Adolescent Acne Treatment
Acne is a scourge of self-conscious adolescents who agonize over the effect a pimple can have on their social lives. It's a very noticeable problem, but it has numerous available treatments. Adolescents can get a wide variety of acne-fighting products right at the drug store, and doctors can prescribe remedies for the most resistant cases.
Adolescent acne treatment is big business because 80 percent of teenagers struggle with these skin lesions at some point during and after puberty, the Nemours health network explains. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) explains it usually resolves itself by age 25, though it can continue for most of a person's life. Adults generally use the same type of treatments as adolescents.
Effective acne treatments for adolescents must get at the root causes of the problem. AAFP explains the primary cause is excess oil production by glands on the skin, which often happens when hormones change during puberty. Dead skin cells contribute to the problem by joining the oil to plug up hair follicles, which causes a pimple to form. Bacteria may grow in the follicle and worsen the acne.
Most adolescents can control their acne with home treatments. AAFP cites benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid as the two main ingredients in over-the-counter products. They help to dry the oil and peel away the affected skin, as well as killing bacteria. They are easy for teenagers to use because they come in convenient forms like lotions, medicated pads, soaps, lotions and gels.
Adolescent acne that does not respond to those treatments may need a prescription cream containing retinoids, according to AAFP. Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to vanquish the acne-worsening bacteria. Isotretinoin is an oral treatment reserved for the worst cases because it can have nasty side effects, including depression and an increased tendency to commit suicide. The Mayo Clinic states it is usually used for deep cystic acne which carries a high risk of scarring.
AAFP advises patience when treating adolescent acne because it can take quite a while for common remedies to work. A doctor should be consulted if home remedies don't lead to noticeable improvement within eight weeks.
Certain actions can nullify the effects of acne treatments or cause further problems, AAFP warns. Pimples should not be scrubbed because vigorous washing can worsen them. The affected area should be washed with water and mild cleanser no more than twice per day. Picking or popping skin lesions can irritate them and cause infections and permanent scarring.
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