Tips from an actual expert.
There’s nothing more soul crushing than having your face marred by acne. Those retched red spots call the shots on your self esteem, your confidence and your motivation to face the outside world.
But trying to do something about your acne feels like a rich person’s game. All the topical treatments, serums, retinols and cleansers constantly suggested on skincare forums don’t come cheap, and neither does an appointment at the local dermatologist.
Not to mention how little sense all the rules make. You could eat a completely clean diet and still get pimples. You could follow a rigorous three step skin care routine and still get pimples. You could do everything they tell us to do to and we still. Get. Pimples.
So what can we do? We spoke to Professor Kate Steinbeck, an expert in adolescent medicine at the University of Sydney, to get some real answers. It’s a lot more simple than you’d think.
Professor Steinbeck got real about the impact that acne can have on young people’s lives. She said: “It’s a very distressing thing, and I think people don’t take it seriously enough sometimes. It’s not going to kill you, but it may really make a big difference to how you feel about yourself and your relationships.”
Professor Steinbeck urges any person who has lingering acne in their twenties to go straight to their GP. “Most people grow out of acne in their early to late teens. For girls particularly, if they’re continuing to get acne I would really suggest that they see their GP. This is to make sure that they haven’t got something like polycystic ovaries,” she says.
“For boys,” Steinbeck says, “generally speaking most of them will lose their acne in their late teens too. If they still have it in their twenties the risk is that they’ve got severe acne, and that they may have scarring.
“They would be best to stop messing around with topical treatment, see a doctor and discuss something that can actually physically cure the acne.”
While an appointment with a dermatologist can be quite exxy, a trip to your general practitioner will more than likely be covered by medicare. A doctor will also try to tackle the problem from the root cause – i.e. figure out how to tackle the hormones – rather than putting a bandaid over the wound. You could be given a prescription for an oral antibiotic.
“If there’s a hormonal imbalance in girls, often the oral contraceptive pill is very good…