Suffering from breakouts can be embarrassing at any age, but struggling with acne can be particularly frustrating during formidable teenage years. It can be hard for a parent to watch, and if your teen has an aggressive type of acne, you may find yourself at a loss for how to help them. Our Skin Health Experts treat acne and breakouts every day at our clinics in Los Angeles and New York. We know what works. And in this blog, we’re breaking down the most common causes of teenage breakouts, how to identify the type of acne your teen has, and the best acne treatment for teens.
Causes of Teenage Acne
In some cases, simply identifying the cause of your teen’s acne can help you identify the appropriate treatment. The teenage years come with a lot of changes internally and externally in your child’s body, which they may not know how to manage. It is important to keep this in mind as you work with your teen to address their breakouts as you may be required to have uncomfortable conversations about hormone changes, hygiene, and other sensitive topics. In working with our clients over the years, here are some of the most common causes of teenage acne we have seen.
Perhaps the most readily identified change going on in your teen’s body is their changing hormones. Boys and girls both undergo significant adjustments to the levels of certain chemicals in their bodies, which may result in acne. If your daughter’s acne tends to worsen around her period, hormones may be the culprit. Similarly, if your son develops acne around the same time you notice his voice getting deeper and signs of facial hair appearing, puberty is likely to blame. This time of change can also make your teen’s skin more sensitive, oily or dry which means you will need to help them identify their skin type in order to select the right products for their treatment.
During the teen years, your teen will likely need to adjust their hygiene habits as well. Androgens, specifically, result in the skin’s oil glands becoming larger and producing more sebum, which can clog the pores producing acne on their face as well as other areas such as their chest and back. If your teen does not develop a daily skincare routine for their skin type, breakouts can quickly spiral out of control. Similarly, young girls may begin to wear makeup in the teenage years. These cosmetic products can be damaging to the skin as well as clog up pores. You can help your teen prevent acne by teaching them how to properly cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize their skin and remove impurities on a regular basis. This will also help minimize the possibility of bacteria on the surface of the skin that causes infections in the pores.
As Skin Health Experts, we’re passionate about educating our customers and clients on the role food plays in healthy, beautiful skin. Like it or not, eating a lot of processed foods and sugar can directly impact the appearance of skin, and teens are particularly at risk. If your child is struggling with acne, try to assess their diet and look for excessive dairy, processed foods, or sugar along with a lack of fiber and vegetables. By making slight changes to the way your teen eats, you can help to minimize acne. Sugar, for example, causes insulin levels in the blood to spike, which can lead to increased oil production in the skin. These excess oils will clog your child’s pores and produce acne.
During the teen years, adolescents experience a significant increase in stress, which can influence their hormones and increase the presence of acne. Specifically, stress causes your child’s cortisol levels to rise, which has been linked to breakouts. If you suspect this may be a contributing factor to your teen’s acne, work with them to develop healthy stress management techniques and coping strategies they can use on a daily basis. This will arm them with important stress relief tools that will serve them well into adulthood.
Common Types of Acne
Though identifying the cause of your teen’s acne can help you determine the best treatment, understanding the different types of acne is also a critical factor. In general, acne is the result of clogged pores regardless of what causes those blockages. However, acne can manifest on the skin in a variety of ways, each requiring a unique treatment, and your child may suffer from more than one type.
Teenage Acne Treatment
Once you have identified the type of acne you or your teen has and the likely cause, you are ready to develop a treatment plan. We recommend working with a professional esthetician or dermatologist to create a customized plan and regimen for your specific child’s skin needs. However, here are some of the steps you can take at home to address your teen’s breakouts and treat their acne.
Develop a Daily Skincare Routine
Creating a regular skincare routine for teens is one of the most effective ways to help treat and prevent acne in your child. Educating yourself and them on the proper way to layer their products and helping to customize their skincare routine with specific ingredients will ensure that their skin gets the nutrients it needs while removing excess dirt that would otherwise clog pores. Here is a basic routine they can use morning and night:
Choose the Right Ingredients
The types of products your teen uses and their active ingredients will primarily be dependent on your child’s skin type. Choosing topical treatments that are not aggressive enough or too harsh for their unique skin could actually exacerbate their breakouts. Here are some tips for treating each type of skin:
Work with a Professional
If after a few months of at-home treatments your teen’s acne has not improved, it may be time to seek the help of a professional. Whether you choose to go to a dermatologist or an esthetician, they will be able to help you identify the type of acne your child has and suggest an appropriate treatment plan. Specifically, a dermatologist may be able to prescribe medical-grade acne products while an esthetician may recommend regular facials with extractions to help reduce acne. This type of guidance can be invaluable in restoring the health of your teen’s skin and getting them on track to a clear, acne-free face.
Unfortunately, there is no single acne treatment for teens as every child’s skin is different and will respond uniquely to various techniques. As a result, you will have to work with your teen to experiment with products until you find what works for their skin.
Got questions? Want help customizing an acne-fighting regimen for your skin? Our Skin Health Experts are here to help. Consider a virtual skin consultation you can do from the comfort of home or visit us in our Los Angeles or New York Clinics. And of course you can always shop our acne-fighting products online. We’d love to help you discover how healthy and beautiful your skin can look!