While every teenager may get a pimple from time to time, some teenagers suffer with severe forms of acne such as cystic acne, which can be embarrassing and can damage their self-esteem. If your teenager has severe acne, be a supportive presence and educate him on the ways to treat it. If necessary, take him to the doctor.
Causes of Acne
The most common cause of acne of any sort is puberty, according to the Merck manual. As your teenager goes through puberty, her hormone levels trigger an increased production of sebum, or oil. The excess oil, along with dead skin cells, block hair follicles. The sort of pimple that forms depends on the way that the cells and oil plug the follicle, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mild forms of acne, whiteheads and blackheads form when there is no inflammation. More severe forms, such as papules and cysts, form as a result of infection or inflammation.
What Severe Acne Looks Like
Symptoms of severe acne are very recognizable. Some teenagers may experience pimples, which are also called papules, raised, red bumps that commonly appear on their face. In some cases, the pimples may contain white pus in the center, in which case they are called pustules. Nodular acne, or cystic acne, is a very severe form of the condition. The cysts form under the surface of the skin and contain pus. They are much larger than your average pimple, cause pain and tend to leave scars.
Treating Severe Acne
Take your teenager to see his regular doctor or to a dermatologist if he has severe acne that isn’t clearing up with over the counter acne creams or facial cleansers. The doctor can prescribe a prescription acne treatment. Typically, prescription treatments fight acne with derivatives of vitamin A, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some treat acne with a combination of antibiotics and benzyol peroxide. Depending on how severe your teenager’s acne is, he may need to take oral medication, such as an antibiotic or isotretinoin, a medication designed specifically to treat cystic acne.
Keeping Acne at Bay
Your teenager can try to prevent acne or lessen it at home by washing her face gently with a facial cleanser. Since over-washing or over-scrubbing can exacerbate acne, make sure he washes his face twice a day at the most. If she wears make up, make sure it is the type that will not clog pores. Have her use oil-free cosmetics whenever possible. Teenagers should also protect their skin from hair styling products, such as hair spray or gel, which can clog pores as well, according to Kids Health.
Plenty of old wives’ tales and myths are in circulation about the cause and treatment of severe acne. While you should encourage your teenager to eat healthy foods for his overall well-being, eating greasy pizza, fries or chocolate will not make acne worse. Some teenagers may think that popping a pimple will make it clear up. Unfortunately, popping a pimple usually makes things worse, since it can leave a scar and spreads the bacteria from the pimple over the person’s face and deep into his pores, according to Kids Health.