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Management Of Adolescent Pimples | Skin Diaries | By Dr. Richa Sharma (MD Dermatology)

Approximately 90% of teens suffer from acne at some point or the other. To an onlooker or to their family members it might seem to be a very minor problem but for the teen who is suffering from it, it is a major problem. They may start to avoid school, social functions and gatherings and eventually they may go into depression. Social and psychological problems may also appear.

We must know what worsens adolescent acne. Hairstyling products are quite popular among teenage boys and their use may lead to worsening of acne on the forehead. Over-oiling of the scalp, which is common in a lot of Indian states, also causes acne on the forehead. Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines contain steroids and other comedogenic agents that exacerbate acne. In addition to these, friction from tight straps of sportsgear may worsen the condition. Excessive manipulation in any form may lead to scarring which is very difficult to treat.

If you have adolescent acne, remember the following points:

-Acne is not a problem of dirt, you do not need to over-wash your face, in fact over-washing may lead to excessive dryness that leads to rebound increase in oil production.

-For cleansing, use mild cleansers and gentle soaps not harsh medicated soaps. Remember, not to ever scrub your skin because that causes more inflammation of the acne.

-Do not use alcohol containing astringents at all.

-Use OTC products with care; check for the label, you may sometimes find that the product says non-comedogenic, meaning it will not cause more acne.

-Do not pop your lesions. This may lead to irreversible scarring that is nearly impossible to treat.

For management, the first rule is to have patience. Acne is a chronic disorder that requires a long term management and treatment. Effects of therapy are not instantly visible, it may take weeks. As a matter of fact, the skin takes about 28 days to regenerate and that much time may be needed for the therapy to start showing effect. In the meantime, all you need to do is have patience. When you approach your dermatologist for treatment, they will prescribe you one of the following things: they would start with a mild cleanser, they would give you creams containing comedolytics, which are the agents that would stop the formation and help in shedding off of blackheads and whiteheads. The agents that dermatologists prescribe for this purpose are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin and adapalene. Anti-infective agents such as clindamycin, erythromycin, nadifloxacin may also be prescribed. Sometimes they may run a course of oral antibiotics when the infection is substantial.

Also when we see that the acne is really bad and is a potential cause for scarring then they may start you on a drug called isotretinoin. This is serious medication which should never be used for self-medication. Always approach a qualified dermatologist when in doubt. Now, armed with this correct information, you are ready to take on this disease and take responsibility for the health of your skin.

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