For many kids and teenagers heading into puberty, one of the most challenging hurdles is adapting to changes in their skin. As a parent, watching your child struggle with the myriad of physical and mental changes during puberty can be challenging, especially when a child is suffering from confidence bashing acne. Unfortunately, studies have found a heritability estimate ranging from 50-90% for acne, meaning that if you once suffered from this condition, it is more than likely that your child will too.
So, how exactly can you, as a parent help your child survive acne? The good news is that acne (and a myriad of other teenage skin conditions) is treatable with a variety of lifestyle changes, remedies and specialised treatments such as our brand new Teens Express Facial, but more about that later on.
What Is Teenage Acne?
Acne vulgaris is caused by overactive oil glands in the skin and a buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, which leads to inflammation (swelling and redness) in the pores. It affects about 85% of teenagers and young adults, though it is more commonly seen in adolescent boys due to an increase in testosterone during puberty.
In both boys and girls, oil glands get stimulated when hormones become active during puberty. This often causes oil production to go haywire and prevents skin cells from shedding as quickly as they should—it’s a perfect storm of clogged pores leading to breakouts. Pimples usually pop up on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Because the tendency to develop acne is partly hereditary, if you or anyone else in the family haad (or have) acne, your child may be likely to have it too.
The Effect Of Acne On Teenage Self Esteem & Mental Health
Aside from permanent scarring, acne is not considered a serious physical health risk. However, acne can severely damage self esteem in teenagers and may even lead to increased risk of depression, anxiety and poor self-image. In a time where mental health conditions are at an all time high amongst children and teenagers, the impacts of acne certainly cannot be overlooked. Studies have found that the longer a teenager has acne, the more likely these problems are to occur.
Because depression and anxiety can have such a devastating effect on one’s life, it is vital that parents recognise the signs, which may include:
- Sadness that lasts for two weeks or longer;
- A loss of interest in activities that your teen once enjoyed;
- Trouble concentrating and solving everyday problems;
- Sleeping problems (oversleeping or insomnia);
- Changes in appetite or weight;
- Tendency to avoid social activities, even amongst peers; and
- Negative thoughts that are hard to ignore, including thoughts about self-harm, death or suicide.
If you notice any of these behaviours while your teen has acne, it is so important that you seek help from a mental health professional immediately. Additionally, you should also consider seeing a dermatologist or specialised clinician for acne treatment. Thanks to advances in treatment, virtually every case of acne can be successfully treated.
Common Acne Triggers In Kids and Teens
Although specific triggers for acne differ for each individual, there are a few factors that may contribute to a higher chance of developing acne, including:
Makeup & Skin Products: It is so important for teens to pay attention to what they put on their skin, especially during puberty. Because the skin is highly sensitive and acne-prone in the adolescent years, most dermatologists suggest reading labels and understanding what to avoid, including anything oil-based, and only buying items specified as non-comedogenic.
Food: Acne is strongly associated with eating a Western-style diet rich in fat, refined carbohydrates and calories. As such, a diet heavy in foods such as chocolate, soft drinks, burgers and fried foods increase acne risk. Of course, avoiding certain foods can be difficult, especially for picky teenagers, but there is a growing consensus that processed, high GI foods, are some of the biggest culprits to trigger acne flares.
Additionally, any dairy, such as skimmed milk, yoghurt, and cheese have been linked to an increase in acne in individuals aged 7–30 years.
Face Touching: Thanks to the pandemic, many of us have been made aware of the downsides of excessive face touching. Aside from transmitting viruses, frequent face touching is also one of the leading triggers that transfer bacteria from your hands to the skin, potentially making acne worse. Additionally, scratching, squeezing or popping pimples may cause further inflammation that leads to permanent scarring down the road.
Acne Treatment For Teens and Kids
Thankfully, there are a number of different (and highly effective) treatments for acne in kids and teenagers. Some of the most popular treatment options include:
Over The Counter Products
Although by no means a panacea for acne, there are indeed some effective and high quality OTC products that work to help clear up acne for some teens. The most important thing to note about OTC products is that it may take time to find one that works best for your teen — some may irritate the skin and others may not work at all. Many acne products also come in different strengths, and finding the perfect one can be challenging at times.
Generally, the most popular and effective OTC acne-fighting ingredients are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. It may take time to find one that works best for you — some may not help and others may irritate skin. OTC acne products come in different strengths. The most popular and effective OTC acne-fighting ingredient is benzoyl peroxide. Another ingredient, salicylic acid, can help dry up pimples. Whatever treatment you decide to use, give it at least 10-12 weeks to see results.
Prescription Topical Treatments
A dermatologist may be able to prescribe your teen topical treatments, including adapalene, antibiotics, azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, dapsone, tazarotene, and tretinoin. For teenagers with moderate to severe acne, doctors may also prescribe oral antibiotics in addition to topical medication. As always, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced dermatologist and GP to find out more about how you can help your teenager overcome acne.
There are a variety of in-office treatments to help combat teenage acne, including intralesional cortisone injections, light therapy, skin needling, chemical peels, laser therapy and our newest ‘Teens Express Facial’. To avoid the possibility of scarring, pigmentation, or other skin damage, it is very important that these treatments are administered by a licensed skin care professional.
Introducing The Teens Express Facial
Our brand new Teens Express Facial is an intensive deep cleansing treatment that uses the latest technology to dissolve skin congestion and unclog pores to achieve smooth, clear and clean skin. Ideal for teenage and problem skin, this treatment aims to assist in reducing inflammation and start treating any acne, rosacea and sensitive skin.
Included in the package is a 40 minute skin consultation followed by a 30 minute facial for only $99 each (minimum purchase of 3). Clients who purchase 3 treatments will also receive 3 x Lira Clinical Mini Cleansers, Scrub and SPF.
Parents and guardians are welcome to attend consultations and treatments. Find out more by contacting us today.
It is no secret that the teenage years are often considered the toughest in a person’s life. Your teen may be experiencing a number of physical changes, as well as social and psychological ones. Emotions are heightened during this time and the problem of acne makes this phase that much more challenging for adolescents and young adults. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Our expert team of clinicians are equipped with all the skills and experience to help transform your teen’s skin for the better.
Contact Victorian Dermal Clinics Melbourne to find out more or to book a skincare consultation for your beloved teen today.