Teenage Acne Help
If you feel bombarded by blackheads and pimples, you're not alone. According to the Nemours Foundation, almost eight in 10 teenagers have acne, likely due to hormonal changes that occur during puberty. No matter how severe your acne is, you can help keep it under control if you understand how it forms, follow a basic skincare regimen and talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Acne occurs when or pores become plugged with oil and dead skin cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. Plugs that cause the follicle wall to bulge can produce whiteheads and plugs that are open to the surface may darken to form blackheads. Deep inflamed or infected blockages form pimples and deeper, more inflamed follicles form cysts, says the Mayo Clinic.
Although some claims suggest that greasy foods and chocolate can cause acne, the Mayo Clinic says that these foods typically have little effect on it. Dirt also doesn't cause acne. In fact, scrubbing too harshly or washing too frequently can aggravate acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. Another claim is that getting a tan can improve acne. Although a tan may mask acne temporarily, it can actually worsen acne because overexposure to the sun can increase oil production on the skin, according to the Nemours Foundation.
Gently wash your face once to twice a day with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil, and shampoo every day if your hair is oily to reduce hair oil coming into contact with your skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Also, wear only cosmetics that are labeled "nonacnegenic" or "noncomedogenic," which means that they are oil-free and they shouldn't cause pimples, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you continue to have outbreaks, the Mayo Clinic recommends applying an over-the-counter lotion that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help dry up excess oil and promote skin peeling.
When to Make a Doctor's Appointment
If you have inflamed cysts or persistent pimples, or if your acne and acne scars are hampering your self-esteem and social relationships, the Mayo Clinic recommends talking to a dermatologist. He may be able to prescribe a medication or treatment that will help control your acne or diminish your scars.
Drugs and Treatments
Your dermatologist may prescribe a topical medication or an oral medication and she may recommend light therapy or a cosmetic procedure such as skin peels or microdermabrasion. Prescription topical medications are stronger than over-the-counter lotions; common prescription oral medications include: antibiotics to fight bacteria, oral contraceptives to regulate a female's hormones and a potent medication called isotretinoin to fight the most severe cases. Although prescription acne treatments are more effective than over-the-counter lotions, they may temporarily cause skin to worsen before it improves and their results may not come for up to eight weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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