Teenage Acne: Causes, Signs, Treatments
Problem. Teenage acne is a disease of the sebaceous glands, which is characteristic of the body in the puberty period against the background of hormonal changes. In most cases, it disappears by itself by the age of 25–30, but before that time, it can spoil a lot of nerves and even lead to unpleasant consequences that are difficult to get rid of.
Solution. Acne needs to be fought, but not every method is suitable. It is best to carry out treatment with the help of a dermatologist who will make the correct diagnosis and select the appropriate remedies. In addition, several rules must be followed to reduce the number of rashes.
What is teenage acne?
Acne is a violation of the normal functioning of the epidermis. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with sweat glands, sebum, and dead skin cells. As a result, the place at the base of the inflamed follicle turns red and swells, and acne with purulent contents or black dots forms. Acne often occurs during adolescence, although adults also suffer from this problem.
In most cases, the cause of these changes is a hormonal imbalance. That is why acne worries teenagers, pregnant women, and those who take hormonal drugs.
A variety of rashes in young people is defined by acne vulgaris. The last word does not have the same meaning as “vulgar” in Russian. Translated from Latin, it means “acne of the ordinary type.”
The main feature of teenage acne is a persistent long-term course. Since the cause of the pathology arose inside the human body, and it is not easy to comprehensively affect the production of hormones and enzymes and psychological processes, the treatment of acne becomes more complicated.
When is the appearance of acne most often activated in teenage girls:
- a few days before menstruation and directly during menstruation;
- with strong stress factors (sports, exams, falling in love);
- in the summer (hot weather provokes the release of sebum).
Mechanism of development of teenage acne
The sebaceous glands are located in the pores of the skin and hair follicles. They produce the optimal amount of fat to moisturize the skin and hair. However, in adolescence, the hormones involved in the maturation of the body provoke an increased production of sebaceous secretions.
Exfoliated epidermal cells mix with excess sebum and become an excellent breeding ground for Propionibacterium acne bacteria. The inflammatory process causes swelling and redness of the mouth of the pore. So there are prerequisites for the development of acne.
A white formation filled with pus is formed in a clogged with a secret and a closed pore. A comedone will form with a black dot at the end of the pore that is clogged but not closed. When the tissues of the pore are melted under the influence of the inflammatory process, all its contents penetrate the deeper layers of the epidermis. So there is acne in the form of a red seal, sometimes filled with pus. Swelling and redness are a reaction to tissue infection by bacteria.
If the inflammation has penetrated the deeper layers of the skin, cysts form there, painful when touched. If a staphylococcal infection has joined, such bumps increase in size and become boils.
Causes of teenage acne
It is difficult to find a person who did not suffer from this pathology at a young age and to predict whether teenage acne will appear in a child or acne will manifest itself to a small extent. However, almost everyone with parents with a similar history of acne scarring has an increased risk of acne.
Causes of acne, in addition to genetics and hormonal instability:
- food with a predominance of fats and sugar;
- the use of steroid drugs;
- chronic diseases of internal organs;
- decreased immunity;
- neglect of hygiene rules;
- infectious diseases;
- abuse of decorative cosmetics.
Chronic stress complicates the course of teenage acne, although it is not its cause. Research data prove the connection between severe stress and the degree of manifestation of this pathology.
What exacerbates acne in teenagers:
- insufficient sleep;
- a diet focused on the traditions of the Western way of life;
- use of cosmetics and oil-based skin care products.
Consequences of teenage acne
The negative impact of acne is much more serious than many people think. You should not hope the teenager will grow up and the acne will pass without a trace. Often, the consequences have a delayed impact on a person’s quality of life.
The most common of these are scars and scars that remain on the skin even after teenage acne has disappeared. Several factors affect the appearance of such deep lesions of the epidermis:
- acne persists for a long time, its treatment is not carried out, or it is not effective;
- there have been cases of severe acne in the family or blood relatives.
Sometimes dark spots remain at the site of acne localization, which differs from the main skin tone. They can be red, brown, pink, and even black and are often mistaken for an acne scar.
Diagnosis of teenage acne
The diagnosis of this disease is easy to make; it is enough to examine the teenager visually. However, to understand how to treat teenage acne, you need to identify the cause of the pathology.
The dermatologist may prescribe the following tests:
- complete blood count, biochemistry, hormonal analysis;
- analysis for dysbacteriosis;
- if purulent inflammation has joined – an analysis of the microflora and sensitivity to antibiotics.
