Acne affects virtually all teenagers at one point or another, to varying degrees. Teen acne is hereditary and is brought on by hormonal changes related to menstrual periods, pregnancy, birth control pills, or stress; oily hair and skin products; certain drugs such as steroids, testosterone, estrogen, and phenytoin; and high levels of humidity or sweating. While acne attacks boys and girls alike, it is worse in boys because they produce more skin oils. However, girls are more likely to seek out a dermatologist. Either way, fear not: everywhere you look, there is another teen acne treatment to be found.
There are many over-the-counter acne treatments for teenagers to unblock pores, reduce bacteria and dry out pimples. They contain benzoyl peroxide (such as Neutrogena On-The-Spot) or salicylic acid (such as Stri-dex). For more effective yet harsher treatment, there is sulfur or resorcinol (such as Clearasil Adult Care). Acne responds best when treated early.
All acne treatments work by preventing new breakouts, and must be used over a period of weeks or months. Even if you begin to see improvement, continue treatment. Follow the directions on the package or as prescribed by your dermatologist.
Even more numerous than over-the-counter medications are prescription drugs and topicals that curb oil build-up, skin cell shedding and bacteria growth – all while drying and peeling away old acne and stimulating healthy skin growth. In cases of unresponsive or severe acne, isotretinoin (Accutane) may be used. Talk to your dermatologist to find out what is appropriate for your case of acne.
To avoid scarring, you should never pick or squeeze acne, especially inflammatory acne or “pustules”. Squeezing forces infected material deeper into the skin, causing additional inflammation and possible scarring. Also, avoid scrubbing your skin. If you do get scars, acne scar treatment is available in many forms.