Acne can be difficult for many teens (and adults) to deal with, but it is so common! According to many studies, as much as 95% of teenagers develop it at some point. If you are interested in learning about my experience with acne, check out My Acne Journey.
The Main Causes of Acne in Teenagers
Acne has many causes, especially in teenagers, but for most, it is hormones. Hormones affect every part of the body, but when you are a teenager with higher levels of them, you are likely to experience increased acne.
The Three Main Types of Acne
There are three main types of acne, non-inflammatory, inflammatory, and cystic.
Non-inflammatory is the most common type of acne and includes blackheads and whiteheads. The best treatments for non-inflammatory acne are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
Inflammatory acne is a type of acne that causes red, swollen, and sore bumps. This acne is much more severe than non-inflammatory acne and can cause permanent scarring. The best treatments for inflammatory acne are prescription antibiotics (topical and oral) and isotretinoin.
Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. This type of inflammatory acne often requires harsh medication and skin surgery in some cases. If you have cystic or inflammatory acne, be sure not to damage your skin by picking at it, as this will increase your risk of severe scarring.
Treatments for Acne
There are two categories for acne treatment, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription. Most cases of non-inflammatory acne can be treated fine with over-the-counter options, but inflammatory and cystic acne often require prescription medicines for adequate treatment.
Over-the-counter acne medicines include:
- Benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is the most common acne treatment. It is very effective for most people, usually clearing acne after a month.
- Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid helps to clear dead and old skin cells, preventing them from getting clogged into pores, and causing acne.
Retinol is an effective but usually expensive acne treatment that increases the renewal of your skin cells.
Prescription treatments for acne include:
- Isotretinoin (Oral)
Isotretinoin is a medication with many side effects but works wonders with acne.
- Antibiotics like doxycycline and erythromycin
Antibiotics are the first treatment option for most people who see a dermatologist for acne
- Tretinoin (Topical)
Tretinoin is a topical medication that acts like a stronger version of retinol.
When It’s Time to See a Doctor
It can be difficult for some people to visit a doctor for acne. In reality, you should go as soon as you can because you never know if your acne will get worse. If you go to a dermatologist or primary care doctor, they will likely help you to drastically improve your acne.
Severe acne can be one of the most complicated skin conditions. Luckily, there are many over-the-counter and prescription treatment options. A quick doctor visit can make a huge difference in how you deal with acne. I hope everyone reading this article gained insight into how acne can affect teenagers and the different ways available to treat it.