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Acne - When To Call a Doctor

Call a doctor if:

  • You are concerned about your or your child's acne.
  • Your acne gets worse or does not improve after 3 months with home treatment.
  • You develop scars or marks after acne heals.
  • Your pimples become large and hard or filled with fluid.
  • You start to have other physical symptoms, such as facial hair growth in women.
  • Your acne began when you started a new medicine prescribed by a doctor.
  • You have been exposed to chemicals, oils, or other substances that cause your skin to break out.

You may want to seek medical assistance sooner if there is a strong family history of acne, you are emotionally affected by acne, or you developed acne at an early age.

Acne: Should I See My Doctor?

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If you get better on your own, you won't need treatment. If you get worse, you and your doctor will decide what to do next.

Mild acne, with a few pimples that clear up on their own, may not need any treatment. But if you are worried about how much you are breaking out, see your doctor. Getting medical treatment early may prevent acne from getting worse or from causing scars.

If you have severe acne, if your acne does not clear up with home treatment, or if you develop acne scars, call your doctor.

Who to see

The following health professionals can diagnose and treat acne:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 23, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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