When To See A Dermatologist For Acne

Should I See a Dermatologist for Acne?

If you have already tried a lot of acne products and do not have clear skin, what should you do next? If you are asking yourself- “Do dermatologists actually help with acne?”- yes they do! Dermatologists are the best doctors to treat acne. You see, dermatologists are physicians that are trained on all skin diseases and are therefore acne specialists. Dermatology doctors can guide you towards the best acne treatments and help prevent you from wasting time and money on the wrong skin care products. Often your insurance will cover the office visit and much of the prescription costs. So --if you have acne that won’t go away, and you have tried everything- make sure you see a dermatologist for acne medications.

Whether your acne is mild, moderate, or severe, your dermatologist can recommend skin care products and prescriptions to help clear your skin faster. You can find a dermatologist near you that specializes in acne treatments here or by visiting the American Academy of Dermatology for a list of board-certified dermatologists near you.

You can also take our acne skincare routine quiz and get advice from dermatologists like me on how to treat your acne.It helps us give you acne advice if we know which Baumann Skin Type you are.

How to Find an Acne Specialist Near Me?

To find an acne specialists and get a customized acne skin care regimen from one of our acne specialists, click here.

Even though dermatologists are usually your best bet for skin care concerns, many other kinds of doctors, aestheticians, and more can be extremely helpful in managing acne concerns.


Can a Family Doctor Treat Acne?

A family doctor can write prescription for acne medications, but unless they have been specially trained on skincare, they are not experts on treating acne. Dermatologists and medical providers that have been specially trained by Skin Type Solutions are the best acne specialists.

Can a Pediatrician Treat Acne?

Pediatricians are not acne specialists, but they can prescribe basic acne medications. If you want to find a doctor who is an expert on skin care, visit https://skintypesolutions.com/find

What Can a Dermatologist Do for Acne?

What dermatologists use to treat mild acne?

Mild acne can be treated with acne cleansers, benzoyl peroxide, antibacterial washes and retinoids. These should be chosen based upon your Baumann Skin Type. Some dermatologists have a laser such as the VBeam vascular laser by candela that can be used to decrease the inflammation in a pimple and make it go away faster. Red light treatments will also help reduce pink pimples.

What do dermatologists use to treat moderate acne?

If your acne is uncontrolled and will not go away with topical creams, cleansers and medications, your dermatologist may choose to prescribe oral antibiotics or blue light treatments. In some cases, acne facials and facial extractions are used to clear blackheads and whiteheads. New topical medications are also used. Click here to learn more about what dermatologists prescribe to treat acne. Large nodules or cystic acne can be treated with steroid injections. These are commonly referred to as “Kenalog” injections because Kenalog is the medication in injections that most dermatologists use to treat acne pimples.

What do dermatologists use to treat severe acne?

Severe acne is characterized by many hard nodules and papules (bumps) and cysts. Severe acne is more likely to scar, therefore severe cystic acne is best treated by a dermatologist because prescription acne medications are the strongest acne treatments. Prescription retinoids, antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide treatments are the best acne treatments for severe acne. There are very effective acne pills such as Accutane that you can discuss with your doctor. Accutane is an oral form of retinoids that can lead to an acne cure if the proper dose is used for the correct amount of time.

What Would a Dermatologist Prescribe for Acne?

There are many different acne prescription products that your dermatologist might prescribe. Your doctor will choose what to prescribe for acne depending upon your Baumann Skin Type and how severe your acne is. Here are some types of medications that your acne specialist will prescribe include:

Topical antibiotics:


-This is not used very often anymore because the bacteria that causes acne is often resistant to erythromycin.


 This is found alone or mixed with a retinoid such as tretinoin. Many strains of the bacteria that causes acne (<i>C. acnes)</i> are resistant to Clindamycin.

Aczone (Dapsone)

Contains an antibiotic called dapsone that helps prevent pimples and the redness of the skin caused by acne.

Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is often combined with clindamycin in acne prescription medications.  Benzoyl peroxide kill acne causing bacteria but can irritate dry skin, speeds skin aging by causing free radicals and can break down into benzene.  In spite of these negatives, benzoyl peroxide is very effective at killing acne bacteria and is still one of the most popular treatments for acne.

Oral antibiotics:

The tetracycline family of antibiotics are the most commonly used antibiotics to treat acne. These go by many names such as minocycline and doxycycline. Sarecycline is a new antibiotic used to treat acne. These oral antibiotics can disrupt the microbiome so it is best not to take oral antibiotics unless you have moderate or severe acne.


Retinoids are one of the best treatments for acne. You can learn more about retinoids here. The oral acne pill called Accutane is a retinoid. The generic name is isotretinoin. Topical prescription retinoid include tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene and trifarotene.

Medications That Affect Hormones Used to Treat Acne

Oral contraceptives are used to treat acne in patients with polycystic ovarian disease or acne caused by hormones. Spironolactone is an oral medication used for acne because it blocks testosterone which can cause acne in patients with polycystic ovarian disease or increased testosterone levels. A new topical medication for acne used to block testosterone is Winlevi® (Clascoterone).

use a custom acne skin care routine

To learn more about how acne is treated and how your dermatologist decides what medications to prescribe for acne, go to this link.

It is very important that you use acne treatments that work and use an entire acne skin care routine customized for your unique skin type. Take the quiz to learn your skin type and find the best acne skincare routine for your skin.


1. Hebert, A., Thiboutot, D., Gold, L. S., Cartwright, M., Gerloni, M., Fragasso, E., & Mazzetti, A. (2020). Efficacy and safety of topical clascoterone cream, 1%, for treatment in patients with facial acne: two phase 3 randomized clinical trials. JAMA dermatology, 156(6), 621-630.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Best References and Scientific Publications on How Dermatologists Treat Acne

  1. Sally R, Reider E.,  Ch. 16 Acne in  Baumann L Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Ch.  Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. Leung, A. K., Barankin, B., Lam, J. M., Leong, K. F., & Hon, K. L. (2021). Dermatology: how to manage acne vulgaris. Drugs in context, 10.
  4. Chiang, C., Ward, M., & Gooderham, M. (2022). Dermatology: how to manage acne in skin of colour. Drugs in Context, 11.
  5. Guerrero, D. (2010, December). Dermocosmetic approach to acne by the dermatologist. In Annales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie (Vol. 137, No. 12, pp. 29-33). Elsevier Masson.
  6. Gollnick, H. P., Bettoli, V., Lambert, J., Araviiskaia, E., Binic, I., Dessinioti, C., ... & Dréno, B. (2016). A consensus‐based practical and daily guide for the treatment of acne patients. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 30(9), 1480-1490.
  7. Harper, J. C. (2009). Should dermatologists prescribe hormonal contraceptives for acne?. Dermatologic therapy, 22(5), 452-457.

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