Teen Acne

Oh teenagers! What fun it is to be surrounded by a pubescent teen. Not only are they experiencing difficult hormonal fluctuations but then they become plagued with adolescent pore structure. Once the pore structure begins, teens may experience breakouts on their nose, chin, and forehead. Usually it’s minor and might consist of blackheads (open comedones) and papules. A blackhead forms when a pore is large enough to hold onto all the waste inside the pore. Since the pore opening is large, the impacted waste is exposed to oxygen, which causes the sebum to turn brown. A papule is an inflammed (red) bump that might be sore to the touch and lacks a whitehead. You might also hear people say that they have a zit that won’t come to a “head”. They are referring to a papule. During the papule stage, the white blood cells arrive to fight infection. When enough arrive, they may form a cluster that will rise to the surface. The papule then becomes a pustule, which forms a “head” filled with pus. Papules are sore because they are deeper in the skin affecting the nerves. When the papule rises to form a pustule, it’s closer to the skin surface so relieving pressure on the nerve.

Young boys may become afflicted with Keratosis pilaris in the lower cheeks. When beard growth starts, the follicles are too small to harbor the hair which leads to irritation and pimples. Adults might notice Keratosis pilaris on the upper arms and the back of the legs. It is also known as “chicken skin”. The best treatment is use of alpha hydroxy acids or mechanical exfoliation.

It’s important for teens to develop a proper skincare routine. They will need to wash their face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. A toner for oily/combination skin will help control oil and ensure their skin is clear of debris. An alpha hydroxy or salicylic acid treatment can also be used as long as it’s in a gel form. Benzoyl peroxide can be used as a spot treatment if necessary. It’s important that teens also use a broad spectrum sunscreen. The use of chemical exfoliants will cause skin to become sun sensitive, but also sun damage produces cell build-up which will ultimately lead to more breakouts. Do not listen to the old wise tale that the sun dries up acne. As soon as the tan fades, not only will you be afflicted with sun damage and high risk of melanoma but you will also notice more and more breakouts.

Now I will talk a little about nutrition and diet. Studies are iffy on whether or not chocolate and greasy foods lead to acne. They do lead to an increase in insulin levels, cholesterol, and triglycerides which ultimately plays a huge role in the health of our bodies-both inside and out. Iodides may cause acne flare-ups in some individuals. Foods high in iodide include shellfish, kelp, squid, asparagus, and iodized salt. I’m not saying to give them up 100% but perhaps try lowering your intake of these foods to see if it helps with flare-up. Also a big topic today is hormones in foods, especially dairy. Non-organic dairy foods seem to cause a great deal of acne flare-ups in girls and women due to presence of hormones. Try organic dairy to see if flare-ups decrease. I advice against soy since soy naturally contains estrogen.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. shari
    Apr 06, 2012 @ 13:00:59

    Wow! I never thought about the non organic dairy having estrogen! That is it!!! No more dirty dairy products for me!!! Thanks so much! Love this blog!!!


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