Everybody hates acne. It has no real age restrictions, affecting most people from the moment they go through puberty and continuing long after, sometimes never fully going away. Its debilitating effects are as painful physically as they are emotionally. Acne affects your self-confidence and inspires shame and disgust, causing people to seek out anything — regardless of cost — that will help. Fortunately, there may be a cure on the way: a vaccine for acne.
The acne vaccine isn’t exactly breaking news, but the recent development in its research certainly is. New information (published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology) explains that the use of P. acnes bacteria antibodies does actually reduce inflammation in human skin. It may not sound extraordinarily important, but it is a very promising start for those who suffer from the skin condition, especially those with deep, painful cystic acne.
However, we aren’t there yet. Acne continues to drive the beauty market, plying consumers with offers of poreless, acne-free skin, and for only X amount of dollars! And then, of course, you need to keep buying it, month by month or else risk a relapse into bad skin; even people who have very little money will make sure they have enough for their acne treatments. For those who need to visit a dermatologist to get relief, the costs rise exponentially — and, unfortunately, that accounts for more than 40% of kids in their mid-teens.
As a teenager, you shouldn’t have to be spending your hard-earned (and probably extremely limited) money to buy miracle cures or pay for prescriptions. Even so, many teens (and their parents) feel it’s their only option. The average trip to the dermatologist can cost between $45 and $200 per month, because treatment can never end or the pain and ugliness may return. These medicines are often as caustic as they are costly: the use of steroids, antibacterials, and harsh ingredients can dry skin out and make it painfully sensitive. In addition, extreme care is required during exposure to sunlight, and delicacy is a necessity.
The lower end of that spectrum is only if you have decent insurance, and paying premiums each month take their own toll. Approximately one-third of American families struggle to pay their medical bills, usually holding off on doctor visits until they are absolutely necessary. Many parents simply aren’t able to afford such consistent, high costs for something as common as acne, regardless of how desperate their child is for it.
That cost barrier includes trips to urgent care and the emergency room, which skyrocket compared to simple doctor’s appointments; depending on what services you receive and what kind of insurance you have, a trip to urgent care can run you around $200. They see, on average, 3 million people each week. Emergency room visits are even more expensive, costing upwards of $500 due to the immediacy of the situation; as pervasive and devastating as acne can be, at least breakouts don’t require trips to the ER!
A future where acne — and all of its expenses — can be narrowed down to one simple injection is positively ideal. We can only hope it arrives sooner rather than later.