How to Talk to Your Parents About Seeing a Dermatologist

You've had acne for a while now, or maybe you just started breaking out. Whichever it is, you're super tired of acne and you really want to see a dermatologist…now!

It's time to ask your parents about seeing a dermatologist for acne. Not sure how to bring up the subject? Here are some ideas to open those lines of communication.

Father and teen daughter ask doctor questions
SDI Productions / Getty Images

Pick a Good Time to Approach Them

Your parents want to help you when you have a problem, and they want you to turn to them when you need help. But it's hard for them to give you their undivided attention, let alone listen to your concerns objectively when they have to be focused on other things at that moment.

Choose a good time to bring up the subject, when neither of you is feeling rushed or stressed, so the conversation will be relaxed and you have time to listen to one another.

Not a Good Time

Just as they are walking in the door from work, or rushing to get dinner on the table, answering emails, or busy dealing with younger siblings—these probably aren't the best of times.

The Right Time

Wait until they have a few extra minutes in the evening or a Saturday morning. If life is always super busy, you might need to plan time with them. Offer to help cook dinner and talk as you chop veggies together. Maybe you can talk with them while they are driving you to school or one of your activities? Sometimes the best conversations happen in the car.

Start a Dialogue

Maybe you don't really want to talk about your acne. Lots of people feel uncomfortable, or even a little embarrassed talking about their skin problems. Don't let it keep you from asking your parents for help, though.

Just starting the conversation is often the hardest.

If you're stuck, try this one: "My skin's been breaking out for a while. The store-bought acne products I've tried haven't worked. I'd like to see a doctor about it. What do you think?"

Let Them Know How Acne Is Making You Feel

Your parents don't know how you feel unless you tell them. Explain how acne is affecting you.

How Does Your Acne Make You Feel?

Do you avoid participating in class because you don't want people looking at you (and your skin)? Maybe you didn't try out for the swim team because you're embarrassed by your body breakouts. If you look in the mirror and cry or avoid looking in mirrors altogether, or if you don't want to go out with your friends or to family functions, tell them.

This is the time to be honest with them, even if it's hard to open up.

Even Moderate Acne Can Be Treated

Your parents might tell you your acne "isn't that bad" and they might be absolutely right. But acne doesn't have to be severe to have an effect on you.

You could say something like, "I know my acne really isn't that bad, but it still makes me feel (fill in the blank here: depressed, self-conscious, embarrassed, insecure). I'd feel better about myself if my acne was treated."

Listen to Their Point of View

Once they understand how you feel, your parents might be willing to make an appointment for you right away. But lots of parents will want some time to think about it or to do some research on acne treatments first. It's frustrating when you want a decision, but try to be patient.


  • Listen respectfully, even if they're saying things you don't want to hear. This can be hard, but remember, if you get defensive your parents most likely will too. Nothing can be worked out if this happens. Try to be receptive to their thoughts and ideas.
  • But also be honest here. If they recommend over-the-counter products, let them know you've tried them and they haven't worked for you. You might even tell them that acne is commonly treated by a physician and that there are many really good, effective prescription treatments available now.
  • If your parents still seem unsure, ask them if you can see your family doctor or pediatrician. They have most likely treated many cases of acne.

Follow Through

Assure your parents that you'll follow through on your end of the bargain.

Tell them that you will:

  • Go to all appointments without complaint, even when you'd much rather be hanging out with your friends
  • Use all your treatments without being nagged about it, and comply with all the instructions given to you by your physician.
  • Use your treatments every day, for several months, before expecting to see clear skin. All acne treatment medications, even prescription ones, take time to work. It can seem excruciatingly slow, but stick with it.

Make sure to thank your parents for listening, and keep them updated on your acne treatment progress.

And don't just make empty promises, follow through. Don't stop using your acne treatments, even if they don't seem to be working. If you give up too soon your acne won't improve, and your parents might be irritated to find unused treatments wasting away in your bathroom cabinet.

A Word From Verywell

Teen acne is an incredibly common skin problem. Almost every teenager has acne to some extent. But the good news is you don't have to wait until you outgrow it. There are many teen acne treatments available today. So, talk with your parents about seeing a physician about your acne. If you're patient and use your acne treatments every day, you can see improvement of your skin.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.