Assessing the Acne Patient

Assessing the Acne Patient

There are literally hundreds of ways that acne can be treated and many reasons for apparent failure of a product. To confidently recommend appropriate treatment, will depend upon answers to the following:

What does their acne look like to you? Acne is a visual disease and most commonly occurs on the face, although the back, neck, chest and shoulders may also be affected. You need to look for:

These will give you the clues to both how long they may have had acne (scarring and red marks left from recent spots), and what type of acne they have, as well as how severe it is.

How does their acne affect them?

Some people will apparently be unbothered by a case of bad, inflamed acne and might appear to be genuinely unconcerned about treating it. Others can appear to be distraught over a few spots and might take up a lot of your time and ask many questions. What will often help put that person’s acne into perspective is to ask them how it affects them, not how you might think it affects them – the two could be different! The psychological impact of acne is covered later in Module 2, but understanding how acne affects them

How long have they had acne?

Some people will rush to their doctor, insisting upon strong treatments or referral to a dermatologist at the first signs of acne, whilst others may sit out their acne and literally wait to ‘grow out of it’. Acne on average lasts eight years and therefore acne should be treated as soon as it first appears.

What treatments have already been tried?

Some people contacting the Acne Support Group will claim to have tried ‘everything on the market’. This is almost impossible, for it depends upon which market they are referring to. Usually they will be talking about self medication; treatments bought off the shelf designed to help with ‘problem skin types’. It is likely that these products have been used and, if, after a couple of weeks, there is no improvement, they will consider the product ‘useless’ and it will be resigned to the back of the cupboard.

You will need to get an accurate idea of what they have already used to be able to assess what treatments should be used next.

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