Acne – When to See a Dermatologist

When should you or one of your children seek help for acne from a dermatologist rather than just use drugstore products or see a primary care doctor?  

Dermatologists can always be helpful for acne, but there are certain situations where they are critical in preventing permanent scarring and disfigurement and the lifelong psychological problems that can result.  

If acne is causing indentations (true scarring) when it heals as opposed to just temporary pigment problems, then run, not walk, to a dermatologist.  Also if a parent has had cystic, scarring acne, a child is much more likely to have it. It’s good to get those children into care early with a dermatologist  – usually ages 11-13.  If large sections of the face break out into red pustules or deep cysts, this type of acne is more likely to scar.  Early intervention can make a big difference to the long term outcome.

See Dr. Irwin’s articles on Acne In Depth, Acne and Menopause, Acne Scars and Other Scars, Common Acne Terms.

See Dr. Irwin’s recommended skin care products for acne and oil control.

See Dr. Irwin’s directory of dermatologists in the U.S.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!