There’s no way around it—the teenage years can bring some additional difficulties. The stress and hormonal changes can bring some uncomfortable changes and a key example is teenage acne.
Most of us experience our first pimples during puberty, and acne often continues through the teenage years. In fact, approximately 85% of teenagers will deal with acne cases ranging from mild (mostly white heads and blackheads with the occasional papule or pustule) to severe (numerous papules, pustules and cysts accompanied by inflammation and possible scarring).
Although other factors play a role (diet, hygiene, environment), the primary cause of teenage acne is hormonal change. So, if the main cause of teenage acne is internal, a natural process we have no control over, what can we do to help stave off the side effects of this troublesome skin condition? There are some steps in helping to alleviate acne.
Step 1: Find an Acne-Fighting Cleanser for Your Skin Type
One of the biggest mistakes of many teens trying to combat acne is to use overly harsh cleansers that dry out the skin. While it’s true that too much oil production contributes to clogged pores and acne lesions, an overly dry and compromised skin barrier may also result in the growth of acne-causing bacteria, as well as inflammation and an excess of dead skin cells, which can clog pores.
The trick is to wash your face twice a day with a cleanser that is gentle yet effective at addressing the underlying causes of acne formation. If your acne is primarily whiteheads and blackheads, then you’ll want to find a cleanser with salicylic acid. If you have papules and cysts, then you should use a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide. Begin with over the counter cleansers to start.
Step 2: Support Skin Health with Acne Treatment Products
In addition to cleansing your skin daily, using products such as Retexture Weekly Peel Pads (which contain high concentrations of hydroxy acids to exfoliate the skin and deliver antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits) and Reveal Glycolic 10 (a lightweight gel that offers daily exfoliation, clears pores, and supports balanced oil production) can cultivate a healthy complexion that is more resilient to acne in the future.
You can also spot treat acne with a benzoyl peroxide cream, particularly those pimples that emerge.
Step 3: Avoid Picking and Popping Your Acne
While it can bring temporary relief to pick and pop active pimples, doing so can trigger the formation of new acne breakouts as well as cause inflammation and scarring. Instead, it is best to treat your breakouts with skincare products and wait for them to shrink and go away naturally.
Even with a hands-off approach, when acne heals it can leave temporary discoloration, or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Lightweight, non-acnegenic sunscreens, such as EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 or VanguardMD Sheer Tinted SPF 46, provide UV protection for healing skin and can help reduce the chance of PIH.
Step 4: Avoid Prolonged Facial Contact with Personal Items
Friction and pressure on the skin can worsen acne breakouts. For this reason, it is best to avoid activity that results in prolonged contact with the skin, such as holding your phone to your cheek, wearing large headphones, and resting your face in your hands. Avoiding these activities can go a long way in reducing future breakouts and expediting the healing of current acne.
Vanguard aesthetic nurse, Mandy Brown, RN, has a set of best practices for sleeping to maintain a clear complexion as well. She says, “I always recommend using a silk pillowcase, changing it weekly or more often, and sleeping with long hair pulled back and away from the face.”
Step 5: Consult a Skincare Professional for Higher-Level Acne Treatments
If treating acne on your own seems like too much, or if you’ve struggled in the past and need some guidance, it’s always best to speak with a skincare professional who can help you better understand the needs of your skin.
If your acne is severe and prolonged, despite your best efforts with consistent over the counter products, then you should see a dermatologist. A dermatologist will have access to strong prescription products whether it is topical or oral medications.
To schedule a dermatology consult for acne, call 719-355-1585 or fill out our online appointment request form today to schedule your first consultation.