Acne can be challenging to treat, especially if you are the only one suffering. You’ve reached the right place if you are ready to make an appointment with a doctor.
This article will discuss the various professional services available to help you manage your acne.
Your healthcare provider might be one who has learned about treating acne as part of their medical training.
Here’s how I can help you determine if that’s the case, and I will show you how to locate a dermatologist specializing in all skin conditions.
You will also receive some tips on how to get the most out of your experience with experts in managing your skin.
In addition, you’ll learn how to handle the initial appointment, paperwork, insurance issues, and prescription refills.
I’ll also tell you what to expect during your treatment and how to build a strong working relationship with your doctor.
The Basic Goals of Treatment
You can visit your primary care provider or a acne specialist to treat your acne. The primary goals of treating your skin are the following:
- To prevent scarring from occurring or remove scarring that may already have happened.
- To reduce acne lesions, pain, and discomfort.
- To make you look better.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your goals. Get an idea of what you can expect from your treatment, what it will cost, and what to do in the event it doesn’t go as planned.
Also, you can get a sense of the worst-case and best-case scenarios. This plan can include seeing a acne specialist or another skin-care proffesional.
Visit Your Primary Healthcare Provider
Your primary care provider (PCP) is the best place to start. because they are often able, if needed, to write prescriptions for medication. They also have more tools than you to help with your acne.
Even if they can’t help you manage your skin, most insurance policies require that your doctor refer you to specialists, such as dermatologists.
Your personal care provider (PCP) may be:
- A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in children.
- A family practitioner is a generalist who sees patients of all ages for routine medical issues.
- An internist is a doctor who is trained to treat adult acne conditions.
A PCP could also be a healthcare specialist, but not a doctor.
- A physician assistant (PA), also known as a physician assistant, is a medical assistant who works under the direction of a doctor. They are interdependent and understand that the physician can be consulted whenever necessary. In most states, PAs can prescribe medicine and treat patients.
- A nurse practitioner (NP), also known as a nurse practitioner, is a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree in advanced nursing practice. Some NPs work independently of physicians, while others work with physicians in a team setting. State laws determine their authority and scope of practice. Some states permit nurse practitioners to write prescriptions. Others don’t.
Some NPs and PAs have specialized training in dermatology. Some PAs and NPs may have more dermatology training than family physicians, internists, or pediatricians.
A physician assistant or nurse practitioner can be a great option. It may reduce the wait time for an appointment with a busy doctor.
The next question is whether your PCP can manage your acne. Asking your PCP is the best way to find out.
Your primary care provider will likely recommend one to two topical treatments for your skin if you decide to work together. You may also be prescribed oral antibiotics to treat acne.
Give the medication a chance to work. Be patient. It can take several weeks or months for topical acne medications to prove their effectiveness.
Remember that medication should only be taken as directed. You should make it a habit to take or apply your acne medications the same way you brush your teeth.
Acne can last for many years, so it is not uncommon for ongoing treatment to be required.
Your PCP may not be able to meet your expectations of improvement in your skin’s condition. You’ve tried all the prescribed medications, creams, and lotions. But your skin isn’t improving. Then a acne specialist is the best option for this situation.
Request a referral to an acne specialist
Your PCP is your best source of information if your health plan requires you to request a referral to a specialist.
If your health plan allows for appointments to be made without the need to have a referral from your doctor, your PCP can still help you find a qualified professional in your area.
Although you can refer to a specialist in many ways, most specialists will only accept referrals for specialized care.
- Your PCP may recommend that you have a dermatology consultation. This means that the specialist will examine you and make recommendations. Then, they will send you back to your PCP to continue treatment. See the sidebar “What’s a consultation?” for more information.
- Your PCP may request that your care for your acne-related issues be continued. Your primary care physician will continue to see you for routine issues such as injuries and illnesses, but your acne will be treated by a specialist.
You should bring or send the medical records from your past care to the dermatology specialist. This will allow her to examine pertinent information such as past treatments and medications.
Find The Right Acne Specialist Near You
Not all acne specialist are created equally. While some acne specialist are highly skilled and have the most up-to-date knowledge to treat your acne, others may be less capable.
Ask your regular PCP to help you find the best person to treat your acne. It might be a good idea to ask your PCP who he would recommend for someone with acne.
A doctor of medicine (DO) or medical doctor (MD) is required for a dermatologist. First, they go to medical school. Then they are enrolled in a residency program to further their training.
They are experts in diagnosing and treating skin diseases (including hair and nails) in children and adults.
