If acne is more than just a passing annoyance of your youth, then chances are you’ve gone to a dermatologist for a solution. He or she probably spent five minutes with you in their office, wrote you a prescription and sent you on your way.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that didn’t work out so well for you.
I’m not about to bash dermatologists. They have to complete just as much medical education as any other doctor, and thoroughly understand a vast range of skin conditions. They are usually very intelligent and strive to do the best they can. They are very helpful for a lot of people. But for many of us, they are not. When the drugs that they prescribe fail to work, they have little more to offer you than a shrug.
It’s not their fault. Their profession just seems to only arm them with a few options to treat acne.
I’m hoping that medical treatment of acne will soon catch up with the latest research, but until then, it’s helpful to educate yourself with things your dermatologist isn’t telling you.
1. Antibiotics aren’t the best option
For many years now, one of the first things a dermatologist has prescribed for acne are antibiotics to kill bacteria. The problem with this is that acne isn’t really about bacteria. It’s involved, yes, but not as much of a factor as once believed. And treating acne with antibiotics, either topically or internally, can sometimes backfire. Bacteria can build up resistance to antibiotics, and if taken internally, these drugs also kill the beneficial bacteria living in your intestines, possibly leading to other inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.
2. Topical products can only do so much
Acne doesn’t usually start at the surface of your skin, so treating it there isn’t necessarily going to work. Not that products are useless, but a pimple often starts with inflammation and oil oxidation deep within the pore. Most topical products prescribed by dermatologists are meant to either kill bacteria, or help with skin cell turnover. We’ve already talked about antibiotics and bacteria. As for the other products, they may help somewhat, but it doesn’t address the root problem. Which leads to number three…
3. It’s about more than just your skin
I tell my clients all the time, acne is a symptom, it’s not the actual problem. Unfortunately, very few dermatologists treat it that way. They treat the check engine light, while I think it helps to look under the hood. Many things can contribute to the acne process such as diet, stress and emotional distress. You’re not likely to sit down with a dermatologist long enough to go over any of those factors.
If you’ve been struggling with acne, it can be worthwhile to visit your dermatologist, but understand they may not have all the answers for you. Widen your search, and keep the three things above in mind.