An in-depth look at teenage acne
- 1 An in-depth look at teenage acne
- 2 What is Teenage Acne?
- 3 Why do some people get acne while others don’t?
- 4 Does teenage acne go away by itself?
- 5 What is the best treatment for teenage acne?
- 6 Acne Prevention Tips
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If there is something you can be sure of as a teen, it’s acne. More than 85% of teenagers have this skin problem, which is characterized by clogged pores (whiteheads, blackheads), painful pimples, and, sometimes, hard, deep lumps on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, back, and upper arms. If your mom and dad had acne, the chances are that you will, too. But there are several ways to prevent (and treat) acne today and keep the condition under control, prevent scarring, and leave your skin glowing.It is hard to tell precisely when anything linked to health takes place, especially for physical changes that are connected to adolescence, maturing and growing. The teenage body and the genetic changes it undergoes has its own special timeline. It’s critical to remember that we do not outgrow this skin inflammation problem. However, with time the nature and type of skin breakouts change for many people.
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What is Teenage Acne?
Understanding teenage acne
Teenage acne causes a lot of embarrassment and stress in teenagers. The real culprit for teen acne is emotional change due to hormone levels. One of the principal reason breakouts are so common in youth, is the increase in testosterone triggering the unnecessary discharge of oil in the skin’s sebaceous glands. Hair follicles get obstructed by dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria resulting in pimples. The acne appears mainly on the face, back, and chest. Teenage boys tend to have more breakouts than teenage girls do because their skin generates more oil. Acne can emerge as whiteheads, blackheads, papules or nodules and in extreme cases cysts.
What causes Teenage Acne?
It is a rite of passage for teenagers. About 80-85 percent of teens get acne with breakouts starting around the age of 11 for girls. With puberty starting later for males, boys will get breakouts at about age 13. Many still believe that acne is just a matter of hygiene. The real reason, for teens, in particular, is the dramatic variation in hormonal levels, which makes breakouts so common in adolescence. Rises in testosterone trigger the excessive generation of oil in the skin’s sebaceous glands. Dead skin cells and bacteria become caught in the oil-clogged pores, resulting in pimples. However, adult acne is the outcome of pore-clogging from slower skin cell turnover that happens along with sweating, excess oil production, and varying hormonal shifts.
What are the symptoms of Acne?
While the symptoms vary in severity, you will notice these common signs on parts of your body with the most sebaceous glands; the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms:
- pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads
- Papules or raised lesions
- Pustules or raised pus-filled lesions
- Cysts or nodules filled with pus or fluid
The least severe kind of acne lesion is a whitehead or blackhead. It is also the most easily treated. With more widespread acne, you may need prescription meds to relieve inflammation, bacterial infection, redness, and pus.
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Why do some people get acne while others don’t?
It is unclear why some people are more susceptible to acne than others. The precise cause of acne is still unknown, but hormones called androgens can play a role. Levels increase in both boys and girls during puberty. And they make the oil glands get larger and produce more sebum. The androgen levels also increase because of hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy or beginning or stopping the use of birth control pills.Genetics also play a role. If your parents had acne, you might have inherited it. Some medications (like androgens taken as medicine, epilepsy medication, lithium, and prednisone) can trigger acne. Comedogenic cosmetic products can also clog pores. Water-based products are less likely to induce a breakout. Other factors that can worsen acne include:
- Friction due to leaning on or rubbing the skin; harsh scrubbing
- Picking or squeezing pimples
- Pressure from helmets, backpacks, or snug collars
- Changing hormonal levels in teenage girls and adult women two to seven days before their menstrual period
Will you eventually outgrow your acne?
As we mature, our oil glands make less oil, lowering the chance of getting more severe acne issues. But while most acne occurring in adolescence will simply run its course and resolve itself naturally over time, about a third of teen acne cases linger and become chronic. Adult acne is somewhat common amongst those who’ve had adolescent acne, demanding a daily treatment regimen that doesn’t over-dry the skin. Proper use of topical treatments like toners, moisturizers and anti-bacterial ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid are crucial to controlling breakouts and preventing scarring.
