Treating Teen Acne: What Works?


Almost all teenagers get acne at some point, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch your child struggle with breakouts and blemishes. Thankfully, there are ways to help teens fight acne. Find out which treatments really work.

Top prescription therapies:

Prescription: Retinoinds (Accutane (oral), RetinA (topical)), Benzoyl Perozide combination products, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, Azeleic acid.

Top over-the-counter therapies:

There are only two active ingredients that are sold over the counter A) Benzoyl peroxides and B) Salycilic acids. They only work for mild acne. It is the vehicle and inactive ingredients and possibly the percentage of Benzoyl peroxide that separates the over the counter products.

When is it time to consult your doctor?

When OTC products aren’t working or when your child asks to see someone. Often when the child is concerned enough they are motivated to use the prescribed products. Also it is important for the parents to be proactive and seek help if they think the acne may start scarring. It is easier to prevent scarring than to fix it once it has occurred. Simply put, when you start to worry, it is time to come in. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What do parents need to know to help their kids most?

Acne takes time and consistent therapy to treat. It won’t get better right away but if it is not better in a couple months it is time to try something different. Also get them into a doctor before they scar. Acne affects teenagers self esteem often more than they will tell their parents. Clearing the acne often brings a more self confident and more cheerful teenager.

How does diet affect acne?

This is controversial. Some patients believe and can show that a certain food causes their acne but this seems to be specific to that patient. The only food that has any data showing that it may play a role in development of acne is milk. The final evidence is not in but we may find out later there is a connection. Some societies do not develop at all so the complex causes of acne are not all clearly understood.

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