Acne – When should you seek help from your doctor

Acne is a common problem usually associated with adolescence, but can affect people of all age groups. According to the Australasian College of Dermatologists, acne affects around 85% of people aged 12-24 years old in Australia, with the peak age for acne being between 14-19 years old.

How do we get rid of acne or better manage it?

Most of us have been there and tried to manage acne ourselves. We go through the process of trying a variety of products, and make lifestyle or diet changes. We also get a myriad of product suggestions from friends to either get rid of acne or help it go away quicker. It can really cause a lot of distress and worry.

So, when should you consider going to the GP to get help and support for this problem?

The simple answer is that it is important to see a GP if the condition is causing significant discomfort, is severe, or is affecting your self-esteem. Acne can be a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment, so seeking medical advice early on can help prevent the condition from worsening (with all those products you are trying).

Here are some signs that you may need to see your GP about your acne

  • Your acne is causing pain or discomfort.
  • You have moderate to severe acne that is not responding to over-the-counter treatments.
  • Your acne is leaving scars or dark marks on your skin.
  • You are experiencing significant emotional distress or embarrassment due to your acne.

A GP can help determine the severity of your acne and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. This may include topical or oral medications, lifestyle changes, and a referral to a dermatologist for more specialized treatment where needed. In some cases, acne may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition (e.g., Polycystic Ovarian Disease or Cushing Disease), so a GP can help rule out other potential causes and provide appropriate treatment.

Acne can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, regardless of their age. If you are experiencing acne, it’s important to seek medical advice to determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation.