As a common skin condition, acne has the power to dramatically impact a teenager’s life. It is estimated that 85% of adolescents have acne. Although we as adults know acne will pass, this is small consolation to the teenager who suffers from embarrassment, worry, waning confidence or even depression as a result. We as parents need to be supportive, but that isn’t enough. Parents need to provide information and direction about how to treat acne. In most cases treatement can radically reduce the affects of acne.
Unfortunately, acne doesn’t have a «one-cure-fits-all» solution. There are many types of acne, treatable by even more types of methods. It is important for you to help determine which type your teenager is experiencing to help make appropriate decisions regarding the direction of treatment. New medications have been developed since we were teenagers. What worked for us may not work for teenagers today. The best news is that most common acne conditions can be brought easily under control even if it can not be completely cured.
Your teenager is undoubtedly trying everything conceivable to control his/her acne. It is important to remember even if your teen isn’t asking for your help, he/she still wants it. Be supportive when approaching your teen, not accusatory. Myths about oily foods, chocolate, or sex causing acne have been proven untrue. Even discussing your personal experiences with acne may help minimize the stressors for your teen, and help «humanize» you so he/she is more comfortable discussing it.
It is also wise to advise your teenager that most teenager suffer from acne-they are not alone. Of the 85% of adolescents inflicted with acne, 40% of the cases are severe enough to need professional treatment by a dermatologist.
Consulting with a dermatologist is prudent toward reassuring your teenager. Although the spots on your teenager’s skin are most likely acne, there is potential the condition could be something else. A dermatologist can give you a definitive diagnosis, with as many treatment options as possible.
If your teenager has tried a few over-the-counter medications with little to no success, encourage him/her to seek the advice of a dermatologist. A dermatologist may recommend an alternate, prescription-only ointment, lotion, or even oral medication to help clear up the condition and offer relief from physical discomfort.
Most importantly, remind your teenager that acne does not last forever. As a teenager nears their early 20s, acne should become a thing of the past.