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How can I help my teenager cope with her acne?

Marianne Biangone
Nursing
More than just your teen’s skin is affected by acne.  As the parent of two teenagers who have acne, I know it can be emotionally challenging.  I will share with you the three key things that are helping my teens clear up their face and boost their self-esteem.

1.  Develop a daily skin cleansing routine:  The oil our skin produces is important.  It protects our skin and keeps it nice and soft. Our body knows exactly the right amount of oil to produce and when that oil and dirt are washed away (great for acne!), your body is going to make more oil to replace what it lost.  If you wash your face too often, excess oil will be produced and lead to more acne.  Try using a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil twice a day. 

2.  See a Dermatologist:  While cleansing with Cetaphil and using an over the counter treatment like the 4% benzoyl peroxide in PanOxyl may work, in some cases acne can persist.  A dermatologist can provide the medical treatment that is needed.  Your teen may be started on an oral antibiotic to help reduce the bacteria in the pores that is causing the acne along with a topical acne treatment.  This is also a great time for your teen to ask questions and get the much needed emotional support and reassurance that they may need. 

3.  Be patient:  This is the hardest part.  Treatment for acne is like running a marathon…slow and steady.  After you begin your acne treatments you may actually see the acne getting worse.  Be patient and persistent.  Continue with your skin cleansing routine and use what the dermatologist prescribed.  You should begin to see some noticeable results in 3 months.  During this time it’s a great opportunity for you to provide the emotional support and reassurance your teen needs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.