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Acne 101 by Jim Fackrell, PA-C

Acne 101

Jim Fackrell, PA-C

Being a teenager can be tough. If you’re a teenager suffering from acne, it can be even tougher. For some, acne can cause social anxiety or even depression. What some may view as a simple pimple, could be viewed as a life changing event for others. Over 70 Million people suffer from acne, the majority being adolescents. Acne can be seen not only during the teenage years, but can afflict adults well into their senior years.

Acne develops when the pores of our skin become clogged. Sebum, the normal oil in our skin is responsible for acne. Our bodies produce more sebum when there is an increase of hormone production, that is why adolescents are more prone to acne breakouts. There are many myths about what causes acne:
“You get pimples because you don’t wash your face enough.” Washing your face helps remove dirt and oil, but washing too much can lead to dryness and irritation causing more acne breakouts.
“Tanning improves acne.” Tanning can temporarily mask the signs of acne but can actually increase the inflammation, dryness and flare acne.
“Eating too much chocolate or drinking too many soft drinks causes pimples.” Studies have shown that no specific food group has been proven to cause acne, but acne can be aggravated by consuming high glycemic diets.
“Popping pimples make them go away faster.” Popping pimples actually increases the inflammation and swelling that increase the chances of dark spot or even scarring that can last a lifetime.
“All makeup causes acne.” The use of non-comedogenic makeup (makeup that won’t clog pores) is safe for most people. However, if you suffer from moderate to severe acne you should ask your Dermatologist what would be the best cosmetics to use.

Treating acne can prevent additional breakouts and scarring. Acne cannot be prevented from ever occurring and will develop in most people one time or another. Acne is a normal part of maturing but some people are more prone to develop it. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatologists) recommends washing your face with a gentle cleanser and luke warm water one to two times daily. Washing more often or too forcefully can inflame acne.

For mild acne, over the counter Benzoyl Peroxide can be used. Benzoyl Peroxide can be purchased without a prescription and is fairly inexpensive. They have antibacterial properties and help to remove acne forming bacteria.

It is recommended to see your Dermatologist when the over the counter products have failed or if ANY scarring has occurred. If self-esteem becomes a concern, no matter how minimal; do not ignore the adolescents concerns. Acne can drastically impact teens lives. According to the AAD, people with acne can suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Acne can even discourage people from pursuing life’s dreams and all social interactions. When acne is under control, a person’s confidence grows while anxiety and depression diminish.

Parents of children with acne should actively pursue over the counter or professional treatment by a Dermatologist rather than the old “cut your hair, wash your face and watch your diet” lectures of the past.


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All information provided herein is for educational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, please consult a physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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