The primary causes of acne in the adolescent years is hormonal fluctuations associated with puberty (yes those fabulous teen hormones strike again)! These fluctuations cause an increase in oil production allowing for bacterial growth, combined with a lack of skin exfoliation leads to 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 – the dreaded pimple! Topical and oral treatments are 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.
The first thing to teach your teen is the importance of a healthy skin care regimen. This would focus on decreasing oil, exfoliating the skin, moisturizing, and decreasing inflammation and bacteria and most importantly not “picking, pinching or popping” pimples. The best products to do this are those that contain 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 outcome of eliminating the scars appearance.