When to See Your Doctor About Acne

From the WebMD Archives

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Are the pimples sore, or do they leave you with scars?

Cystic acne (inflamed acne caused when the follicle wall is damaged) and nodules, which are painful, under-the-skin masses, are some of the toughest types of acne to treat, especially without the help of a dermatologist.

“If you suffer with more serious forms of acne like cystic acne, over-the-counter treatments will never be enough, and waiting is just delaying the inevitable trip to the dermatologist,” says Derick.

Try to avoid the urge to pick or pop nodules or cystic acne, as this can lead to severe scarring and even permanent skin damage. To reduce inflammation and boost the healing process, your dermatologist may administer a corticosteroid injection directly into the lesions. Then, the doctor will prescribe a regimen appropriate for your skin type, the severity of your acne, and the progression of your scarring.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on April 12, 2011

Sources

SOURCES:

Acne.org.

Amy Derick, MD, dermatologist, Derick Dermatology LLC, Barrington, Ill.

Cunliffe, W. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, October 1999; vol 41: pp 577-580.

Hanna, S. Dermatology Online Journal, 2003; vol 9: p 8.

Kellett. British Journal of Dermatology, February 1999; vol 140: pp 273-282.

Knaggs, H. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, June 2004; vol 26: pp 129-138. Pace, J. Skinmed, March/April 2008; vol 7: pp 61-62.

Paradi Mirmirani, MD, dermatologist, The Permanente Medical Group, Vallejo, Calif. Ranella Hirsch, MD, dermatologist, Skin Care Doctors, Cambridge, Mass.

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