I deal with a lot of acne patients especially younger teenaged ones. I recently remember a young 16 year old gal whose mother brought in for assessment and acne consultation. The first step to any skin regimen and need is the medical history for us to be able to assess any medications and or allergies the patient may have. Knowing the health history also enables us to give the best advice and be informed about all the possible reasons for the acne flare-ups. After the initial consult with this young girl I did not see that she had any medication or allergies listed on the medical history form. I specifically asked her as I do many patients whether or not she uses marijuana? Her answer was “no”. A study of patients stated that women more than men were affected by acne while smoking marijuana in and around the mouth. One of the possible reasons is the effect of marijuana on increasing the testosterone levels. After examining her acne I was almost positive that she is using marijuana. I informed her that if she was and we were to start treatments the acne can actually worsen! The young patient reassured me she doesn’t use any drugs whatsoever so we started treatments with acne laser, microdermabrasion plus chemical peels and topical medications. Her skin became radiant and acne free within 2 months and she continued to show great results in her follow up appointments. She was happy, I was happy and Mom was particularly happy for the return on her investment…But wait!!! The plot thickens. As the patient went on what we refer to as “Maintenance Treatments” which happen around once every four to six months, she came back at her maintenance after 4 months and low and behold: A face full of acne????? Mom is now furious!! I, on the other hand, am baffled. As to how this kid could do this to herself again!!?? I asked to have Mom in the room at the follow up consult to discuss what happened. At first the kid opposed, but being 16, she didn’t really have any say!! I started to ask the same questions: Any new meds, any new skin products, and finally I asked sweet 16 to leave the room and point blank told Mommy Dearest that she needs to do drug testing on her daughter to make sure nothing is in her system. Of course Mom was not happy but by now, and after seeing her daughter’s acne subsiding the past few months, she had enough trust in my opinion to realize that I am not just being judgmental towards her one and only apple of her eye!! ( understandable). The following Monday sweet sixteen was marched into family. Dr. and tested for multiple drugs in system….Guess What?? Sweet sixteen was smoking and taking other colorful drugs!!! Mom called to thank me and informed me that the daughter went into counseling. A couple of months later Mom and daughter came back to see me for a follow-up along with a nice thank you card!!! Her skin is like Gerogia Peach again!!! Boy I really love my job.
Senior Medical Aesthetician