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Acne Basics For Teens

What Can I Do About My Acne?

McKenzie Pediatrics 2019

What Is Acne?

Acne is a part of growing up. Nine out of ten teenagers will face acne (pun intended!). While acne can be embarrassing, it usually doesn’t last into adulthood. Only rarely does it cause scarring. Girls and boys suffer from acne equally, though it usually starts in girls at an earlier age.

Acne usually occurs on the face, neck, shoulders, and sometimes the upper back. It is usually worse in the winter. Acne cannot be scrubbed away!

Acne is caused by overactive oil glands in the skin that become plugged, due to an increased level of hormones during the teen years once puberty begins. When the glands are plugged they often also become infected by bacteria called Propionibacter.

Acne has no cure, but there are many things teens can do to reduce the number of zits, and limit or prevent the formation of scars.

Acne Is Not Caused By:  Junk foods, poor hygiene, dirt, sexual activity (or lack of!)

Acne Is Made Worse By:  Oil-based cosmetics, picking your face, stress, anabolic steroids, long oily hair, skin lotions & creams, greasy hands & air (fast food restaurants), lanolin, sesame oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, coconut butter, vegetable oil, and sunscreens.

Young women will often notice that their acne worsens just before their menstrual periods.

What Are The Different Kinds of Zits?

Is My Acne Mild, Moderate or Severe?

The Must-Do’s of Daily Acne Care:

What’s The Next Step?

If Benzoyl Peroxide alone isn’t helping, a topical retinoid will be prescribed. Tretinoin is the usual first choice, but if the use of Tretinoin causes intolerable redness, peeling, burning, and/or itching your prescription may be changed to Retin-A Micro™ (0.04% or 0.1%) or Differin™ (0.1%...generic name Adapalene). Instructions for retinoid use are as follows:

What Else?

If your acne is clearly heavily infected, with lots of nodulocystic lesions, your physician may recommend that in addition to your topical retinoid therapy that in place of just Benzoyl Peroxide you use a prescription combination product of BP with an antibiotic. Brands include Benzaclin™, Duac™, and Benzamycin™. These must be used twice daily. On occasion, an oral antibiotic will be prescribed, such as Minocycline, Doxycycline or Tetracycline, to be taken twice daily in addition to the retinoid and BPO, for no longer than 8-12 weeks.

If nothing is working, and your acne is severe, you may be referred to a dermatologist for more advanced (and more risky) treatment, such as Accutane™. Females may also be considered for oral contraceptive therapy, which can help improve severe acne.