How to Help Your Teenager with Acne

Acne is a condition that teenagers have been dealing with for generations, and while there is no cure for acne, there have been many advancements in how it can be treated, making today’s generation better equipped to deal with the problem.

There are many myths associated with what causes acne. Some believe that diet plays a role, but there is no proven link between eating greasy food or chocolate and the development of acne. Similarly, stress does not cause acne (although it can make it worse).

The reason for the onset of acne for many adolescents is changing hormones. Teenagers develop certain hormones called androgens when they reach puberty. These hormones stimulate the glands in the pores to produce more oils. The excess oils can lead to pores becoming clogged. If a clogged pore becomes infected, a pimple forms. Pimples can come in many forms, but the most common type (and least severe) are blackheads or whiteheads. It is estimated that approximately 85% of all teens develop this form of acne on their face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders.

The most important way to treat acne is to keep your skin clean. Washing your face twice a day with a mild soap and warm water is key, but experts advise against harshly scrubbing the acne-ridden area as that will only irritate the skin and worsen the situation – instead gently blot the area in question.

There are also many effective over-the-counter medications designed to help with this problem. Products that contain benzoyl peroxide have proven to be effective as they reduce oil production and also contain antibacterial properties. Other medications may contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, alpha hydroxyl acid or sulfur,  designed to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells.

If over-the-counter medications prove ineffective a dermatologist can help. A dermatologist can prescribe stronger acne medications and offer a variety of treatment options.

Jamaica Hospital offers dermatology services in its Ambulatory Care Center. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.