I saw a polite, soft-spoken boy this week with severe cystic acne.
“How long have you had acne?” I asked.
“For about two years.”
“Have you been treating it?”
“Yeah. Actually I’ve spent so much money on acne medication that my mother made me get a part time job to start paying for it,” he replied.
He had deep red pitted scars on his face, chest and back. It broke my heart.
If you have severe acne, please listen to me —
- It is not your fault. No amount of pizza (however greasy) or chocolate can cause acne.
- Stop scrubbing. Apricot scrubs, sugar scrubs, or other abrasive treatments will only serve to make it worse. Your acne is not caused by dirt or by being unclean. Hormones, genetics, and trapped bacteria cause acne.
- If you have severe acne, like my patient, then topical treatments such as Proactiv®, and even prescription topical medications such as Retin-A® are not enough.
- Acne can be painful, disfiguring, embarrassing, and permanently scarring. Don’t try to fix it on your own. You need a physician’s help.
There are literally hundreds of companies (many who spam me everyday to get me to mention them here) willing to sell you stuff for your acne. If you have mild acne, most of these products would help. However, if you have severe acne like the patient in the photo, then you need prescription oral medications such as oral antibiotics (doxycycline, tetracycline, or minocycline) or isotretinoin (Accutane® or Sortret®) to treat your acne.
If you are a parent, then please call your child’s pediatrician or dermatologist today for an appointment. Not tomorrow. Today. Adolescence is hard enough; there is absolutely no reason to suffer with severe acne. And no reason to get a second job to pay to fix it.