When you’re a teen, acne is pretty much par for the course. Most teenagers have some amount of blackheads, pimples, and blemishes. Younger tweens, ages 8 to 12, get their fair share of blemishes, too.
But these tips will help you recognise when your teen’s acne has progressed to the point where it’s time to see a dermatologist, a physician who specialises in skin conditions.
1. Over-the-Counter Treatments Aren’t Working:
When your teen starts breaking out, the first thing we do is hit the pharmacy for over-the-counter (OTC) treatments. But here’s a key piece of info that you may not know — OTC acne products don’t always work.
OTC acne treatments work best for mild cases. Try them out for 10 to 12 weeks. If your teen isn’t noticing an improvement in their skin, it’s time to see a dermatologist for a prediction acne medication.
2. Your Teen’s Acne Is Getting Worse Despite Good Home Care:
Here’s a super-common situation: Your teen has been using OTC acne products for months with good results. But, suddenly, these products don’t seem to be working anymore. Though your teen is taking good care of their skin, the acne starts getting worse.
Don’t blame your child, they’re probably still doing everything right. Over the course of several months to years, teen acne can progress from mild breakouts to more severe acne. The routine that kept breakouts at bay initially may not be strong enough now.
If your teen’s acne is getting worse and you can’t get it under control, that’s a clear sign a dermatologist needs to step in to help.
3. Your Teen’s Acne Is Very Red, Inflamed, or Severe:
Moderate to severe inflammatory acne should always be seen by a dermatologist or physician. This type of acne just won’t get better with OTC treatments, no matter how attentive your kid is about using them.
In this case, skip the pharmacy products altogether and see a dermatologist right away.
4. The Acne Is Leaving Scars:
Are acne blemishes leaving scars or pits on your teen’s skin? Get your child to a dermatologist ASAP. Those teen acne breakouts won’t last forever but acne scars will. Scars are much harder to treat than acne, too.
While severe, inflammatory acne is more likely to cause scarring, even mild blemishes can leave scars. Some people are just more prone to developing acne scars than others.
5. You’re Fighting With Your Teen About Their Skin:
Has your teen’s skin become a battleground between the two of you? Let’s face it, we have enough to fight with our teens about, like curfew, grades, and their messy rooms. No reason to add skin care to the list.
Do you find yourself constantly nagging at your kid — did you wash your face? Use that acne cream I bought you! Will you please stop popping your pimples?
Sometimes helpful advice comes across better (and sinks in more) when it’s not delivered by Mum or Dad. A dermatologist can help your teen devise a skin care plan, and explain why they need to follow it.
More food for thought: If they aren’t seeing results with their current acne treatment, teens are likely to completely stop using it. Which drives you nuts. And leads to fighting.
Better to get a prescription medication that works (relatively) quickly. Teens are more likely to stick with something if they feel it’s working. And that may help keep the peace in the house.
6. Your Teen Is Becoming Depressed, Withdrawn, or Losing Self-Confidence:
Teens have a lot to contend with growing up. And, let’s face it, teenagers today place a lot of importance on their looks. It’s not vain, it’s very age-appropriate. They’re developing their sense of self.
So acne can be a huge source of embarrassment to teens, even breakouts that we consider mild.
You know your child better than anyone else, and you know if something is bothering them. Ask why if they are just not acting like themselves, or seem:
Getting acne cleared up can be a huge boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem. Make it a priority.
7. Your Teen Asks to See a Dermatologist:
Some teens will come right out and ask to see a dermatologist. Don’t brush them off, or tell them that all teenagers get acne or that their acne isn’t “bad enough” to see a dermatologist.
If your kid is asking, it means acne is really bothering them. It also means your child is probably feeling overwhelmed and helpless as far as their skin is concerned.
Remember, acne is a normal part of growing up. But there’s no reason your teen has to struggle with it when there are so many great acne treatment options available. Dr Kate DeAmbrosis is a specialist dermatologist who is nationally recognised for advising on teen skincare. Contact Valley Plastic Surgery HERE to schedule a consultation with Dr DeAmbrosis.