Acne can be one of the biggest personal issues your child faces as a teenager. It can cause low self-esteem at a difficult time in a teenager's life and may also lead to your child being teased and perhaps even bullied.
Acne normally starts with the onset of puberty. Testosterone tells the sebaceous glands to produce sebum. Excess sebum causes an obstruction of the hair follicle and then bacteria build up causing inflammation. The sebaceous glands are mainly concentrated around the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders.
Teenage Spots or Acne?
How you need to respond depends on the level of the problem and how your child is reacting to it. More or less every teenager will have some spots during puberty, but acne is much worse for some children than others. The duration of the problem can also vary greatly from teenager to teenager.
Even if your child has only a few spots now and then, but they find it upsetting, your support will help them greatly. Above all else your child needs reassurance about how they look.
Basic Hygiene Tips for Controlling Acne
Basic hygiene is a good place to start. The face should be washed twice a day with soap and water. Be careful what type of soap is used. The perfumes and chemicals in many soaps can make the situation worse. Always use a clean towel to dry the face.
It is easy to spread around the bacteria involved in acne. Therefore it is important not to pick or squeeze the spots. Picking and squeezing can also lead to scarring.
If you have a son suffering from acne using an electric razor can also help to reduce the spread of the bacteria when compared to wet shaving.
Girls may have to take care with the make-up they use. It is possible some types of make-up will trigger acne outbreaks while others will have no impact.
The Hidden Problem of Acne
The biggest problem with acne is not how it looks, but the psychological impact it can have on your child. Acne can be at the root cause of bad moods, low self esteem and even depression.
Although it can hit teenagers hardest who appear to be more interested in the way they look, don't be fooled. Even if your child shows a lack of interest in their appearance there is a good chance that there will be an impact on confidence.
It can be worse if your child reaches puberty before their peers. This means that they will be the only one in their friendship group going through this difficult stage.
Why Acting Early is Important
There are two reasons why acting early is important. The first is that acne can lead to scarring. The chances of this happening increase if acne is allowed to progress and the spots become larger in size and slower to heal.
The second issue is that the sooner you can give emotional support to your teenager the better.
Talking to Your Teenage About Acne
Acne can be a very sensitive subject. Therefore talking to your teenager about it is a difficult thing to do. If acne is damaging their self esteem they may not be able to raise the subject with you.
Another issue is that they may feel that it is somehow wrong to be concerned about the way they look. This is especially true for boys. This can also make it harder for them to be the one that starts a conversation about the subject.
Whether your child starts the conversation or if you do, tread very carefully. It may be that they are not overly concerned about it. Therefore raising the issue can knock their confidence.
One Way to Start the Conversation
One way you could consider approaching it is to suggest that they let you know if their spots reach a point where it is bothering them. Say that if it gets to that stage you can pick something up from the chemist that may help or that you will arrange a doctor's appointment for them.
Although this makes them aware their acne is noticeable, it should be gentle enough not to undermine confidence that may already be fragile. Your teenager may be relieved that you have stepped in to help and you have saved them from having to raise the issue.
There are plenty of over the counter solutions that can help early stage acne or teenage spots. These include face washes, creams, gels and cover up make up. They have varying strengths and it is a good idea to ask for direction from your pharmacist. This type of solution may be all you need. Popular ingredients used to fight acne include Benzoyl Peroxide and Tea Tree Oil. These work by drying up the excess sebum. Be aware of side effects. These include leaving skin red and sore.
For more severe problems the best way forward is to talk to your GP. The probability is they will prescribe a form of antibiotics. The most common method of taking antibiotics for acne is in tablet form. Your doctor may also prescribe liquid antibiotics, a cream or a gel. Liquid antibiotics, creams and gels are applied directly to the spots.
Dealing with Your GP
Acne in teenagers is something a good doctor will take seriously and you should find your doctor supportive and willing to help. A course of antibiotics can last between three and six months. It is quite possible that your son or daughter will need to continue with this type of treatment for a longer period.
Sometimes a doctor will decline to prescribe medication. Usually this is because they do not see the acne as being bad enough to warrant it. There may be other valid reasons why your GP is not willing to prescribe medication. If you are not satisfied with the reasons given then you can ask to see another GP. There should not be a problem in asking for a second opinion.
What if the Antibiotics Do Not Work?
In most cases a course of antibiotics will bring acne under control. The medication can take a while to work, but in most cases you should see a level of improvement fairly quickly.
If the antibiotics do not get on top of the issue then a return trip to the doctor is called for. They may opt to increase the dosage, try a cream or gel in addition to any tablets or try a different type of antibiotic.
Different Types of Antibiotics
One of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics is Tetracycline. This appears to work well in a lot of mild acne cases. If the problem persists there are other types of antibiotics that can be tried. These include Erythromycin.
The type that your child is prescribed may depend on the individual doctor's experience with the different types of drug. Cost is also likely to play a part, with cheaper antibiotics likely to be tried first as long as the doctor believes they have a good track record.
From time to time acne does not respond to the more standard types of treatment. If after trying different types there is no improvement your GP can refer the patient to a hospital based specialist. They have stronger drugs at their disposal. As this level of drug can have side effects treatment is much more closely monitored.
If your teenager's acne treatment reaches this level it is a good idea to make sure you are able to attend the appointment with them. You can then raise the issue of side effects and get a good understanding of them and what to look out for.
Diet and Acne
It is often thought that diet is a contributory factor. Although I would always stress the benefits of a generally healthy diet no single food or groups of foods have really been identified as a cause of acne.
Despite this certain foods can cause different reactions in different people. Therefore it can be a good idea to do your own detective work and keep a diary noting any changes in the condition. You may even be able to discover foods that are beneficial and help to reduce inflammation.
Exposure to the Sun
Extra care needs to be taken with any exposure to the sun. Over exposure to the sun can damage skin. This can cause extra problems later in life. Sun tan lotions and creams can contribute to irritation and cause more spots to appear. This doesn't mean that sun tan lotion should not be used, but over exposure to the sun should be avoided.
NOTE:The health section of Parenting.co.uk is not to be used as a substitute for your GP; if your child is ill then seek the advice of a qualified doctor or other health professional without delay.
Teenagers face many medical problems at puberty. Also, they should take care of their teeth, not only of their face. For example, some old people who want to get dental implants resort to the Florida Dental Implants and Oral Surgery Clinic. A teenager can resort to these services as well if he has a broken tooth.
Posted: 09/Jun/15 at 10:28:46
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Posted: 16/Jun/15 at 11:01:59
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