Because acne develops later in males, it tends to last longer too. Women are more likely to have acne in their 20s and beyond, even if they didn’t suffer from acne as a teenager due to hormonal changes caused by menstruation and pregnancy.Women are also influenced by the use of makeup, which can lead to clogged pores. Non-comedogenic cosmetics are specially made without ingredients that clog pores resulting in breakouts. The use of anabolic steroids is known to cause acne in men. About a third of the men who use steroids to improve athletic performance get acne, with half of the cases being a severe form known as cystic acne, which occurs more deeply in the skin.
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Does teenage acne go away by itself?
Some people have mild acne, others severe acne and a lucky a few get no acne breakouts at all. No matter the frequency of your breakouts, you might notice that they come and go. Why is that?
For many, this is the beginning of breakouts. It’s the time when the body is flooded with hormones. Our bodies change quickly as we grow from children to grown adults. Still, it is a wonder how some never get acne, others have acne that fades over time, and some suffer from constant inflammation and breakouts. Hormones and genetics are a few of the reasons why this happens.
In men and women, acne is mainly caused by hormones. When we hit puberty, sex hormones, like estrogen and androgen, are released to help our bodies get to sexual maturity. The changes, however, are not just physical. Hormones are responsible for the growth of organs and body systems, and it can take a toll on our skin.Because men and women produce a varying amount of androgens, the effects will differ, including those on the skin. High androgen levels increase sebum generation. Sebum is a substance that keeps the skin moist and prevents dryness and irritation. Sebum is a good thing, but a lot can be a problem.
Hormonal differences in males and females
Boys and girls can suffer from acne in adolescence, but boys tend to have a different reaction as they grow older. Male hormones balance out as they grow into adulthood; their acne tends to decrease. Women, however, are more prone to get acne throughout their lives. This is because their hormones shift monthly with their cycles. At any given time, a woman’s hormones can cause imbalance androgen generation, which will raise the possibility of breakouts during their period. The acne usually appears around the chin. The good news is it disappears within a few days.
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What is the best treatment for teenage acne?
It’s often hard to pinpoint a specific timeline for anything health-related, especially for physical changes that are linked with puberty, growth, and aging. Your body and genetic makeup have their own unique timetable for all these processes. It’s necessary to point out that we don’t necessarily “outgrow” acne, but the nature and type of acne will change for most over time. Acne treatments may include:
Non-prescription or over the counter topical treatments
Topical means that you apply these products on your skin. Examples include acetic acid, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur. These treatments are available in various forms like gels, lotions, creams, soaps, and pads. When used regularly, they are effective in treating acne. It may take 4-8 weeks for the skin to improve.
These come in two, topically applied treatments or oral drugs.
Topical treatments include adapalene, antibiotics, azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, dapsone, tazarotene, and tretinoin.
Oral drug treatments
For those with moderate to severe acne, doctors frequently prescribe oral antibiotics in addition to topically applied medication. These oral antibiotics are thought to help control acne by controlling the growth of bacteria, thereby reducing inflammation. They are taken daily for four to six months and then decreased and discontinued as the acne improves. The most potent oral acne drug, isotretinoin ( also known as Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan and Zenatane), is normally taken once or twice a day for 16 to 20 weeks. It is thought to reduce the size of the oil glands so that less oil is produced and prevents clogged pores. This curbs the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Because of the risk of congenital disabilities it poses, women of childbearing age must not be pregnant or get pregnant while on isotretinoin.
In office treatments
Cysts can be managed with a series of intralesional cortisone injections, and red light therapy to decrease inflammation and bacterial presence on the skin. A salicylic acid peel can help unclog the pores.
Acne Prevention Tips
Here are things that can help control acne.
- Do not over-clean or use harsh scrubs on your acne. Acne is not caused by dirt. Two gentle washes a day is enough. Too much cleansing can leave skin irritated and dry, triggering the oil glands to produce more oil, increasing the possibility of pimples.
- Use oil-free or non-comedogenic cosmetic products, those that won’t clog pores, on your face.
- Don’t remove or pick at blemishes. Popping pimples can push acne-causing bacteria deeper into the skin. Picking can also lead to more inflammation and permanent scarring.
- Don’t let acne define who you are. Do what you can to enhance your skin, visit a dermatologist, if necessary, and keep doing the things you enjoy.