Before visiting a doctor, you need to normalize nutrition by excluding from the diet:
- milk, cream, and their derivatives;
- dairy products with added sugar (cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt with additives);
- sugar-containing foods and drinks;
- bread and pastries made from white flour;
- fast food, protein shakes, and bars.
It is allowed to eat low-fat dairy products and hard cheeses.
Diet errors increase hormones’ effect on sebum production, so the skin reaction is more pronounced. This is especially pronounced in adolescents.
Treatment for teenage acne
The acne treatment strategy depends on the following factors:
- acne type;
- previously used treatment methods;
- the time of occurrence of acne;
- patient’s age;
- the presence or absence of scars, spots, and scars on the skin.
The main stages of treatment of teenage acne:
- To prevent new manifestations of a rash, proper skin care is carried out, and the causes of acne are minimized;
- Pharmacy medicines help get rid of already existing teenage acne (both for home use and for treatment under the supervision of a cosmetologist);
- To reduce the production of sebum, retinoids and hormone therapy are prescribed;
- To relieve inflammation, antibiotics are used for oral and external use;
- To treat the effects of acne in the form of scars and scars on the skin, mechanical peeling, cryotherapy, and laser exposure are used.
More complex and lengthy treatment is used to eliminate deeply located nodes and cysts. The dermatologist prescribes prescription drugs (antibiotics, isotretinoin, topical agents).
Additionally, laser therapy and professional lighting devices are used. In combination with drugs, it is very effective.
A dermatologist advises patients not to use oil-based creams and ointments containing petroleum jelly and lanolin to prevent new acne breakouts.
Prevention of teenage acne
The principles of skin care with teenage acne on the face are no different from the rules for caring for any problem skin. The strategy is based on minimizing stress, moisturizing the problematic epidermis with quality products, and using drugs with retinol, peptides, fruit acids, and antioxidants to treat inflammation.
It is forbidden to self-cleans the skin and uses scrubs, brushes, make-up removers, and foundation creams based on oil, alcohol, or silicone.
Problematic skin care should not be neglected! Its absence is just as harmful as mistakes in choosing cosmetics.
- Frequent washing with soap and harsh scrubs harms the skin; it is enough to cleanse the skin twice a day gently. Acne is not caused by pollution. Excessive cleansing dries the skin, causes irritation, and provokes increased sebum production, leading to even more acne.
- It is necessary to use products that do not cause the abundant appearance of comedones, that is, do not clog the pores of the skin.
- Squeezing blackheads provokes the introduction of bacteria into the deep layers of the epidermis, which will certainly lead to inflammatory processes and scarring.
- If the doctor has prescribed drugs for external use, they are applied after washing and half an hour before applying the cream. This ensures the optimal effect of the drug.
- There is an opinion that ultraviolet light helps reduce acne’s appearance. It is erroneous, as exposure to the sun increases sebum production. Some medications for treating teenage acne increase the susceptibility of the epidermis to ultraviolet light. Therefore, in any weather, even on frosty days, it is important to apply sunscreen to the skin before going outside.
- When using hairsprays and gels, you need to avoid getting them on the skin so that these styling products do not clog pores.
- Long hair in contact with the face should be washed as it gets dirty so that the fat does not get on the skin.
- Do not allow skin friction or pressure on it with the straps of a backpack, a helmet, a tight collar of a shirt or sweater, or a phone.
- After intense physical activity or sports, leading to increased sweat and sebum, you should wash thoroughly when you return home or immediately after training.
Sometimes even with the right attitude to problematic skin and the use of only approved cosmetics, acne still occurs. This is not a deviation from the norm; for example, some girls may develop premenstrual acne. It is provoked by hormonal fluctuations in 7 out of 10 young women.
Do not self-medicate using pharmaceutical products without consulting a doctor. After such an amateur performance, the disease is aggravated, and it becomes more difficult to cope with.
Using ointments based on antibiotics can cause resistance to this group of drugs. The resulting irritations and atypical reactions lead to disappointment with such treatment.
Reminding adolescents of the inadmissibility of self-medication and the need to consult a specialist is important. If there is no improvement after using unauthorized pharmaceutical preparations for 3-4 weeks, you should consult with a pediatrician. The doctor will recommend effective remedies or refer you to a dermatologist.
It is faster and easier to cure the initial manifestations of acne than to deal with boils and scars from them. Prevention and proper treatment of acne at the initial stage will relieve the extensive course of the disease and its consequences.