a dermatologist can help with that.
2. The pimples are sore and leave scars
If the pimples are painful and leave scars when they heal, you may have cystic acne. Compared to regular acne wherein pimples are smaller, cystic acne involves deep masses under the skin, which are called nodules or sebaceous cysts. It is harder to treat and takes longer to go away, especially if you don’t enlist the help of a dermatologist.
Over-the-counter treatments are generally ineffective against cystic acne, which means going a dermatologist is likely inevitable. That said, don’t prolong your visit any longer—the earlier you start treatment, the more scarring and skin damage you can prevent from occurring.
What can you expect when you go to a dermatologist for cystic acne? In general, cystic acne requires aggressive treatment. Your dermatologist may inject a corticosteroid into the lesions to reduce inflammation and catalyze the healing process. Oftentimes, they will also prescribe medication depending on the severity of your acne and your skin type, among other factors.
3. It’s taking a toll on your mental health
Acne, especially when severe, can make a huge impact on one’s mental health. Although acne is a very common skin condition, many still perceive it as an undesirable trait. As a result, it is not uncommon for people with acne to feel depressed, insecure, or upset because of it.
If acne is starting to affect your mental health, it may be the right time to see a dermatologist that can help you deal with your acne in a healthy and efficient way.
4. Acne is affecting your social life
Going off from the prior section, the self-esteem issues that acne can cause can directly affect your social life. For instance, you may cancel dates or skip going out with friends because of a breakout. Or you may feel embarrassed to meet someone in person because you are afraid of what they might think. In any case, it’s not a good idea to let these feelings persist. See a dermatologist as soon as you can.
5. Your parents had severe acne and/or scarring
If one or both of your parents had or have severe acne and/or scarring, you may have a bigger disposition to developing acne. So, even if your acne is only mild now, going to a dermatologist can help reduce your risk of developing severe acne later in life.
6. You have scarring
Popping your pimples may provide a temporary fix to breakouts—but doing so increases your chances of scarring. If you have already started to develop scarring on your skin, it’s high time to visit a dermatologist to find out how you can prevent any more scars from appearing on your skin. And more importantly, do not—under any circumstances—pop a zit. Instead, let it pop by itself and heal over time.
Acne is more than just skin-deep; it can also lead to a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional issues for many people. If it has already started to affect other aspects of your life, it’s time to go to a dermatologist for help.