SkinCare Physicians

Teen acne: Myths, facts and solutions

Published on Mar 12th, 2015 by Laurel Morton

Teen acne treatment

As children enter adolescence, the majority of them will develop some degree of acne. It can be quite a burden, often affecting young peoples’ self-esteem and their ability to interact with others. In the most severe cases, acne causes permanent scarring. Dr. Laurel Morton of SkinCare Physicians is pleased to share some good news: acne is a very treatable condition!

But first, let’s dispel two really important myths.

Teen acne myth #1:

Acne is caused by dirt and results when the skin is not washed frequently enough. It’s unclear where this myth originated, but the fact is that acne is caused by multiple factors and washing the skin too frequently or too vigorously can cause irritation and actually worsen acne.

Teen acne myth #2:

Topical treatments applied to pimples work immediately to eliminate acne. In truth, some creams may cause pimples to dry out but the best treatment is to prevent acne in the first place.

Now the facts…

Teen acne fact #1:

We do know that there are several contributing factors that make acne development more likely: skin inflammation, certain types of bacteria in hair follicles, excess skin production, and hormone-induced oil production (hello, puberty!). Successful acne treatments attack these contributing factors.

Teen acne fact #2:

Mild cases of acne may be improved with over-the-counter products. Good routines start with medicated facial cleansers and may also include non-prescription creams. Effective regimens may take up to 6-8 weeks to begin to work, so it is important to stick with them.

So what should you do about your teen’s acne?

  • Gently wash the face with medicated acne cleansers that have either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as their active ingredients.  These can be bought over the counter and should be used at least once daily. They can also be used on the chest, arms and back. Benzoyl peroxide is the more effective option and should be used cautiously as it can bleach clothing and towels. In some cases, acne cleansers are irritating for the skin and a lower strength product (such as 3-5% benzoyl peroxide wash) is better to reduce irritation.
  • Apply daily on the entire face a benzoyl peroxide cream or gel as an alternative to medicated washes. This type of cream or gel can be found over-the-counter. Benzoyl peroxide works better at preventing acne before it appears than as a spot treatment and a low percentage, such as 2.5%, can be applied daily (avoid sensitive skin near the eyes). If benzoyl peroxide causes dryness or irritation, apply a gentle moisturizer over the medication. Moisturizers should say ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic’ on the label.
  • It is critical that children not pick at acne or pop pimples. This habit can make the acne worse and also lead to long-term redness, brown discoloration and permanent scarring.
  • When over-the-counter regimens are not sufficient, it may be time to consult your dermatologist. For mild to moderate cases, topical prescription regimens that include benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and topical antibiotics are useful. For more severe cases, your doctor may recommend an oral medication.

Remember that even though acne can be very distressing for young people, it can almost always be effectively treated if teenagers are motivated to stick to a treatment regimen!

Your teen acne is under control, but do you want to know how to get rid of acne scars? Read Frustrated with acne scars? Options exist to get rid of them.

Find Dr. Laurel Morton Google+

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Chestnut Hill, MA (617) 731-1600

SkinCare Physicians®
1244 Boylston Street (Route 9)
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467

Phone: (617) 731-1600 Fax: (617) 731-1601

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SkinCare Physicians®
1244 Boylston Street (Route 9)
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467

Phone: (617) 731-1600 Fax: (617) 731-1601

Medical Website Design & Marketing by Etna Interactive

The dermatologists and other medical professionals at SkinCare Physicians specialize in a wide range of dermatology treatments and services, including laser hair removal, laser skin treatment, hair transplant, eyelid surgery, body contouring, psoriasis, skin cancer, BOTOX® Cosmetic, fillers, and Thermage®. From their offices in Chestnut Hill, they serve Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and Wellesley.