You have plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) options for acne treatment. Drugstores tend to devote stacks of shelves to lotions and gels promising to clear your skin. With so many relatively affordable and readily available remedies, why would you seek professional treatment?

While some OTC acne remedies work, the results don’t always last. And not everyone gets the results they want.

If you’re wondering if it’s time for you to see a professional for acne treatment, consider these recommendations:

  • According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it’s reasonable to give OTC acne treatments some time to work—between four to eight weeks. In other words, don’t expect clear skin overnight, but don’t spend time and money indefinitely on an ineffective product. If you’re not happy with the results within couple months, consider seeing a dermatologist.
  • If your acne is severe, OTC products are less likely to help. An OTC treatment might clear up mild acne, but if your acne is moderate to severe, store-bought remedies may do little for you.
  • Effective acne treatment works inside and out. Because acne is a combination of blemishes and inflammation you see on your skin and oil production beneath the skin, you need to treat both these areas in order to clear up your skin. A dermatologist will often prescribe topical ointments that you apply to your skin as well as oral medication to control oil production and stop new blemishes from developing. The prescription ointments might have similar ingredients to OTC acne products, but are more powerful.
  • Scarring can be treated. Even once acne is treated, your skin might be scarred. Professional procedures can be much more effective at smoothing your skin and removing signs of acne than store-bought lotions and ointments. Your dermatologist might recommend seeing a cosmetic professional, who can offer procedures such as skin fillers, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, or laser treatment.

Do you have questions about professional acne treatment? Contact us to learn more.