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Surviving Teen Acne

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As we settle into the final stretch of summer vacation, the new school year awaits at the end of the line – that line of course being the final week (or so) of August. With that, kids head back to the school, and with that the anxiety of being around peers each and every day starts to set in. They’ve got their new bag, some new outfits, new gadgets, and, somewhere along the line, they’ve developed a healthy dose of acne. Rest assured, they’re not alone. We all want to look our best, and as we approach or are in the throes of the teen years, acne is prevalent and searching for a means to remediate the issue can consume us. Heck, the fascination with acne is real, just ask Dr. Sandra Lee and the millions and millions of views she gets every month on her pimple popping YouTube channel.

But anyhow, in the spirit of heading back to school, we thought we’d share a piece the American Academy of Dermatology shared on their website. It’s geared towards the parents out there who are also affected by their child’s “battle” with acne.

That piece?

“5 Ways to Help Your Teenager Survive Acne”

And in the midst of all this, you’re actually helping yourself survive the struggle that ensues as well…

Without further ado:

“Having any type of acne (pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, or acne cysts) can feel devastating for a teenager.

Just when our appearance becomes so important and we want to look our best, acne can begin. Some teens seem unfazed by acne. For most teenagers, however, this especially visible skin problem can be upsetting.

If your teenager seems upset by acne, here’s how you can help:

Take acne seriously. Telling your teen that the pimples, blackheads, and other blemishes will eventually clear on their own may do more harm than good. While waiting for acne to clear on its own, your teen’s self-esteem could plummet. Many studies show that having acne tends to lower self-esteem.

Kids who have acne can also be bullied. Classmates may call them names like “pizza face” or “crater face.” They may tell them to wash their face. Bullying can also lower self-esteem.

Studies show that self-esteem rises when acne clears. Treatment can help clear acne.

Treating acne now can also prevent acne from worsening. Without treatment, acne sometimes becomes severe. When severe acne clears, it can leave permanent acne scars.

Be cautious about reminding your teen to use acne treatment. For treatment to work, your teen must use it. To help, you may want to remind your teen to use the acne treatment. Do this cautiously.

In a small study, dermatologists found that when parents reminded their teens every day to use their acne medicine, the approach backfired. The teens said the daily reminders felt like “nagging.” This caused the teens to use their acne treatment less often.

Fewer reminders from parents may be more effective.

What may help is to keep all of your teen’s dermatology appointments. Studies show that most people, including teenagers, are more likely to follow a treatment plan right before — and after — an appointment.

Try to reduce stress. During the teenage years, just about everything can seem stressful. That said, anything you can do to reduce stressful situations can help. Stress can cause acne to flare.

Watch for signs of depression. Having acne can affect how teens — and even adults — feel about themselves. Many studies have shown that having acne can lead to depression, anxiety, or both. The longer one has acne, the more likely these problems are to occur.

Studies have also found that clearing acne can relieve depression and anxiety.

Because depression can have such a devastating effect on one’s life, it’s important for parents to recognize the signs, which may include:

  • Sadness that lasts for 2 weeks or longer
  • Loss of interest in activities that your teen once enjoyed
  • Tendency to avoid social activities, even with people their own age

If you notice any of these behaviors while your teen has acne, it may be time to see a dermatologist for acne treatment. Thanks to advances in treatment, virtually every case of acne can be successfully treated.

Let your teen meet with the dermatologist alone. If your teen sees a dermatologist, giving your teen time alone with the dermatologist can help everyone. It allows the dermatologist to find out want your teen wants and create a bond. This can be a lot harder to do when a parent is in the exam room.

Most teenagers get acne. If the acne upsets them, having someone who can help them see clearer skin is sure to be appreciated.”

How Is Teen Acne Treated?

It’s important to treat acne early (and properly) to prevent the development of scarring. There are a wide range of acne treatments available. We here at Dermatology & Skin Health can personally 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.
  • 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.

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.

The best first step is to schedule a consultation with us today and we’ll help your child look their best as school sets in and the bell tolls.

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