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Parenting & Education in Ireland

How to deal with Teenage Acne



Let’s face it, we all got acne when we were teenagers, those that didn't were the privileged minority and only watched while the rest of us cowered under the mirror too horrified to look at our pimply faces.

In fact, nine out of ten teenagers get some form of acne and this can range from very mild to severe. Even though all teens are very likely to get acne, and although it is often short lived it can be painful and damaging to young people’s self esteem.

So it is worth looking into the causes and treatments of this coming of age affliction.


What is Teenage acne?

The exact cause of teenage acne is unknown but it is thought to be sometimes caused by the change in hormones at puberty, and also genetics.

Hormonal changes between the ages of 10-13 years old cause the skin to become oilier leading the pores of the skin to become blocked. When these pores get blocked they become either whiteheads (filled with oil) or blackheads(filled with bacteria.)

Bigger nodules that become very inflamed, such as cysts, are when a skin follicle has been blocked deep down and the area has become infected with bacteria. Lastly, it is known that some medication causes acne in teenagers.


How to treat teenage Acne.

Remembering that all acne will eventually heal should reassure those who are feeling embarrassed or are suffering from painful acne. For most teenagers it’s a case of waiting it out until your skin eventually clears.
However, there are things that you can do to help care for and heal troublesome skin:

    • Don’t wash your face more than twice a day. Scrubbing your face removes natural oils on your skin that keep it healthy. Use a very mild soap with warm water and use a soft face cloth or fingers. Don’t scrub!
    • For older teens, make-up can make your acne worse as it’s greasy consistency will clog your pours, so avoid when you can.
    • Try not to pop! Picking those spots will drive bacteria deeper back into the skin and cause scarring.
Most mild acne, like small pimples, black/whiteheads can be treated at home without any need for expensive cleansers. However, if you or your teenager is suffering from more severe acne then it might be best to see a GP to discuss medication.


Medical Treatments

Your GP can diagnose whether you should take medication to treat severe acne. These treatments include topical and oral antibiotics that help reduce bacteria and inflammation in the skin. These are usually taken for up to six months to stop the continual spread of skin bacteria. However, as with all antibiotics they will come with side effects and are only available for over 12yrs.


Teenage Acne can begin as young as ten, last through your teens and in some cases develop onward into adult acne. However, acne is very treatable, will eventually fade and should not effect you going about your or your teenager’s life.

The information contained on schooldays.ie is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.

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