Each year roughly 85% of teens are affected by acne vulgaris. Acne is triggered by the hormonal changes which increase the skin’s oil production during puberty. Excess oil mixes with dead skin cells on the body that then clog pores and trap bacteria inside. The familiar eruption ensues: everything from small bumps and blackheads to severe and painful acne. To keep the damage to a minimum, it is important to remember that you want to address your or your teenager’s acne as early as possible.
My advice: if your teen has large, red pimples that cause pain, over-the-counter treatments aren’t going to be sufficiently effective and they should really see a dermatologist. However, for other types of blemishes, one can start with an over-the-counter acne treatment first. I also always remind people that every teen going through this period of their life can benefit from a face wash containing some type of acne-fighting medication. And, that teen patient needs to be regimented about it, ideally washing their face in the morning and at night, allowing the medicine to do its job in controlling the acne. Salicylic acid helps eliminate dead skin cells that often fuel pimples, benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria, and glycolic acid removes oil and dirt from your skin. When breakouts do occur, I always tell my patients to avoid picking at or squeezing inflamed pimples as this can introduce more bacteria to the irritated area, making acne even worse and possibly leaving scars.
Every teen reacts differently to their acne. While some may feel self-conscious, others might hardly even notice it. Either way, it’s important to take it seriously and work with a dermatologist to find the right balance of products and treatments that will help clear their skin and prevent scarring.
What about adult acne? Typically adults outgrow acne, but about 12% of women and nearly 5% of men may still have acne even into their late 40s.
Thanks to chronic stress and hormonal changes that come with aging, we are seeing even more adult acne. In addition, our skin cell turnover rate slows with age, increasing the time it takes for skin to heal from breakouts. Furthermore, adult acne is often linked to hormonal fluctuations, which are more common among women; their breakouts tend to be inflammatory and predominantly located around their mouth, chin and jawline.
Our goal, whether we’re helping you or your teen, is to identify the best skin care products, treatments, procedures, and medications to help you manage, control and clear acne. If you or your teen are experiencing acne, please do not hesitate to call our office at (770) 452-5667 to schedule an appointment.