How to Find Online Help for Your Acne

If you’re suffering from acne, you may not be sure how to access the care you need. You might also be worried about the cost of getting treatment or how to find the right provider for you. It’s hard enough to get appropriate medical care in the U.S. But it’s even worse when you’re coping with the shame and insecurity that can accompany a stigmatized condition.

You don’t have to go it alone, and you don’t have to start from zero. So many free or affordable online options are available. Here’s a list of great online acne resources you can get help from, privately, in the comfort of your home.

1. Virtual Dermatology Consultations

Sometimes, acne requires more than just standard over-the-counter remedies. You know your body, and if you suspect you need prescription medication, there’s a good chance you could be right. But getting diagnosed and treated through traditional means can be unnecessarily complicated, for a number of reasons.

For one, treating your acne can get expensive, between healthcare provider copays and prescription costs. If you don’t have insurance, you could end up paying several hundred bucks out of pocket. And even if you do, there may be unforeseen costs.

Scheduling an in-person visit also takes forever, between getting an appointment and waiting in the lobby. When you finally see a provider, the quality of care might just not measure up. Not to mention the fact that you probably have to schedule time off work to be seen. Not only are you paying for your treatment, but you’re losing money just waiting to get it.

Thankfully, online acne treatment removes some of these frustrating barriers to getting the care you need. You can schedule an acne consultation with a healthcare provider online, and get the right treatment regimen for you. You can even get your medications delivered so you don’t have to make time for the pharmacy counter, too.

2. Online Acne Resource Centers

Educational sites like the American Academy of Dermatology and WebMD provide extensive databases of information on acne. From these types of sites, you can learn all about the different types of acne. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you can manage your specific symptoms.

These sites can help you gain a deeper understanding of your acne. They explain causes and risk factors for acne and help you separate myth from fact. Many have in-depth information on how to prevent breakouts through diet and other lifestyle modifications.

Some of these online resource libraries also have more specialized knowledge. For example, the AAD website has specific resources for handling acne if you’re a person of color. And WebMD’s resource library has separate resources in categories like body acne and acne in teens.

Be warned, though — no amount of online research is a substitute for proper treatment. Educating yourself can help you minimize symptoms or develop a good cleansing routine. But if your symptoms are severe or you suspect you need a diagnosis, schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider.

3. Certain TikTok and Instagram Creators

While it’s never a good idea to get a diagnosis from social media, you can actually learn a lot from your Reels and FYP. Many knowledgeable dermatologists have developed huge followings on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. And some share useful, informative content that can help you take better care of your skin.

These creators may, for example, make useful general product recommendations — though some may be biased by sponsorships. They sometimes know which makeup brands or cleansers to stay away from and which could be beneficial. They may also be able to provide good instructions for applying products or safely treating minor blemishes.

Social media dermatologists are especially useful when it comes to telling you what not to do. Many, like Dr. Shah and Dr. Sandra Lee, give useful advice on how to avoid infections or scarring. They also often call out bogus treatments and help their followers spot ineffective or even dangerous skincare trends.

That said, it’s important to remember that these people are still, at the end of the day, minor celebrities. Much of what they do is for the likes, or for the income their followings generate. They’re good resources for learning more about acne and skincare in general, but they aren’t a substitute for appropriate treatment.

4. Online Forums and Communities

Facebook groups, subreddits, and other online communities like can be an amazing resource. In these groups, you can meet other folks with acne and swap stories about how it’s affected your life. You may also be able to get some useful tips on over-the-counter skincare products and general skincare. Perhaps most importantly, these groups can help you improve your self-esteem by connecting you with others who share your struggles.

One nice thing about these forums is that there’s often one for every conceivable subcategory of acne. Facebook, for example, has separate groups for adult acne, cystic acne, blackhead sufferers, and more. This way, you can sign up for only the groups that have information that’s specific and relevant to you.

When selecting an online forum to join, pay close attention to its rules and whether or not the group is moderated. Online harassment and infighting can be significant problems in these groups, so it’s important to choose one that feels safe to you. Note also whether the group is private or anonymous, and be especially careful about posting sensitive personal information.

Another consideration with online support groups is avoiding spammers and scammers. And look out for groups posing as real support groups, when they’re actually just focused on selling you a product. As with all of the other options above, fact-check any advice you receive and make sure you trust the source.

Spot-On Advice

Not to belabor the point, but it bears repeating: the internet can be a dangerous place to get advice. Bad actors and untrustworthy sources can make it hard to separate fact from fiction. A random stranger from a Facebook group could have great tips on a gentle face wash or non-comedogenic foundation. But if you think you need a prescription or medical procedure, get an opinion from a trusted, reputable professional.