Ranging in severity from mild (just a few pimples, blackheads or whiteheads) to severe (large areas of blemishes), acne is the most common skin condition in the US. While it is very common, it can still have a strong psychological mark on teens that leaves lasting scars, both figuratively and physically. Let’s touch on the tips and treatments to get clearer skin for teens (& adults, too!).
Tips for Acne Prevention- there are a variety of ways to prevent acne, depending on what is causing or aggravating the acne. Top tips include:
*Use an exfoliating cleanser containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, making it ideal for penetrating the skin’s sebum (natural oils) to “unglue” the dead skin cells, sweat & oils clogging up the pore.
*Wash the face twice a day and after sweating. Sometimes people do not cleanse enough, and other times they over-clean. Washing your face too much can lead to dry skin, which tells the body to produce MORE oil. Not cleansing often enough can lead to clogged pores, leading to acne.
*Keep athletic gear clean. In teens, acne commonly erupts in places where sweaty athletic equipment & clothing constantly rubs up against skin. Friction + bacteria + sweaty, moist environment = acne breakouts. Encourage your teen to wipe down helmets, shoulder pads & other gear and to always wear clean workout clothing.
Tips for Active Acne Breakouts – is your teen in the middle of a breakout right now? Top tips include:
*Be gentle with the skin. A common reaction to acne is to over-exfoliate with harsh exfoliating particles and to rub or brush the skin aggressively. This will actually irritate the skin, making the acne more inflamed (meaning, worse!). Use a gentle, chemical exfoliating cleanser and do not be too aggressive when applying it.
*Try hard not to pick or pop pimples. Not only can this spread the bacteria to nearby pores (= more acne) but can lead to deep scars and hyperpigmentation which is often hard to get rid of.
*Treat it! Sometimes acne is seen as a “let it be until it goes away” skin problem. There are a variety of OTC options for treating acne that will help the lesions to go away faster and/or be less irritated and inflamed.
At Home Treatments
*Benzoyl Peroxide – this is a classic acne-fighting ingredient that is proven to clear skin. Do note, however, that it may bring out any breakouts that were lying in wait first and that it may discolor towels or clothing.
*Salicylic Acid – a great, oil-soluble, gently exfoliant to clear out oily skin & clogged pores
*Clay- a natural ingredient that draws out the oils & dirt from skin. Commonly found as a facial mask.
*Tea tree oil – an antimicrobial & antiseptic natural oil that can destroy p. acnes (the bacteria that causes acne). Please note that this oil can be irritating to skin; we recommend finding a product containing this oil rather than applying it directly to your skin.
*Salicylic Acid peel – using a higher concentration of the acne-fighting salicylic acid, this peel can do a deeper cleanse of the pores than OTC facial products can do
*VI Peel – this medium-depth peel will not only clear out skin but also improve the appearance of any existing acne scars or hyperpigmentation.
*Microdermabrasion – while not ideal for active acne lesions (may be too aggressive & irritating to skin), it is great for maintaining clear skin by doing a deep, physical exfoliation of the skin using tiny particles.
For More Information:
Dermatology Times: “Alternative Treatments for Acne”
American Academy of Dermatology: Acne