A dermatologist can also be trained in one or more of these procedures, depending on their interest and specialty.
- Lasers and other special light delivery devices can be used to treat acne.
- Procedures for corrective resurfacing to reduce acne scarring
- Many cosmetic procedures can improve the appearance of the skin, such as Botox or “filler” injections.
The following two sections will explain how to see an acne specialist and what to do once you are there. From now on, all of these professionals will be referred to as acne specialist.
Once you have compiled a list, contact each to verify that they accept your insurance plan. Ask yourself if your insurance plan covers the doctor.
Check If The Acne Specialist Is AAD Board Certified
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is the largest dermatologic organization in the United States. The website www.aad.org can help you find an acne specialist near you. You can find biographical information on many academy dermatologists.
This includes their education and office hours. They can also confirm if they are accepting your health insurance plan. It also has detailed maps that show how to reach their offices.
The American Academy of Dermatology can be reached at 930 E. Woodfield Road, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4927 or 847-330-0230.
Find out if the acne specialist you are interested in is board-certified. “Certified” refers to a doctor who has completed a dermatology training program and passed an exam (or “board”) that evaluates her ability to provide high-quality patient care in this specialty. This means that the doctor has passed all of the tests and training.
Many dermatologists hold teaching positions in academic centers, such as major hospitals or medical or osteopathy schools. Online research can help you find out about their academic credentials.
How To Prepare To See An Acne Specialist
It doesn’t matter if you are seeing a dermatologist or a physician assistant. You should be prepared for your first visit.
Review your medical history
Review your medical history before you go to your first appointment. It would be best if you were prepared to share any medications you are taking and any medical conditions you may have that could play a role in your acne.
These are some of the things that your acne specialist might want to know.
- Allergies: Are you allergic to any medications?
- Other skin conditions Have you ever had eczema (an allergic reaction to something that has touched your skin that causes itching and inflammation) or contact dermatitis? These conditions can make your skin more sensitive to certain topical treatments.
- Do you use any medications, vitamins, or supplements? Your doctor should know if you have recently ingested it or rubbed it on your skin. The medications you have been using to treat acne should be brought into the exam room. Your acne specialist can read the actual bottles and tubes to help you make informed decisions about the best course of action. Write down the names and dosages of any medications you have, even if you don’t bring the tubes or bottles.
First-Day Visit to See The Acne Specialist
You have your medical history. Here are some additional steps.
Here are some tips to get the most from your first office visit.
- It would help if you arrived 15 minutes early. On your first visit to any healthcare provider, you will be expected to complete a few forms. At a minimum, your name, address, and medical history will be required by your new doctor. Also, you will need to provide information about your current insurance coverage and how you plan to pay for your appointments (such as cash or credit card). You can address these issues if you arrive at the office before your appointment.
- Bring a parent: Minors must bring a parent or guardian. A minor is someone who is under the legal age of consent. This is usually 18 years old. Some procedures and medications require parental consent. Ensure you have a legal guardian or adult present, especially when you first visit.
- If you don’t have insurance coverage, bring your card. You should have at least the name and birth date of any cardholder you carry if you don’t already have one.
- Take off your makeup when you visit an acne specialist. You can expect a thorough examination of your skin.
What An Acne Specialist May Inquire
These are some of my most common first-visit questions regarding acne. They will be asked all or some of these questions. You can ensure you don’t forget any questions and that you and your doctor make the most of your visit by spending a few minutes thinking about these questions.
- What is your most prolonged period of acne?
- Is it a family trait?
- Are there any family members with severe acne scarring?
- What are you doing to your skin every day? For example, how often do you wash it?
- Are you taking or applying for any medication?
- Are you able to pick at lesions?
- What makes it worse? Diet, exercise, medications, stress?
- What have you found helpful? What has been beneficial?
- These old standbys will also be available if you are a woman:
- Is it worse before or during your period?
- Is makeup making it worse?
- Are your periods regular for you?
- Do you use birth control pills? Does it help or hinder your acne?
- Are you noticing unusual hair growth or excess?
Recognize treatment recommendations
Your acne specialist will discuss your concerns with you and perform a physical exam. She will then recommend treatment options that will most likely include medication.
Make sure you have all of your questions answered before leaving the exam room. You can always ask your doctor questions. It is essential to know what you can expect from your treatment and understand its goals.
Make sure you ask:
- What side effects are there from the medication you’re prescribing?
- What is the time it will take for the treatment?
If you are not happy with your treatment or have difficulty communicating with your acne specialist, remember that you can switch.