September is acne awareness month in Canada – a time to raise awareness about the emotional effects and scars that acne can have on individuals. Acne affects around 5 million people in Canada and approximately 85 per cent of Canadians aged 12 – 24 have acne. The good news is there are ways to control your acne.

What is acne?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells causing comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), papules, pustules or even nodules. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it can affect people of all ages. Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. The earlier you start treatment, the lower your risk of such problems.

What causes acne?

Acne is caused by several factors including hormones, genes (family history), some medications, medical conditions or stress, to name a few. Diet can also play a role in contributing to the development of acne. Researchers have been investigating possible links between diet and acne for years and it has been shown that foods with high sugar content, dairy products, foods high in refined carbohydrates (fast foods) and chocolate, among others, may trigger or worsen acne.

When should I consider seeing a doctor?

It can be difficult to know when it’s time to see a specialist about acne. You may feel that your acne is not serious enough for you to see a doctor. The truth is many people with acne can benefit from seeing a doctor or dermatologist. You don’t have to have severe acne to reach out for support.

According to the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, if you answer YES to any of the below statements, it’s time to seek medical help to get your acne under control.

Getting Support

Acne can affect your life in many ways. It can impact your self-esteem, confidence, and the way you interact with others. That’s why many healthcare professionals encourage getting support early. If over-the-counter products haven’t improved your acne, contact your healthcare provider about your options. Acne is a very treatable condition.

Skin Confident – Acne education workshop

The Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada has just launched Skin Confident, a free 1-hour healthy skin and acne education program for high school students with proven, positive results. Skin Confident is available for download here: Skin Confident: Acne education program for high school students.

Book an appointment with a virtual doctor at no cost

If you would like to speak with an Ontario doctor about your (or your child’s) acne or other healthcare needs, visit Tulip Health is a virtual, phone-based, walk-in clinic that provides non-emergency related healthcare. Our doctors are trained to make the appropriate recommendations or referrals to specialists, when needed. Tulip Health offers same-day or next-day appointments any day of the week. It’s easy to use and it’s covered by OHIP. To book an appointment, visit