Discussions that mention tretinoin

Acne board


I've never been to the derm before and I'm thinking of finally scheduling an appointment. I'm sort of at my wits end about my skin and I think it's time I get a professional opinion. I'm 19, and I have almost entirely non-inflamed acne - mostly whiteheads and a few blackheads. I only get full-blown pustules when I'm on my period, and it's only a few spots at that. With makeup and from a comfortable distance you probably couldn't tell that I have skin problems, and people have told me that before. But it really, really irritates me that my skin is just so damn congested. I feel like there's years of gunk in my pores that'll never come to the surface, and it drives me crazy. Plus I'm a picker (I know, I know...) and so I have a few scars and some pigmentation as well. My skin is quite fair so it's mostly red/pink spots. My skin is very sensitive as well - many lotions and drugstore acne treatments make my skin red and itchy.

Going to a derm would be a big decision for me, firstly because I absolutely hate going to the doctor's, and secondly, because I'm rather sensitive and my biggest fear about the derm is that it'll be a tortuous half-hour or longer of all my flaws being pointed out to me, all my bad habits put out in the open. It's a little terrifying to me. Even when I went in to my last checkup at the doctor's office, I was completely caught off guard when my doctor started asking me about my skin and suggesting I try a scar treatment. It made me feel very uncomfortable to be put on the spot like that and it's silly but it hurt my feelings a lot to hear someone point out that I had acne.

Am I being oversensitive? How does one deal with going to the derm if they're easily hurt by criticism? I imagine that this can't be an uncommon problem with acne sufferers because most of us are already very self-conscious to begin with... please give me your first derm experiences, advice, consolations, anything? What happens in a typical derm visit?

Also, based on the description of my skin, what do you guys think the derm will prescribe? Based on the research I've done I don't think I need an antibiotic of any kind, since my acne isn't inflamed. I was thinking something like tretinoin, so promote cell turnover and unclog my pores (and hopefully help with my scars)? Or birth control, to help with period breakouts?

Also, because I'm a chicken - does getting a med like Retin-A absolutely necessitate an actual consultation with a derm, or, if you know what you want to try, can you somehow get it from a derm's office without a visit? I know that's a little extreme but obviously this whole derm thing is a fear of mine.

Thanks so much for any input.