No matter how many times you do it, it’s always traumatic. Going back to school. Never mind the fact that the lazy summer is over and you’re going to have to deal with (pardon the phrase) homework- and (yuck) teachers, but you also have a whole host of other things to think about, like mean kids who are going to make fun of your hair/ outfit/acne. While the hair and the outfit may be your choice, it’s probably pretty safe to say your acne isn’t. So, for all you tweens going back to school this year, here’s a little advice on avoiding and treating acne.
If you’re a tween, it’s a pretty safe bet you know all about acne, but just in case you’re not sure, here’s the breakdown. Acne is a general term referring to a group of skin rashes that have different causes. In preteens, it’s usually an inflammatory condition of the skin. Acne lesions are usually called blemishes, pimples, spots, and zits, and if you’re a teen or a tween, you probably have them. About 80% of teens have acne, and acne is considered a normal part of puberty.
The three mean causes of acne are:
- Overproduction of sebum ( the skin’s natural oil)
- Clogged pores from debris of dead skin cells
- Bacteria infections in the oil (sebaceous) glands
What worsens acne?
- Popping and scrubbing: Although it may be difficult, try and resist the urge to pop. Blemished skin does not respond well to rough treatment.
- Things that rub skin: Headbands, hats, and anything that rests on the forehead, bangs included, can clog pores and lead to forehead acne.
- Cosmetics: Cosmetics, hair products, and creams containing oil can also congest pores and lead to acne.
- Hormones: Hormones produced during puberty are the most common causes of acne. Girls experience a boost in hormone production before menstrual periods, making it common time for breakouts. For boys, increases in levels of testosterone can bring on an increased chance of acne.
Acne Treatments and Avoidance
Cleansing: Keeping skin clean is the most basic and important part of avoiding and treating acne. You can wash with plain old soap and water, but you may want to invest in a mild cleanser formulated for acne prone skin. Cleanse twice daily using gentle motions. Harsh scrubbing can worsen acne by irritating the pores.Exfoliating: Exfoliating removes the layer of dead skin cells, which can clog pores and make acne worse. Exfoliate after cleansing once or twice a week with an acne facial scrub.
Pick Cosmetics Carefully: When buying skin products, look for labels that say “noncomedogenic.” This means they won’t clog your pores. Use oil free cosmetics as often as possible, including an oil free sunscreen.
Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is an acne medication that is available in most pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. It kills acne bacteria, opens oil ducts, and help heal blemishes. Begin by using a 2.5% lotion or gel once a day, increasing use to twice daily if needed and tolerated by your skin. If the acne does not improve in 4 to 6 week, consider upping the dose to a benzoyl peroxide with a 5% or 10% concentration. If acne still does not go away, you may want to see a dermatologist who will prescribe a stronger medication.
Are you a tween headed back to school this year? Let us know how you’re addressing your acne problems!