For the Parents of Teens with Acne
Acne has affected all of us at one time or another. It can affect your child’s self image as well as their overall social life, and in severe cases can lead to depression and withdrawal.
Let your teenager know that you are available and that you are willing to help him or her with their acne. Talking about your own experiences may help them relate and quite possibly, give them a broader perspective on the condition. Even if they don’t want to talk about it, dealing with acne is one of their major concerns. Consequently, your teenager is trying everything he or she can to control it.
Talking with your teenager about acne can be difficult because they might be embarrassed by their appearance and would rather pretend it wasn’t an issue. The key is to be supportive and understanding. Provide information and advice about how to treat their acne.
One of the most effective ways is to learn as much as possible about the various types of acne and how it can be treated. Simply doing this can go a long way in providing more effective guidance for your children when confronted with decisions related to their treatment. You will be able to help them in the selection of acne medications and perhaps determine whether or not it is an appropriate time to consult with a dermatologist.
What Really Causes Acne?
Doctors and researchers have come to some conclusions about the risk factors that ultimately contribute to the development of acne. According to some researchers, the primary causes are hormones and genetics, but this cannot account for every case.
In some instances, factors like medication, types of cosmetics, and certain aspects of personal hygiene (i.e. methods of cleansing the skin) are more likely to create the conditions for acne’s formation. Environment, can also be a catalyst. Those working with chemicals or who are exposed to oils and greases, have a greater chance of getting acne because the materials themselves can clog the pores.
With the onset of puberty, the human body starts to produce hormones called androgens. These cause the enlargement and over stimulation of the sebaceous glands which are found in the hair follicles or pores of the skin. The extra sebum or oil that the sebaceous glands produce mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria on the skin’s surface and this blocks pores. Within the blocked pore, the bacteria multiply and cause inflammation. All of this leads to the lesions that are associated with acne.
Teenagers are the most common sufferers of acne, purely because of the hormonal shifts that are associated with puberty. Current figures indicate that nearly 85% of people will develop acne at some point between the ages of 12 and 25.
It is also important to note that the hormonal changes associated with both the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and even menopause have been shown to be culprits in the creation of acne. Also, when women are either beginning or ending their usage of birth control, the hormonal fluctuations can cause acne.
Furthermore, fluctuations in the hormones of men and women, can cause spikes in the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands.
Another factor is genetics. Many researchers believe that the tendency to develop acne can be inherited from parents. In studies conducted by a number of scientists, links have been found between those presently suffering from acne and the presence of acne in their family history.
The side effects of certain drugs can cause acne. Examples can include: barbiturates, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, lithium and certain forms of steroids.
Heavy or oily costmetics
In the case of certain cosmetics, their ingredients can affect the structure of hair follicles and lead to over-production of sebum, which in turn clogs the pores.
Astringent facial products can dry the skin out and cause the body to overproduce sebum to compensate. The use of harsh exfoliators can damage existing spots and spread infection.
Flare Up Factors
Pressure from helmets or hats, backpacks, and tight clothing
If there is pressure against the skin, the potential for irritation and acne breakouts is much greater. Friction from tight clothing, or pressure from a hat or helmet can affect the pores and cause acne to flare up.
If a person works in a garage or a factory, certain chemicals present in such environments can actually cause acne flare-ups.
Pollution can have much the same effect upon the skin, clogging pores and creating infections.
Heavy scrubbing of skin
Picking or squeezing blackheads or whiteheads can cause the infection to move deeper into the skin, which will lead to scarring.