Clearing Up the Facts About Teen Acne 

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By Brianna Siciliano

Everyone struggles with less than perfect skin. In today’s world, we are constantly taking and sharing photos of ourselves with each other. The pressure to have clean and clear skin is always on, and when our skin is not clear, our self-esteem lowers. Pimples can be painful and embarrassing, but clearing up our skin and raising our self-esteem and confidence is possible. It is time to rid pimples from our lives!

Studies have shown that the majority of young people, varying from ages 12-18, suffer from acne. In some cases, acne can start very early, between the ages of 8 and 11. The good news is that treatments for acne are available and affordable. Acne can be controlled and cleared up, allowing teens to feel great in their own skin. 

Before searching for the perfect treatments, it is important to understand how acne is caused. During puberty, hormones are going through big changes and oil production from glands on the face, chest, and back are increasing. Excess oil combines with naturally shedding skin cells, and this combination ends up clogging pores or causing blackheads and whiteheads. The oil can also provide “food” for acne-causing bacteria (which lives on skin’s surfaces). These bacteria multiply inside pores and create red, swollen pimples when the “food” traps them in facial pores. 

To keep skin healthy, it is important to avoid popping or picking at zits. Popping and picking squishes the materials that are trapped in the pore into skin that surrounds the pimple, which ends up causing more swelling and redness. Instead of irritating the skin, teens need to was their faces in the morning and before bed time with gentle cleansers. It can also be very beneficial for teens to apply a sunscreen (UVA/UVB, SPF 30 or higher) to their faces in the morning, no matter what season of the year it is. Make sure that all the products being used on the skin––whether they are moisturizers, sunscreens, or make-up products––are labeled as oil-free, acne-free, or non-comedogenic. 

If your teen is looking to get rid of a few whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples, try an over the counter acne wash that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide once a day. If there is no improvement within two months, if the washes are irritating the skin, or if the acne is leaving scars or causing pain, talk to your doctor right away. 

Keeping skin picture-perfect, and getting rid of pimples, is possible. Do not let pimples hold your teens back!