In the second rule of our seven-step process for going from acne sufferer to acne survivor, patients must set a goal for their acne treatment that they can communicate with their doctor.

This rule is directly related to the first rule where patients determine what acne means to them, but there is a reason that this process of setting a goal is a distinct step in our process.  Even people who have similar conclusions about what acne means to them can end up with different goals related to their treatment, these goals are what a doctor needs to know when making treatment recommendations.

For example, think about it this way. Your doctor is there to help you and guide you in your quest to become an acne survivor. Let’s make an analogy with a carpenter.

If there is a job the carpenter is asked to do, the carpenter has a toolbox. And in that toolbox, there are various tools, each one for a specific purpose. Now, if the carpenter is asked to hammer in a nail, he’ll use his hammer. If he’s asked to saw some wood, he’ll use his saw. And a screwdriver is useful for screwing in a screw.  If someone comes to a carpenter and tells him that they need more storage space and their goal is to build a shed, he will select the appropriate tools and use them in the proper manner to help them complete that goal.  However, if a different person comes to the carpenter and tells him that they need more storage space and their goal is to build a cabinet, then the carpenter might use different tools in a different manner for that second person.

It’s the same for a doctor. A doctor has his toolbox too, and he needs to know which tool to use, to solve which problems.  Two people can both decide in step one of our process that acne, to them, represents a major limiting factor in their life that causes anxiety and a low self-image or self-esteem.  However, these people can still have different goals regarding their treatment.

The point is that if you can’t communicate your goal or your goals to the doctor, then he or she will not know how to help you in the best way.

Again, this is another one of those rules that seems like common sense at first.   However, if you stop and think about it, not setting the right goal can have major consequences.

You have to be able to communicate very concisely and directly what you want.  In the first meeting with your doctor, you need to sit down and have a realistic discussion about whether or not your goals are achievable and how you see yourself achieving success.

Success can mean something different to each person. By knowing your goal, then your doctor will know what he or she can do to help you achieve it.

Don’t underestimate this, and spend time thinking about it before you go for your first appointment.

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