Acne Treatment – One Size Does Not Fit All

One of the most distressing experiences that acne patients face is the tendency of many doctors to treat every acne patient the same using the same acne treatment every time. It’s very common for busy doctors to prescribe the very same acne treatment to every patient. This occurs for different reasons including the tendency for doctors to become comfortable with certain medications as well as the efficiency achieved in busy practices by prescribing the same acne treatment for every patient with acne. Often, busy doctors become comfortable with a particular acne treatment and use it over and over again. Usually doctors become comfortable with various creams and gels as an acne treatment because there is little chance for a side effect and their colleagues are often using the same ones. We commonly see patients at the Advanced Acne Institute that have been given the same acne treatment by multiple doctors even though they have not helped much.

Acne treatment must reflect the differences of each patient

The reality is, however, that every patient with acne is not the same and therefore the acne treatment that is prescribed must take this into account. It’s very important for a doctor to understand each patient’s medical history, factors that may contribute to acne breakouts, family history of acne, medications that may be causing breakouts, etc. It’s equally important when planning an acne treatment to determine the expectations of each patient. Some patients may want an acne treatment that helps just a little while others may be seeking an acne treatment that results in completely clear skin. Some patients may want only a conservative acne treatment while others may want the most aggressive acne treatment options. Some patients may not like topical acne treatment while others may not like to take pills. These are just some of the reasons that acne treatment is different for each patient, but there are many more considerations that make each patient’s acne treatment different.

Not all patients are looking for the same results from an acne treatment

When deciding on an acne treatment at the Advanced Acne Institute we approach each patient as an individual. We take the time to get to know each patient and to understand their concerns and motivations. Only then do we plan the best acne treatment for them. For example, it’s not uncommon to see a patient with severe acne with acne cysts and acne scars who doesn’t wish to use an aggressive acne treatment while a patient with only one or two small acne breakouts may be seeking the strongest acne treatment available. That’s why it’s so important for an acne dermatologist to first understand what each patient wants to achieve before designing an acne treatment regimen. So it’s easy to understand why acne treatment needs to be individualized for each patient in order to achieve a successful outcome.

At the Advanced Acne Institute we see patients with every type of acne breakout yet not everyone with a similar type of acne receives the same treatment. Why? Well, there are many reasons. For example, some people want completely clear skin while others only want a certain degree of improvement. Some people want aggressive treatment while others want only minimal intervention. Some people are not good at using creams and gels while others don’t feel comfortable taking pills. Getting the idea? I could go on and on with many more reasons why acne treatment differs for each patient. The point is that the treatment that’s best for one person is not always the right treatment for someone else, even if they have the same type of acne. This is why it’s so important for an acne dermatologist to work closely with each patient to select treatments that are best suited for each circumstance.

Acne Treatment Options

When I talk to my patients about their treatment options, I often group treatments from mild to aggressive regimens. I do this because I know that each patient has a certain comfort level and expectation for how they want to proceed. So I’ll often see a patient with severe cystic acne with lots of scars yet the patient or the patient’s parent doesn’t want to use an aggressive treatment for one reason or another. Alternatively, I often see patients with very mild acne who want the most aggressive therapy. It’s also very important to take each patient’s medical history into account. This is because certain medical conditions may prevent the use of some medications. Also, if a patient is allergic to a particular medication, an alternative will have to be used.

So you see, acne dermatologists have to adjust acne treatments according to each patient’s individual circumstances. The good news is that we have many different treatments available today so that even if one is not able to be used, there are many others to choose from that may do the job to achieve clear skin.