As many teens will attest, teenage acne is one of the worst aspects they have to face when becoming a teenager. The big problem is that when a teen goes through puberty, hormone production increases greatly and one of the hormones called androgen is behind much of the angst. Androgen stimulates the sebaceous glands so they become bigger and produce more sebum. This means an overgrowth of sebum. In addition, teens shed skin faster during puberty so dead skin cells together with sebum can block the skin pores all too easily and is why the vast majority of teens will get acne to a greater or lesser degree. If and when bacteria gets trapped in those blocked skin pores, it can multiply and cause swelling and redness and you have acne, showing up as different types of bumps – blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cysts. Teen acne is so common that it is considered to be a normal part of puberty but if you are the one suffering from it, that information is not very helpful.
The good news is that research on skin conditions such as acne has made great strides in the past 10 years, with more treatment options for acne available. Do your own research because these options can vary from toxic and even dangerous medications with harsh side effects to gentle and natural treatments:
- Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and help to unplug follicles. Although retinoids can irritate skin, there are new versions made for different skin types that may be less irritating.
- Combination treatments are popular. Many doctors will prescribe a topical retinoid alongside a topical antimicrobial or an oral antibiotic to fight bacteria. There are combination creams where the cleansing agent benzoyl peroxide and the antibiotic clindamycin are combined in one product.
- Prescribing oral contraceptives for teenage girls with acne is another method of treatment because at low doses, some types of birth control pills may help clear acne. This is a controversial treatment with many feeling uneasy about its use.
- Oral isotretinoin is occasionally used in severe cases that have not responded to other medications. However, this drug has been associated with depression and suicidal thoughts which is really a very worrying side effect when you are treating a teen who might already be withdrawn and suffering from low self esteem. Patients who are prescribed this dangerous substance are closely followed for any changes in mood while blood tests monitor any potential adverse effects, such as elevated cholesterol levels.
- Essential oils are also used in their pure form to provide a natural and safe acne treatment. H-Acne is specially formulated to treat the symptoms of acne and pimples safely, gently and successfully. There are no harsh chemicals or additives.
Apart from actual acne treatment, teens with acne can do much themselves to help the condition by following these simple tips on a daily basis:
- Drink lots of water instead of sodas. Water is perfect for flushing out all those impurities that cause blocked pores.
- Sunlight is another good treatment for acne but not too much that you burn. 20 minutes or so of sun every day is ideal, remembering that the darker your skin, the more you need. Don't put sun blocks on your skin because they will add to the problem. If there is no sun available, top up with a vitamin D supplement. A multi-vitamin taken every day is good to give your skin extra nutrition.
- Reduce your stress levels and make sure you get a good night's sleep every night.
- Your cleansing routine is very important as cleaning your face twice a day will get rid of any bacteria on the skin's surface. Use a natural non soap cleanser gently to get rid of the extra sebum, the dead cells and any other debris. Always remove all traces of make up before going to bed and if you do use cosmetics, look for water based products rather than those that contain oil or petroleum. Natural make up products are best. Make sure face cloths and towels are scrupulously clean.
- Keep long hair or bangs off the face and wash your hair frequently.
- A healthy diet should include fresh fruits and vegetables because all the antioxidants they contain will give your immune system a boost, strengthening your protection against teen acne while exercising regularly will stimulate the release of serotonin which helps alleviate stress and rids the body of waste and toxic materials.
It is important to treat teen acne as early as possible because it can cause embarrassment and affect self-confidence. In severe cases, a teen might avoid school and withdraw from all social interacting.