How Will a Dermatologist Help with My Acne Problem?

Dermatologist applying acne treatment How Will a Dermatologist Help with My Acne Problem?

Acne is a bothersome skin condition, but it’s not something most people feel warrants an appointment with a dermatologist. Unsurprisingly, most dermatologists disagree. Acne is a highly treatable condition that doesn’t need to run your life, and a dermatologist has many tools they can use to help.

How Dermatologists Help Acne

Topical and Oral Medications

When you think about acne treatments, chances are topical solutions that can be purchased over the counter come to mind. While many of these products contain useful ingredients for fighting acne, they aren't usually powerful enough to help against anything but the mildest breakouts. Many of the ingredients you'll see in anti-acne medication are acids. Compounds like salicylic or azelaic acid are used in many acne medications. These acids do two major things to help prevent acne: they break down and dissolve dead skin cells, and they neutralize sebum. Both of these factors, sebum (oil that the skin produces) and dead skin cells, are the main factors in clogging pores. Prescription strength facial acids are higher in potency and can better eliminate excess oil and dead skin.

Another common course of treatment is a two-pronged approach that uses a topical antibiotic and benzoyl peroxide. Antibiotics are prescribed for moderate to severe acne and only for a short amount of time. Antibiotics can eliminate harmful bacteria on the surface of the skin that contribute to acne, inflammation, and redness. Benzoyl peroxide works to counteract any antibiotic resistance the bacteria may develop. In tandem, these drugs can help clear up major breakouts.

The big guns for acne are retinoids, which are prescribed both topically and orally. The most potent and often-prescribed retinoid is isotretinoin, or accutane. This drug works to suppress the skin’s production of oil. Since acne is formed in clogged oil glands, drastically slowing the production of oil can help treat severe acne.

Peels and Facials

Other in-office treatments are available to help supplement prescription-strength acne treatment. A dermatologist has many different tools at their disposal for treating acne, and many of them can be done in an office setting. A good first response to acne may be a simple one. An acne facial follows the trajectory of a standard spa facial with some special considerations made for treating pimples. While only useful against minor breakouts, an acne facial can be very helpful in a pinch at reducing the appearance of acne.

A chemical peel is another way your dermatologist can address mild to moderate acne. Think of a chemical peel like a more intense facial. Instead of simply cleansing and exfoliating, a chemical peel uses an acid like salicylic or glycolic acid to damage the topmost layers of the skin. It may sound scary, but it’s not – and the results speak for themselves. Clearing dead skin and the problematic layers of oily skin can work wonders for acne. While results aren’t immediate, they can be impressive, especially when paired with a prescription regimen.


Acne is not something anybody should contend with alone. Reach out to the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates for professional acne treatment.

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