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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Teenage Skin Problems Q & As

Sometimes it seems a cruel joke is being played on teenagers. They’re at an age when they want to fit in, they want to look good, and coincidentally, it’s the time when their hormones are first starting to activate. It’s also a time they’re getting their first glimpse of freedom. They’re learning to drive a car and hanging out with friends after school. This freedom may also lead to poor eating habitsfast food, sugary foods, sodas and the like. Raging hormones, sugary snacks, and junk food are a recipe for potential skin trouble. However, your teen may have really good eating habits, yet still battle skin problems.

Although the following questions may be about a young female or male teenager, the answers apply to either gender.

My teenager is starting to break out. Is he too young to get a facial?

I do think its a great idea to take your teenager in for a facial. Here you will get expertise and advice from an aesthetician who has presumably worked with skin and knows how to guide your teen into better skin care habits. As long as your teen is having problems with his or her skin, a facial can definitely help.

As I tell any client, facials are beneficial on several levels and can indeed help with problems. But what’s most important is how you are taking care of your skin on a daily basis at home. The Basics 1-2-3 (cleansing, toning, and moisturizing) done on a twice daily basis, plus The Extras (exfoliating and using a clay mask), which can be done once to several times per week, can simulate some of the effects of a professional facial. 

My teenage son is developing acne. What should I do?

This is a tough one. During puberty, a young person’s skin can go absolutely haywire. And these skin problems may not be solely due to hormones. Does your teenager have a “clean” diet, or does he tend to eat fast food, sweets, and sodas laced with sugar or sugar substitutes? In my practice, I have found sugar to be a leading cause of problem skin. You said your son is developing acne. Although he is in the most difficult place (being a teenager) for his skin to clear up, you still have a few options to choose from.

You could do nothing. Obviously, this is not what you will do. But the truth is that as long as his hormones are in this super-active phase and if he does in fact have poor eating habits, your son’s skin will more than likely continue to be problematic. If you choose to go to a dermatologist, he or she may put him on antibiotics, or possibly Accutane. That is up to the doctor and his or her assessment of your child’s skin condition.

Tetracycline is an antibiotic that is commonly used to treat acne. It does not have the same side effects as Accutane, and may get your son’s acne cleared up, but maybe not. Accutane would be the last resort as far as I’m concerned because there are so many side effects. Taking Accutane might initially help clear up your son’s acne, but if he eats a poor-quality diet, and as long as his hormones are out of whack, the medication might just be a temporary fix.  However, some people (both teenagers and adults) have gone on Accutane and had their skin problems clear up—for good.

Another option is to try topical medications like Retin-A, a prescription topical retinoid cream, which may be effective on your son’s acne. Depending on what your dermatologist recommends, I would start with topical treatments, and see if your son can find some relief from his acne.

If your son does eat junk food and things that contain a lot of sugar, I highly recommend evaluating his diet, and see if you can encourage him to stay away from these problem-producing foods. If he will drink a lot of water, along with using skin products that will help promote a more bacteria-free environment, hopefully he will see improvement in his skin. I would go this route first (the dietary one) and see how it goes. If all else fails, there are always drugs he can take or apply topically, but they do have their individual side effects along with their ability to possibly help clear his skin up.

If you havent read them yet, I highly recommend the following posts:  
If youve lucked out and your teen isnt having any skin issues yet you want to start them on a simple routine, read: