It might be time to see a dermatologist

June is National Acne Awareness Month


From special cleansers and moisturizers to over-the-counter medications and creams, trying to clear up acne can feel like a series of trial and error. The truth is that for many people, seeking help from a medical professional is the most effective solution.


“There are a number of over-the-counter products that promise to clear up acne and depending on the type of acne you have, it may work – temporarily at least,” says Dr. Sarah Hostetler, a dermatologist with Aspirus Health. She adds that “having persistent breakouts can be frustrating, but the good news is that it is treatable.”


Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States and affects up to 50 million Americans annually. Despite its popularity, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan. There are several factors for a dermatologist to consider, such as:

  • What type of acne (i.e., blackheads, pimples, etc.) you have
  • Where the acne appears on your skin
  • What treatments you’ve already tried
  • When the breakouts started
  • Your age
  • Whether the acne has left you with dark spots or scars

Dr. Hostetler says that “with the right treatment and skin care plan, it’s possible that everyone can achieve clearer skin.”


The AAD suggests that if you answer “yes” to six or more of the following statements, it may be time to talk to a dermatologist.

  • You feel like you’ve tried everything to clear your acne, and nothing works.
  • Your acne clears, but you continue to see new breakouts.
  • You have pimple-like bumps in unusual places, such as your armpit, groin, thighs, or on the backs of your upper arms.
  • Your first blemishes appeared between 8 and 11 years of age – or earlier.
  • You have deep, painful acne like the acne cysts and nodules.
  • You’ve had acne for years and cannot understand why you still have it.
  • You’ve felt depressed, anxious, or less interested in hanging out with friends since you’ve had acne.
  • You want to hide your face because of your acne.
  • You started taking a medication within the last 6 months and now have breakouts.
  • As your acne clears, you can see scars or dark spots.
  • You’ve cleared the acne on your face, but nothing seems to clear the acne on your back or chest.

Dr. Hostetler sees patients at Aspirus Dermatology Clinic in Wausau. To find an Aspirus dermatologist near you, visit