If your child is going through teenage years, chances are pretty good that they have some acne. Almost 8 in 10 teens have acne, as do many adults. Acne is so common that it’s considered a normal part of puberty. But knowing that doesn’t ever make it easier that you wake up every morning with a big zit or that your child feels that they look bad because of the spots and blemishes. So what should you know about it?
What Is Acne and What Causes It?
Acne is a condition of the skin that shows up as different types of bumps. They can be blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or cysts. Most teens get acne because of the hormonal changes that are a very normal part of puberty. If you have gone through acne, chances are that your children will too. The good news is that, for most people, acne goes away almost completely by the time they are out of their teens.
Acne Vulgaris in teenage years
The type of acne that a lot of teens get is called acne vulgaris. It usually shows up on the face, neck, shoulders, upper back, and chest. Now what happens in your body for these to pop out?
The hair follicles, or pores, in your skin contain sebaceous glands (oil glands). These glands make sebum, which is an oil that lubricates your hair and skin. These glands almost always have the right amount of oil but as the child grows and develops, they may make more sebum and these can clog pores. Dead skin cells can contribute to this too. Bacteria can then get trapped inside these pores and multiply. This can cause swelling and redness, which is how acne begins.
What can you do about acne?
- To help prevent the oil buildup that can contribute to acne, tell your teenager to wash their face once or twice a day with a mild soap and warm water. It is not advisable for them to scrub their face hard with a washcloth and in any case acne can’t be scrubbed away, and scrubbing may actually make it worse by irritating the skin and pores. Get them to cleanse their face as gently as they can.
- Makeup and sunscreen or skin products they use should be noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic and dermatologically tested.
- Tell them to avoid harsh sun as it worsens acne.
- Any hairspray and gel that they use should not get on their face as it can clog pores.
- Ask them to avoid any acne trigger foods – the usual culprits are sugar, oil and any processed foods.
- Give them foods rich in antioxidants to clear up skin.
- Check with a doctor if you believe that they may be having hormonal imbalances.