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    Many teens get pimples. Most cases can be handled without a prescription. 

    But some cases of teen acne do need to be seen by a doctor. How can you tell the difference between mild teen acne and something more serious that would benefit from a doctor's help?

    Teen Acne Symptoms: 5 Signs to See the Doctor

    1. The acne is severe. A dermatologist can help get this under control.
    2. Over-the-counter treatments aren’t clearing up the acne. If a couple of months of over-the-counter (nonprescription) treatment, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid, haven’t helped, it’s time to see an expert.
    3. The acne appeared after starting a medication. Some medications for anxiety, depression, and other conditions can result in acne or similar symptoms. A doctor can come up with a substitute. 
    4. Scarring. Get treatment before more damage is done. Once the acne is under control, dermatologists have treatments for the acne scars.
    5. Acne is affecting self-esteem. Having clearer skin could ease embarrassment and self-consciousness related to acne.

    Teen Acne: Seeing the Doctor

    Which doctor should you see? You can start by seeing a pediatrician or the family doctor. Or you could go right to a dermatologist.

    The doctor will probably want some information from you, such as:

    • When the acne started
    • Has the acne remained more or less constant or worsened?
    • What treatments you’ve tried and how well they’ve worked
    • Whether the acne is affecting self-image or social behavior

    You should also bring a list of any medications or supplements that you're taking. 

    Be prepared to ask some questions, too. Good questions include:

    • Can the acne be managed with over-the-counter treatments? What do you recommend?
    • Will any changes in behavior help prevent or clear acne?
    • What’s the best way to cleanse and take care of skin?
    • What can be done to make acne scars less likely?
    • Can you recommend a type of makeup for covering up acne?

    If the doctor recommends a prescription cream or acne medicine, you should ask:

    • What is the name of this medicine and why are you recommending it?
    • What are the side effects?
    • How should this medicine be used?
    • How long will it be needed?
    • How soon should we expect results from this treatment?
    • When should we schedule a follow-up appointment?