Acne in Kids
Kids generally enjoy clear skin until they approach puberty. The Nemours Hospital Network Kids Health website explains that 80 percent of pre-teens will break out in pimples as part of the normal maturing process. This cannot be completely prevented, but youngsters can treat their acne and take simple steps to minimize it.
Acne can start in kids as young as 11 and affects 80 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 30, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, or NIAMS. In some individuals, it can persist throughout adulthood, although this is not as common.
Acne starts around puberty because it can be caused by developing hormones, which boost skin oil production. This oil, called sebum, gets mixed with dead skin cells and blocks hair follicles on the skin either partially or completely. The result can be whiteheads, blackheads, cysts or pimples. Some kids are more prone to getting pimples because of heredity.
Bad hygiene and greasy junk food like french fries and chocolate are often blamed for causing acne, but these claims are unsupported, the NIAMS says. Youngsters may increase their pimple risk by eating starchy snacks like potato chips or bread that affect their blood sugar levels, according to the Mayo Clinic, although research is still assessing that risk.
Kids with acne can fight their pimples with a variety of over-the-counter products. Most come in the form of wipes, pads, lotions and creams. The Mayo Clinic recommends either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as the active ingredient to ensure the product's effectiveness. NIAMS also cites resorcinol and sulfur as good acne fighters. Bad or persistent cases need medical attention. Physicians can prescribe stronger topical medication and, in some cases, antibiotic treatments.
Sweat can trap dirt and oils on the skin, promoting acne outbreaks, the Mayo Clinic advises. Kids should shower after participating in play, sports and other physical activities that cause perspiration. The Mayo Clinic recommends that acne-prone kids wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid tight backpacks and sports equipment that rubs against the skin. Youngsters should never pick their pimples, NIAMS warns, as this can worsen or infect them.
Youngsters often get more self conscious as they move into their teenage years, and the American Academy of Dermatology explains that pimples and acne scarring can affect them emotionally. They may feel anxious or depressed and develop low self esteem if their acne is not controlled.
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