The primary causes of acne in the pre-teen and teen years is hormonal fluctuations associated with puberty (yes those fabulous teen hormones strike again)! These surges in hormones cause an increase in oil production leading to
bacterial growth that when combined with a poor skin care or lack of skin exfoliation creates clogged pores. The body senses this “enemy” and mounts an immune response to get rid of the pore “invader” thus creating redness, inflammation and pus a.k.a. the dreaded pimple! There are numerous topical and oral treatments aimed at these factors but controlling raging teen hormones is not so easy – as if this is a surprise to anyone who has ever been a teenager or had to deal with one!
When treating teen acne it is important to consider medical intervention as quickly as possible, to prevent worsening and permanent scarring. Plus teens are usually more willing to listen to the advice of anyone other than their parent!
The first thing to teach your teen is the importance of a healthy skin care regimen. A good skin care routine will include steps to decrease excess oil, exfoliate the skin, moisturize, and decrease inflammation and bacteria but most importantly not “picking, pinching or popping” pimples. The best products to include in their routine are those containing Retin-A, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid and glycolic acid.
Moisturizers with anti-inflammatory agents, such as green tea extracts, or medical grade products are best. They are non-comonogenic, free of heavy oils, and most will have acne fighting botanicals with anti-inflammatory agents, as well.
Other medical treatments may be helpful, such as chemical peels, acne facials, Blu-U® Light treatments, lasers, and Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) which is an alternative to Accutane. With the combination of topical and in-office treatments, teen acne can be managed and long-term effects can be avoided.
If scarring has already occurred then laser treatments are extremely beneficial at minimizing the depth and severity of the scarring. Earlier intervention is best, since more youthful collagen cells respond better to laser stimulation, thus providing the best chance of eliminating the scars appearance.