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Advice
Advice 2 min

Last Updated Dec 20, 2023

How do I know when it is time to see a doctor for my acne?

Author
|
Board-Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Muneeb Shah

If you are experiencing painful breakouts, acne scarring, or if your acne is not improving with over-the-counter products, you should see a board-certified dermatologist immediately.

Mild acne can often be treated effectively with over-the-counter products that contain ingredients like adapalene, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. There are a few instances where seeing a dermatologist immediately is an emergency: 

  • If you have severe or nodulocystic form of  acne 
  • If your acne is causing scarring
  • If you are developing fevers or joint pain with your acne flares

There are other instances where seeing a dermatologist is important but not an emergency: 

  • Your acne is not improving despite over-the-counter treatments
  • Your acne is affecting the quality of your life
  • You’re unsure of the diagnosis - many red bumps on the face are not acne!

With all forms of acne, it’s important not to lose hope. Dermatologists have many treatments in the office to treat and even cure acne. Look for a board-certified dermatologist here

Doctor's Note

Emergently see a dermatologist if you have:

Severe acne

Painful acne

Scarring acne

Fevers / joint pains with your acne flares. 

You can find a board-certified dermatologist here.

The Research

Acne vulgaris: What's new in our 40th year. PMID 31859048

Dr. Muneeb Shah

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Muneeb Shah headshot

Dr. Muneeb Shah

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Muneeb Shah is a double Board-Certified Dermatologist and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgeon in Hudson Yards, New York. He is passionate about educating the public on common skin issues and has accrued a following of 21+ million across his social media platforms on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Location: New York City, NY

Doctor's Note

Emergently see a dermatologist if you have:

Severe acne

Painful acne

Scarring acne

Fevers / joint pains with your acne flares. 

You can find a board-certified dermatologist here.

The Research

Acne vulgaris: What's new in our 40th year. PMID 31859048

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