Maybe because acne is prevalent in the teenage world, many strange notions and myths surround this condition, mostly as to the causes. Someone started the myth that eating chocolate causes acne, which is untrue. Eating pizza and french fries don’t cause acne, either. Not washing the face enough is also a myth. Acne can be a problem for many teenagers, though, and remedies do exist. That is not a myth.
Reason for Acne
The reason teenagers get acne is because of sebum, an oil that builds up on the skin and clogs pores. Sebum is related to the hormones that increase during puberty, which is why teenagers are prone to acne. Genetics is another reason some teenagers get it worse than others. Certain conditions may aggravate acne that is already present but don’t cause acne, such as stress, wearing helmets or hats, pollution or high humidity.
If your teenager practices some preventive measures, she can focus less on acne remedies. Your teen should clean her face gently and no more than twice a day. Roughly scrubbing the face in an effort to rid acne makes the problem worse by drying out and irritating the skin. It’s important to use the right cleansing products, such as oil-free, non-comedogenic cosmetics. (Comedones are blackheads and whiteheads.) Your teen should be careful not to touch her face because that spreads the bacteria to more pores and can cause more breakouts. Your teen should be careful about keeping her phone from directly touching her face and washing her sunglasses regularly. Objects like that collect sebum and skin residue. Keeping hair clean and away from the face helps to keep oil and dirt off the face.
To remedy acne, after cleansing, use an over-the-counter lotion with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Both of these medicines cut down on oil and bacteria. Your teen can get this medicine in many forms — lotions, creams, gels, pads or soaps. Give the product about 8 weeks to work. To remedy body acne, your teen should not wear tight clothes. Doing so doesn’t allow the skin to breathe. Oil and dirt collect, which can cause shoulder and back acne.
Seeing a Doctor
If after two months the OTC medicines aren’t helping enough, take your teenager to a doctor or dermatologist who can prescribe stronger prescription medications, such as a retinoid gel or cream. Some conditions may require an antibiotic that can reduce bacteria. Typically, your teen would combine the antibiotics with the benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatments. Laser and light therapy is another option you can discuss with your doctor. As of 2009, laser and light therapy is for people who cannot tolerate acne medicines.
No matter how tempting, tell your teen not to pop or squeeze pimples. The risk of pushing the infected material back into the skin is too great. This can lead to swelling, redness and even scarring.