Teen Acne: What Parents Need To Know
As a parent, acne is a problem which rarely, if ever, crosses your mind anymore. But if you have teenage kids, it’s something you definitely should be thinking about…
Some adults brush it off as just being a normal part of growing up. Well normal or not, that doesn’t lessen the emotional pain acne can cause a child. In hindsight, most adults would agree the teen years are some of the most arduous, intimidating, and confusing of their lives. Having acne doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, severe teen acne has been linked to depression and suicide attempts. Even when it’s relatively mild, acne can have a major impact on a person’s self-esteem. As a parent, that’s why it’s so important to not ignore this issue.
Teen Acne Treatment Plan
Although there is no cure for acne, fortunately modern medicine has provided us with a plethora of options for treating this skin condition. Below are a few of the most popular treatments, from least to most intensive:
Salicylic Acid Cleanser: Salicylic acid is the most common active ingredient in over-the-counter acne products. Stroll down the skin care aisle of any drugstore and you will see at least a dozen facial washes which uses this ingredient.
Salicylic Acid Cream: When the cleanser alone isn’t cutting it, adding a salicylic acid cream to the mix may help. Nowadays most acne creams and gels use this as their active ingredient. In the US, a 2% strength is the highest you can get without a prescription.
Glycolic Cleanser: A step up from salicylic acid, glycolic cleanser uses an even stronger acid to remove dirt and oil from the skin. It typically comes in concentrations ranging from 5 to 20% glycolic acid. However with increased strength comes greater irritation; therefore glycolic cleanser is not for everyone.
Benzoyl Peroxide Cream: This is the second most common active ingredient used in over-the-counter products. One drawback of this ingredient is that it often stops working after a few months. Many users also complain of excessive drying while using this treatment.
Rx Creams & Washes: There are a wide array of topical products which are prescription only, such as Retin-A Micro, Differin, Tazorac, and many others.
Acne Lasers: This treatment can be an effective way to clear up current breakout, as well as address past acne scars.
Antibiotics: There are a number of oral antibiotics which are known to help with acne.
Accutane: This is a very brutal drug whose possible side effects include gastrointestinal pain, permanent liver damage, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, birth defects, and temporary or permanent hair loss.
Teen Acne Scar Treatment Plan
Chemical Peels: Old acne scars can be diminished by exfoliating the top layer of the skin. One way to speed up this process is with the help of chemical peels. There are versions which can be used at home, as well as professional peels which are done at a doctor’s office.
Kojic Acid: Alternately, one way to minimize hyperpigmentation is by using a skin lightening spot treatment. Kojic acid is one such ingredient which is very popular for treating dark spots and pigmentation abnormalities. You can find kojic acid products online or at beauty supply stores like Sephora.
Scar Lasers: As mentioned above, dermatological lasers can be very effective at treating acne scars.
In order to determine which of the above treatment(s) would be best for your son or daughter, a consultation with a dermatologist is a must. That way you, your child, and the doctor can make an informed and educated decision together.