If you've been struggling with acne for months or even years, it may be time to get help from a doctor or dermatologist.
But many people with acne get frustrated with the medical advice they receive. Appointments are short and doctors don't always offer offer many suggestions beyond than the drugs they prescribe.
To get the most out of your visit, it helps to show up prepared. While the drugs your doctor can give you access to are important, you can also ask him or her for advice in coordinating the non-prescritpion products you use to battle acne. Here's how.
Spend a few extra minutes in the mirror one morning and really get down to your skin’s issues: Are blemishes cropping up in certain areas on your face more than others? Do breakouts happen regularly or during certain times of the month? Take note of any patterns and be as specific as possible.
Dermatologists are a library of information about acne, but they’re not always an open book. Take written notes of all your questions and bring them with you to ensure you don’t forget in the moment. If you don’t inquire, they may assume you don’t have any other questions and send you on your way, prescription in hand.
Doctors approach care from a medical perspective. They like reliable studies where results are based on solid, consistent research. While you don't need to bring a clipboard, test tubes and beakers into to bathroom, in the weeks before your appointment, it's not difficult to make your skincare routine more systematic. Stick to a good habits consistently and track any changes so you can share a full report to your doctor. He or she will not only be impressed, but will also be better prepared to address your needs.
While you may feel embarrassed about your skincare history and product use, now's the time to get honest. It will help determine the best possible treatment for your acne. And don’t come empty handed: gather up all the products you use and bring them to the appointment. Cart along favorites, as well as those you’ve cast off, so your doctor can peek at all the ingredients.
While you're writing things down, show your doctor what products you use in the morning, and which ones you use at night. If he or she prescribes topical medications, like Retin-A or antibiotics, ask when you should use them—and how to incorporate them with other products you may use.
Be sure to tell the dermatologist your goals for both your skin and your overall health. Give the doctor some insight into your lifestyle, like exercise and sleeping habits, stress levels, and diet—all of which can impact your treatment plan and its probability of success.