While many things have changed since you were a teenager, many have stayed the same. One of them is acne or, if you prefer, zits and pimples, the embarrassing skin condition that plagues teens. Keep reading for five antiacne tips from Circle of Moms members whose kids have been there recently.
1. Try Over-the-Counter Medications First
While some moms swear by Proactiv, which is a nonprescription acne treatment system, others, including Sharyl R., say it wasn't effective for their teens' acne, and even more say it's expensive. Jennifer R. says her daughter's doctor recommended a simple (and cheaper) over-the-counter product containing benzoyl peroxide.
2. Try a Home Remedy
For milder acne, some moms recommend trying natural home remedies. Anna M., for instance, found that tea tree oil worked like magic for her teenage boys, advice that mom and cosmetologist Michelle echoes. Michelle explains that tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that helps manage bacteria.
3. See a Doctor For Persistent or Severe Acne
Your teen may be embarrassed about talking to a doctor about his acne, but several moms, including Kerri C., advise seeking medical help anyway for severe or persistent acne, noting that a bad case of cystic acne can cause permanent scarring. In fact, as Connie F. shares, this is sometimes preferable to trying over-the-counter treatments first: she waited too long with her son, and by the time he saw a dermatologist, his pores had turned to bleeding sores, and he had scarring.
4. Know What You're Dealing With
As mom Louise G. points out, some types of acne are caused by infections in the skin and need more aggressive treatment. According to WebMD, there are five different types of acne, the last two of which are harder to manage with only over-the-counter or home remedies.
- Comedones: This type of acne consists mostly of what are commonly known as whiteheads and blackheads and is noninflammatory. The blemishes are caused by clogged pores and only turn into inflamed pimples if bacteria gets in.
- Papules: This type of acne consists of tender, red bumps that are formed when a clogged pore becomes overfilled with debris. A papule doesn't contain pus, but can often progress to that point.
- Pustules: This is what most people think of when they think of pimples — red, inflamed bumps with a white top. They sit on the top of the skin.
- Nodules: Nodule acne is a more severe form of acne. It presents are large, solid, painful lesions deep within the skin.
- Cystic: Cystic acne, too, is a severe form of acne and the one most likely to lead to scarring. It also presents itself as painful lesions deep in the skin, but unlike nodules, they are not solid and are filled with infectious material.
5. Wash Gently
Finally, though it may go without saying, both Circle of Moms members and experts agree that face washing can sometimes be part of the pimple problem. Washing gently a few times a day with a mild soap (many moms recommend Dove), lukewarm water, and a washcloth is better than what mom Neva J. refers to as "vigorous scrubbing."
Overwashing can actually lead to a vicious cycle of dry skin triggering oil glands to produce more oil, which then increases the likelihood of more breakouts.
The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.