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Why is teenage acne so common?
PreventionMild acne can be avoided or controlled with good skin care. Wash the problem areas with a gentle cleanser and avoid using facial scrubs, astringents and masks, which tend to irritate skin. If acne sets in around the hairline, shampoo frequently. Choose cosmetics, sunscreens and hair products labeled "water-based" to avoid clogging pores. Avoid touching the face and putting hands, cell phones and other objects on the face. Tight caps and clothing, especially if they cause sweating, can make acne worse. Don't pick or squeeze blemishes because that can cause infection or scarring. Various over-the-counter topical treatments intended to dry up the oil, kill bacteria and promote sloughing of dead skin cells can be effective for mild acne. If these treatments donít help within a month or if the acne is severe, make an appointment with your family doctor.
How can a doctor help?Your doctor can assess the extent of the problem and prescribe stronger oral and topical acne treatments that work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection, reducing the inflammation or doing all four. In some case, an antibiotic prescription might be necessary to kill excess skin bacteria. Prepare your teen by talking to him or her about the importance of following through on recommendations made by your family physician and keeping realistic expectations as treatment proceeds. With most acne treatments, it takes four to eight weeks for improvement and the skin may get worse before it gets better.
Dr. Kinsey Shultz Piatz is a family medicine doctor at Sanford North Mandan Clinic. She is a graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and completed her residency at Siouxland Medical Education Foundation in Sioux City, Iowa.