Note : This is not a complaint or a rant about any or all dermatologists. This is just my personal experience with dermatologists about my acne ONLY.
As someone who has seen their share of dermatologists for acne, I think it’s only fair for me to say that not one of them helped me. Their treatment for acne was the same, whether I was 14 or I was 34. If I had had some guidance in my early twenties about proper diet and skin care I would not have fought acne well into my 30’s.
I have had a lot of problems with the skin on my face, which I’m really happy to say I have resolved on my own. My experience with dermatologists started when I was really young. If I remember right I was 8 or 9 years old and I used to get white patches on my face. These patches had come and gone throughout my childhood. Various doctors gave me topical ointments and steroids for these patches which did not work. Imagine that, steroids for a 9-year-old. I was then taken to a top dermatologist who was visiting the city for a few days. I still remember he set up his temporary office in the front room of this huge old house. You had to walk up about 30 steps from the road to reach the front door of the house.
His had placed a desk near one of the huge windows in the room. Anyway, after listening to what my Mom told him, he went on to tell her how I should avoid wheat, milk, rice, tomatoes, brinjals, spinach and the list went on. I remember these 6 only for some reason. The problem I see today with telling people to avoid a huge list of foods is that you’re not telling them how to do it, why you’re telling them to do it and what to eat instead. Add to the fact that I was 9 and the list he gave were things we ate on a daily basis, you can bet the diet was never followed even for a day.
Maybe he wanted to check if I was allergic to anything, but the list of what I remember were really random things. Next, if I did somehow avoid all the foods he told me to and my patches cleared I had no way of knowing which food I was allergic to. So what was I supposed to do? Avoid all those foods forever? Not to sound like a smarty pants, but I cured those white patches on my own. How? By drinking an extra glass of milk and eating a lot of spinach. Coincidentally, these 2 foods were on the list that I was told to avoid. So basically those white patches were a calcium deficiency.
When I was 14 my acne started. A physician I was seeing for a cold, prescribed a vitamin A supplement for my acne. She told me it would make my skin clear. After taking it for 6 months and seeing no results I stopped. Throughout my teens and twenties, all the doctors I saw for my acne gave me antibiotics and topical creams like Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic acid, Retin-A, topical Isotretinoin. All these big sounding medications lost the battle with my acne. My acne did not decrease while the redness and painfully dry irritated skin increased. I strongly believe that my skin got sensitive after all these treatments.
Fast forward to a few years back. I started going to a skin clinic for my acne. The reason I went was that I assumed they would combine skin care along with treatment for acne. I thought I would cure my acne and make my skin great. Finally!! All I got was a dermatologist who was little friendlier than normal but the treatment remained the same – antibiotics and topical ointments!! I was told I needed a few peels and then laser sessions. All through these peels, my acne was active and more acne kept forming. They never stopped. As I grew older they got bigger, red and painful. They moved from my cheeks and forehead to around my mouth, chin, between my eyebrows, places where I had never had acne before. Basically, I knew I was losing my battle with acne.
If you are 25 and have had the same experience as I have, why don’t dermatologists help? First, they have no idea what is causing your particular acne? Sure they know how the actual acne pustule is formed, i.e the pore getting clogged etc. but the factors leading up to this are a mystery to them. Before the actual acne appears on your face a lot of things have been going on in your body. Maybe your body is in a state of inflammation, maybe your hormones are imbalanced. None of this is taken in effect by them while trying to cure your acne. No advice is given on diet or basic skin care.
Dermatologists know acne, but they do not know skin care. More often than not the prescribed medication for acne leaves the skin worse. The medication deals with acne superficially. Antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause acne and topical ointments try and do the same. However, these bacteria alone do not cause acne.
I wasted precious time trying to find that perfect dermatologist or skin clinic who would have the answer and cure for my acne. However, I never found them. What I found was that my skin was getting worse. Because I took so many antibiotics my acne got worse and turned cystic. At one time my whole face was covered with cystic acne. These left horribly indented scars which even today are difficult to get rid of. If I had just dealt with my acne on my own my skin would have been much better. Eventually, I found out what caused my acne and few ways to deal with it.
Also, acne goes way beyond being a physical problem. Acne affects people mentally just as bad. Any treatment for acne needs to take this into account. The person suffering from acne needs to be listened to. and be assured that her acne will be cured, one way or the other.
What I hope that is acne sufferers will realise that there are other options out there besides medications, which sometimes only make the problem worse. Don’t get me wrong, if dermatologists have or are helping your skin heal then great. Otherwise, you’re better off looking elsewhere and making changes in your life that work with your body to heal the acne.
Have you ever had any experience, good or bad, with a dermatologist with regards to acne? Comment and tell me.