Doctors are extremely busy people that are often overworked, underpaid and sometimes harassed by patients that have little to complain about. However I believe they genuinely want to help their patients, and will take your acne condition seriously. There are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure you maximise the chance of getting the right help from your doctor in treating your acne

1. A key skill in getting the best out of any situation is clear communication. Your doctor can only act on the information you give him about your condition. Not providing the ‘full story’ is the primary reason for misdiagnosis or a lack of urgent attention. Make sure you tell your doctor, how long you’ve had the acne, what treatments you’ve tried, where does the acne occur and is it worsened by reaction to stress of sunlight.

2. Ask questions about any aspect of your acne that you want to clarify. A good tip is to write down the questions you want to ask, before you speak to your doctor, to ensure you cover everything. Don’t feel embarrassed by asking certain questions, remember there are ‘no dumb questions’

3. Understand that there are no miracle cures for acne, and that you may have to try a number of different treatments before you find one, which is effective, against your particular type.

4. Make sure you mention the emotional side of how your acne makes you feel, if this is of particular concern to you. This is a vital area that is often overlooked, and is clearly important particularly if your acne is resulting in depression, or resulting in a reduction in your social interactions with others.

5. If your doctor prescribes any medication, make sure you fully understand;

1) how to apply the treatment,

2)how long will it be before you see any improvement,

3)any side-effects that you may experience,

4)when do you need to return for a follow up, and

5)how long the treatment will last. These key questions will ensure you are fully informed about the treatment programme you are embarking on.

Remember your doctor is there to help you overcome both the physical and emotional side of acne. If you don’t feel you can easily approach your doctor, find an alternative medical professional, such as a dermatologist. What ever you decide to do, ensure you seek help, and don’t let acne get the better of you.