Having acne is not the end of the world. But for many people, it can cause self-esteem issues and sometimes even mental health problems. However, just like with any other medical condition, you may need professional help to treat your acne problem.
Going to a doctor about your acne can be scary, not to mention expensive. So, how do you know if it’s time to see a professional about your skin? Here are some signs that may indicate that you should go to a dermatologist.
You are an adult
Hormonal acne that is common in teens goes away over time. For some people, it can persist into their early 20s, then goes away later on. But if you are already in your mid to late 20s or beyond and still have acne, it may be time to see a dermatologist to determine what treatments for your skin are needed to finally solve the problem.
For adults, the leading causes of acne are:
- Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, changing birth control pills, menopause, etc.
- Excessive stress
- Skin and hair products that tend to clog pores
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Medications that cause acne as a side effect
- You have cystic acne
Cystic acne occurs when bacteria causes inflammation in the deep layers of the skin, forming large cysts that are filled with pus and fluid. These bumps cause deep redness in the face and can be very painful. When they pop, they may cause deep, permanent scarring in the skin.
Cystic acne may improve with age, but it won’t go away on its own. If you suspect that you have cystic acne (it can be quite easy to tell by the way your pimples look), talk to a dermatologist as soon as possible. Since cystic acne is quite severe, over-the-counter medications are not strong enough. As such, your doctor will likely prescribe specific treatments like isotretinoin (Accutane), topical retinoids, and oral antibiotics, among others. Depending on the severity of your acne, you may have to go through a combination of these treatments.
Over-the-counter treatments have stopped working
Certain types of acne go away with over-the-counter treatments and skincare products like creams, cleansers, and gels. If they stop working after some time or are not working as effectively as before, your case may require the help of a dermatologist.
Furthermore, if you have been trying to fix your acne with over-the-counter treatments and see no improvements after six weeks, it’s time to go to a professional for help.
It’s taking a toll on your mental health
For many people, acne can be a major cause of poor self-esteem, poor body image, and self-rejection. This can make it difficult to socialize with other people, partake in sports, speak in front of others, and do anything else involving being in the presence of other people. As a result, people with acne are susceptible to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, both for teens and adults.
If this is the case for you, it’s a clear sign that you should go to a dermatologist for treatment. While mental health is a different issue in and of itself, addressing the root of your problem is the first step to improving your self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem.
You’re always in pain
Severe types of acne, such as cystic acne, can be painful, especially when sleeping. It can even hinder you from certain activities like playing sports or swimming to avoid pain in case your face experiences excess pressure or impact. If your acne is constantly causing you pain, you may already need help from a medical professional.
You are experiencing breakouts for the first time
If your skin has always been clear and you’re suddenly experiencing severe breakouts, see a dermatologist as soon as possible—especially if you are an adult. While mild breakouts are usually not a cause for concern, moderate to severe breakouts can lead to permanent scarring. Furthermore, you may have an underlying medical condition that needs medical attention ASAP.
Your pimples leave deep scars
Severe acne can leave permanent and deep scarring on your skin. As soon as you notice your pimples leaving noticeable scars after they heal, talk to a dermatologist to get to the root of the problem.
Acne can be a difficult condition to treat, especially when it is severe. That said, it is best to seek help from a dermatologist if one or more of these signs apply to you, especially if your acne is keeping you from living life to the fullest.
Meta title: Signs that It’s Time to Go to a Doctor for Your Acne
meta desc: In some cases, acne won’t go away with simple treatments. Know if it’s time to seek professional help for your skin or if you can manage the problem at home.