ACNE CAN BE A SENSITIVE SUBJECT FOR CHILDREN AS THEY BECOME TEENAGERS. HERE’S WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO HELP TREAT THE CONDITION
Pimples! Most adolescents wish they would go far, far away and never come back. Acne affects nearly 80 percent of all adolescents and young adults of all races and ethnicities. Boys may have more severe, longer-lasting acne and are less likely to seek medical attention. Girls often find that their acne worsens a few days before their menstrual period due to changes in hormone levels.
Looks and body image are immensely important to both boys and girls at this time of life. If left untreated, acne may have an impact on your adolescent’s self esteem and confidence. It can cause social withdrawal, feelings of embarrassment, anger, and more. Teens generally do not want to talk about their acne because it is such a sensitive issue!
Help from parents
What can parents do to help their adolescent manage their acne?
A brief review of the causes of acne may help parents and adolescents better understand this condition. Acne usually erupts when puberty begins (around 10 to 13 years of age) and may persist into young adulthood or beyond. Hormones for puberty are produced at this time. One specific type of hormone, androgens, influences oil production from the sebaceous gland. The sebaceous (oil) gland, a follicle (canal), and a hair shaft together form a pilosebaceous unit, with the majority of these units being located on the face, neck and upper trunk.
As puberty progresses, so does the production of hormones, especially androgens. There is also an increase in bacteria and the shedding of cells that line the pilosebaceous unit, causing inflammation. When all these factors are combined, acne develops. A clogged pilosebaceous unit is a closed comedone (whitehead) or an open comedone (blackhead), while a pimple is an inflamed pilosebaceous unit.
Treatments for Acne
Most parents and adolescents treat mild acne with over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, or sulfur. Over-the- counter products have a variety of potencies, ranging from 5 percent to 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, together with other chemicals. Begin with the lowest strength medication and advance to the more potent strength if no results are observed after a few weeks.
Here are a few guidelines for the care of your skin:
1. Gently wash your face twice a day and after heavy exercise with a mild soap and warm water. Do not scrub your face with a washcloth or cleansers containing granules, as these may cause irritation and redness. Pat dry your face.
2. Do NOT pop, pick, or squeeze your acne. It can make your acne worse and create scarring.
3. Choose cosmetics carefully and labeled “noncomedogenic.” These products are oil free and do not clog your pores.
4. Shave carefully using a sharp safety razor or electric shaver. Soften the beard before shaving with soap and water. Apply shaving cream after softening if using a safety razor.
5. Avoid sunburns, sunbathing, and tanning salons.
6. Avoid irritating your skin. Keep your hair off your face and wash it daily. Avoid oily hair products.
7. Keep sports equipment from rubbing against your skin, especially the face. Apply moleskin or another protective covering to equipment to help reduce friction.