Acne On Little And Not-So-Little Ones
We all remember those days…14-year-old-you is getting ready for school when you notice a huge, red zit strategically located right on the top of your nose. They always seemed to pop up when it was most inconvenient, right? Or maybe you were one of the unlucky few who had acne pretty much all of the time. Well, years have passed, and now that your own skin has (hopefully!) cleared up, you now have a child dealing with it. Read on for tips and tricks for helping your child deal with acne.
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At its most basic, acne is caused by sebum clogging up pores. But how does this substance come about in the first place? And why teens? Well, upon hitting puberty, both boys and girls start producing more androgens, a sex hormone. These cause your oil glands to become larger and to produce more sebum. When they do, they sometimes cause hair follicles and pores to become blocked with skin cells.
Blocked pores are termed either as blackheads (when the clogged pore is open and visible, the black part has been oxidized) or whiteheads (when a clogged pore is covered by skin). If a clogged pore becomes infected, it becomes inflamed, and the result is a pimple.
Acne Treatment for Teens
Remember the tricks you used to try to get rid of pimples fast? Well, today there’s no shortage of over-the-counter treatment options available for your teen. What is the best treatment for teenage acne? That depends. The most common active ingredients in acne products are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid works by penetrating the skin and breaking down all the debris that clogs pores. It’s oil soluble, which makes it ideal for this purpose. It is also an exfoliant. Benzoyl peroxide, however, kills the bacteria responsible.
What about some home remedies for teen acne? There are several behavioral changes your teen can make that may help lessen acne.
- Exfoliate regularly – this helps encourage the rapid turnover of skin cells and can help with acne. Only use skin care products that are labeled “non-comedogenic”. This means that they won’t clog pores.
- Reduce stress – multiple studies have found a connection between stress and acne breakouts.
- Exercise regularly – exercise has been shown to decrease stress and regulate hormones production, both of which can help with acne.
If over-the-counter treatments and home remedies fail, it’s time to seek out a dermatologist. They can prescribe prescription strength treatments. These may contain higher concentrations of the active ingredients found in drugstore brands. Or they may prescribe antibiotics or birth control pills to help attack the root of the problem (infection or hormones).
Yes, even babies can get acne! This most commonly affects newborns, although young infants may still have acne. Termed neonatal acne, its cause is not entirely clear, but experts think it may be a lingering remnant of the mother’s hormones in the baby’s system. Of course, treatment of baby acne looks a lot different than the treatment of teen acne. It should clear up in a few weeks or months, but in the meantime, do not use harsh products or lotions on your baby’s face, do not scrub or overwash your baby’s face, and gently pat dry after baths.
For more advice, check out our MVP blog section on our website.