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Why to See a Dermatologist About Your Acne

Top Reasons to See a Dermatologist About Acne Treatments

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Updated April 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

While mild cases of acne can be successfully cleared with over the counter medications, sometimes it is best to see your doctor about prescription acne treatments. How do you decide when it's time to contact a dermatologist?

Watch the video: How To Know When To See a Dermatologist About Acne

1. You have never been diagnosed with acne before.

If you suddenly begin to break out in red bumps on the face, upper chest, back, or elsewhere, and you have never before been diagnosed with acne, you should see your doctor. Some other conditions, such as rosacea and folliculitis, look very similar to acne. If you aren't sure, it's a good idea to be evaluated by a professional.

2. Your acne is worsening despite good home care.

If, after careful and consistent treatment at home, your acne isn't improving or seems to be worsening, you should contact your doctor. Your dermatologist may prescribe acne mediations, and will have helpful advice regarding proper acne skin care and home treatment.

3. You have nodules and cystic breakouts.

Nodules and cysts are very severe forms of breakouts and should be evaluated by a dermatologist. These deep blemishes can easily cause scarring, so they should be treated promptly. Even if you don't have cystic breakouts, call your doctor if your skin seems very inflamed or infected.

4. You think your acne may be caused by a medication.

Certain medications, such as steroids and birth control pills, may cause acne. If you are taking any medications and your skin begins breaking out, let your doctor know.

5. You are extremely upset or depressed about your skin.

Do you avoid social situations because of your skin? Do you feel depressed? If you feel like your acne is adversely affecting your life or self-esteem, please talk with your doctor. He or she will have treatment options available that can not only improve your skin, but also help you deal with the feelings of frustration and despair that can come along with acne.

Read more: How To Choose the Right Dermatologist

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