August 31, 2005 7:48 PM   Subscribe

What to expect from a dermatologist who specializes in teen acne?

Askmefites, my twins need a dermatologist. I expect that a good one would want to see them every week to check on treatment and progress, change the course of treatment if it's not working, be sensitive to their feelings and suchlike. That's all pretty general, sorry. Their acne is topical and it's raging a bit, but it's not serious, deep or permanently complexion-threatening (tell them that). Thanks for any constructive advice.
posted by nj_subgenius to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Hm, I went to the dermatologist often near the end of high school/beginning of college...but weekly seems like REALLY often. From the stuff I tried for my skin from my doctor, results usually didn't show up that quickly anyway.

And when I was going often-ish, it was to see an aesthetician for glycolic peels and whatnot (which worked really well, by the way). I didn't usually see the dr. as long as things were going a-ok.

Not sure whether your twins are male or female or how old they are, but I had a few friends in high school whose dermatologists put them on the pill to help with their skin. This was recent-ish, so I wouldn't imagine things have changed that much.

I guess I'm not exactly clear on what you're asking or whether my response is even close to what you're looking for. Hope it helps though.
posted by awegz at 8:22 PM on August 31, 2005

In case it wasn't clear from my response, I'm not a doctor -- I'm just familiar w/ the dermatologist's office.
posted by awegz at 8:24 PM on August 31, 2005

I started seeing a dermatologist in high school and, when my acne was at its worst, I still only saw the dermatologist once every two months. As awegz said, it takes awhile before you can see results, especially since (IIRC), some of the meds actually cause breakouts initally.

I'm not sure what kind of information you're looking for, but I hope this was somewhat helpful.
posted by whatideserve at 8:51 PM on August 31, 2005

Every week is a lot. Maybe every month or so until the situation is under control. They'll get some sort of oral antibiotic and some sort of topical, and probably some sort of medicated cleanser. And yes, lots of girls get prescribed birth control pills, so if the twins are girls, think about how you feel about that before you get there so you don't just have to stare at each other when the subject comes up. They'll get to hear the fascinating story of the zit while the doctor points things out on a big drawing that looks like a giant pink cartoon volcano. And then he'll say stuff like "don't scrub with a washcloth, don't pick at 'em, change your pillow case frequently, tie your hair up when you go to bed, and make sure you never rub bacon on your face...". Really, that's about it. Pretty much any doctor should be sensitive to their feelings and all that jazz. They aren't in the business of making kids cry, after all.
posted by spilon at 8:58 PM on August 31, 2005

I agree, weekly is a lot. Not much happens in a week. You should all be prepared for that. There's no magic dermatology wand. And, the standard treatment doesn't work for everyone. They'll want to try several options before bringing out the big guns.

Be patient and keep at it. Good luck. :)
posted by clh at 9:56 PM on August 31, 2005

I don't now at all what the new hotness is like, but in 1991 it was visits monthly to every two months (I think there was a little while when it was every six weeks), in which the derm would give the above-mentioned presentation with the above-mentioned advice, pop the zits with a sterilized thingy, give me a scrip for Retin-A and then later an antibiotic.

IAdefinitelyNAD, but weekly seems a bit much.
posted by Vidiot at 11:14 PM on August 31, 2005

Unless your teens are having horrible acne that is preventing them from leaving the house, I would not recommend accutane -- it dries your skin and seems really dangerous. I got extremely depressed while on it.

But high school /college, I went once a month... I doubt that insurance would cover weekly visits.

I found that reassessing my products helped: using Lush fresh farmacy for my face, limited makeup and regular facials made more difference than a dermatologist, for me at least.
posted by k8t at 4:14 AM on September 1, 2005

Response by poster: thanks all
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:42 AM on September 1, 2005

I know this sounds stupid, since its a "as seen on tv" product, but I have several friends (adults with acne and adult parents of teens with acne) who report amazing results with this product.
posted by anastasiav at 9:34 AM on September 1, 2005

And I'll just counter k8t's advice by saying - Acutane rules. It works - and it works quickly. Do you totally dry up? yep - but all of your acne just disappears and doesn't come back. My only regret was not going to the dermatologist and getting it sooner. A lot of teen age dermatologists are going to dick around with topical or systemic antibiotics and retin-A. Try to find one who knows how devastating acne can be for a kids social life and isn't afraid of being more aggressive at treating it.
Around here (the bay area) every dermatologist's office is booked solid for months - getting weekly appointments isn't only unnecessary - its likely going to be nearly impossible.
posted by Wolfie at 10:12 AM on September 1, 2005

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