Understanding Teen Acne



Are over-the-counter acne products not cutting it? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, virtually anyone’s acne, no matter how severe, can be treated.

Exactly what causes acne? Acne develops when cells and natural oils block tiny hair follicles in the skin. Bacteria work their way into the plugged up follicles and start multiplying. When the body’s immune cells move in to attack the bacteria, the results of the battle are the classic symptoms of acne -- swelling, redness, and pimples. Acne medications help by interrupting this process in different ways. Some over-the-counter and prescription acne creams help by unplugging the follicles. Others, such as antibiotics, kill the bacteria that move into the follicles.

For mild to severe acne, a doctor might recommend prescription treatments that are "topical," which means they go on your skin. Topical treatments for teenage acne come in different forms, including creams, lotions, gels and pads. Some teen girls have acne that’s linked to hormones called androgens. To treat this sort of acne, a doctor might recommend birth control pills or spironolactone.

For best results take the acne treatment as prescribed. It's important to stick to the doctor’s acne treatment. Stop using other acne treatments. If a doctor has prescribed an acne treatment, don't also use other treatments or home remedies. They’re unlikely to help and they could even make the acne worse.

Stick with it. Acne treatment won’t work immediately. It can take six to eight weeks before you see some benefit. It may take as long as six months to clear the skin altogether.
Do your part. Follow the doctor’s skin care advice, particularly when it comes to cleansing and using moisturizer.
Work with a doctor. If treatment isn’t working, don't give up. It may take some time to hit on the right approach. Schedule an appointment with a doctor to discuss other options. Remember: With the right treatment, almost every case of acne can be cured.

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