“Will my skin ever recover from acne?” It’s a question countless people ask themselves and their doctors. Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S., and while it’s not life-threatening, it can take a serious toll on one’s well-being. Severe acne is particularly pernicious, as it can be difficult to manage and has a propensity to leave permanent scars in its wake. Those suffering from severe acne can endure a major blow to their self-esteem, hindering their relationships, careers, and overall mental health. After struggling with this condition long enough, some individuals claim that acne has ruined their life, and they feel as though they are out of options.
The good news is that even the most severe cases of acne can be treated and in many cases controlled to great effect. The key is finding which treatments, therapies, and lifestyle adjustments work best for your skin.
If your acne is aggressive, your first order of business should be to visit a trusted dermatologist. Sure, you already know you have acne, but a dermatologist can help you discover the root causes of your skin condition, which is key for determining how to get rid of acne. Your doctor will ask you questions about your lifestyle, any medications you’re taking, and so on. They might also conduct skin tests and help remove whiteheads and blackheads while you’re there. Once your dermatologist has examined your skin, they will recommend treatments for your type of acne and scarring. After following this treatment protocol, attend a follow-up visit to check your progress. Depending on the treatment’s effectiveness, your dermatologist might make adjustments or have you try something else. Over time, you and your doctor will find the right regimen for your acne.
Talking to your dermatologist will give you an idea of what acne treatments are out there and which ones might work best for you. That said, it’s worth doing some of your own research as well. While you shouldn’t embark on any significant treatment protocols or therapies without first speaking with your dermatologist, knowing about different potential solutions can give you peace of mind (you can also discuss all of these options with your doctor the next time you see them). Acne treatments include benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, antibiotics (to control acne-related infections), salycilic acid, hormone-adjusting medications (e.g., anti-androgens, contraceptives), and more. Certain cosmetic therapies, whether on their own or combined with treatments, can also mitigate acne and fade acne scars. These therapies include chemical peels, drainage and extraction, light/laser therapy, clinical facials, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, and more.
Regardless of how well treatments and therapies work to keep your acne in check, there are things you can do each and every day to prevent and control acne as well. While more research needs to be done regarding the connection between diet and acne, high glycemic foods, processed meats, and dairy products may exacerbate acne in some people. Switching to a more plant-based diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins might reduce your breakouts. Getting enough sleep every night can also benefit your skin and your overall well-being. Maintaining good hygiene is also important, so be sure to shower or bathe daily and use soaps that don’t irritate your skin. On that note, developing and sticking with an optimal skin care routine (e.g., cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, etc.) can minimize acne, too.
Acne is an outward problem, but its worst effects are often felt on the inside. Indeed, if you feel that acne is ruining your life, the best remedy might be to talk to a mental health professional. While therapy won’t get rid of your acne, a licensed therapist can help you put matters into perspective and discover issues you might not have been aware of. Moreover, improving your mental health will reduce your stress levels, which can actually have a tangible, positive effect on your skin.
Our physical and mental health are closely connected. The more we can do to improve one, the more the other benefits. So, if acne is taking an awful toll on your life, focusing on both your skin’s health and emotional well-being will produce the best outcomes. At Premier Dermatology Partners, our goal is to help all patients find solutions for their skin that help them achieve happier, healthier lives. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.