What is youth acne?
The teen years and youth acne, unfortunately, go hand in hand. As if you weren’t having enough trouble just getting through high school, now you have to do it with a red constellation popping up on your face. While anyone can get acne, even adults, it is most common in teenagers. In fact, acne is considered a normal part of adolescence. 100% of the population can expect to have acne at some time during adolescence, regardless of race or ethnicity.
What are the causes of youth acne?
There are several causes of acne, and it can be difficult to pinpoint a single culprit. One cause is sebum (oil) production. During puberty, elevated hormone levels stimulate higher sebum production than usual, increasing the chance of acne flares. Boys are more likely to get it during adolescence because their skin tends to produce more sebum. Other causes include bacteria on the skin, inflammation and possibly even dietary factors. In adulthood, women are more prone to acne than men, likely because of the hormonal swings of menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. People with a family history of acne are also more likely to get acne.
What are the available treatment options?
It is important to treat acne early to prevent the development of acne scars. There are a wide range of acne treatments available. Your Dermatology & Skin Health professional will recommend an acne treatment based on the location and severity of acne, response to previous treatment and other factors.
- Many people attempt to first treat their acne at home with non-prescription medications that include benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil, Proactiv) or salicylic acid. Unfortunately, many discover these over-the-counter medications take too long to work, prolonging the acne and increasing the risk of developing acne scars.
- For mild acne or moderate acne that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments, you may need a stronger prescription acne medication that acts faster and provides longer-lasting benefits.* Physicians may prescribe a topical retinoid, a mainstay of acne therapy. Topical retinoids help to clear up acne quickly and provide ongoing clear skin.* Brands of topical retinoids include Differin™ (adapalene), Epiduo™ (adapalene + benzoyl peroxide), Retin A Micro™ (tretinoin), Tazorac™ (tazarotene), or Veltin™ (tretinoin + clindamycin). These medications may be used alone or in combination with other acne medications, such as antibiotics like minocycline or doxycycline.
- For the most severe cases of acne (such as cystic acne), healthcare professionals may prescribe isotretinoin (Accutane, Sotret). This daily oral medication has shown to be an effective treatment when other medications have failed, but it has serious possible side effects and should never be taken by pregnant women. Women using isotretinoin must agree to use two types of birth control, and abstain from sex within a month before and after taking the medication.
What if I don’t see results right away?
You won’t. You should be very skeptical about any product/service that promises immediate results. No acne medication can do its job properly unless it is given time to work. It’s very important to be patient and take your medication as directed, for as long as directed.
If you don’t see results right away, don’t be discouraged. Your medication is hard at work preventing new lesions from forming. Stopping treatment early will likely cause pimples and zits to reappear.
What is sports and acne mechanica?
Teens who play sports, wear a backpack, or play a musical instrument that comes into contact with the face and neck may get a form of acne called acne mechanica. This acne is caused by irritation to the skin from excessive heat or sweat, friction, or pressure. These are common causes of acne mechanica:
- Helmets and helmet straps, especially those worn by football and hockey players and motorcycle riders.
- Shoulder pads and straps worn by football players.
- Tight clothing, particularly jeans, underwear (bras) or uniforms made of synthetic fabric.
- Tight hats or headbands worn for long periods of time.
- Backpack straps.
- Musical instruments, such as the violin, tucked against the neck for hours.
What are some common myths about acne?
There are a lot of acne myths regarding the cause acne and possible home remedies. It is important to learn separate truth from fiction.
- Acne can be aggravated by oily cosmetics, stress, picking at blemishes, rough cleansers, or hard scrubbing. It is important to follow basic acne skin care tips to get acne under control, and keep it under control.
- Acne isn’t caused directly by eating sugar, chocolate, or greasy foods. However, there is some evidence that eating too many carbohydrates (sugars, pastas, bread, sodas) might be related to the development or worsening of acne. But this varies from person to person. It is generally a good idea to limit the consumption of such snacks.
- Although a suntan can temporarily lessen the appearance of acne lesions, it won’t make them go away. The ultraviolet light can also lead to significant skin irritation among those using some acne medications, and the sun can damage the skin in other ways (wrinkles, skin cancer).
- Overall it is best for everyone, even those with acne, to regularly use sunscreen and follow basic sun protection measures.
Schedule treatments in New Hampshire or Massachusetts
Acne afflicts nearly every teenager at some point during adolescence, but that doesn’t make it easier to bear. The emotional toll of acne is a familiar problem for many young people and can wreak havoc on adolescent self-confidence. Fortunately, almost all cases of acne are treatable, and the professionals at Dermatology & Skin Health, located in Dover, NH, Newington, NH and Peabody, MA, are here to help.
In addition to acne medications (topical retinoids, Tetracycline, Spironolactone, Minocycline, and Doxycycline), we also provide Daavlin UV phototherapy, VBeam laser treatments, and Levulan photodynamic therapy to help treat acne. To get treatments for your son or daughter, schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (603) 742-5556 (Dover & Newington) or (978) 525-0100 (Peabody).