Dr Charu Sharma

Navigating the teenage years can be challenging, especially when it comes to dealing with acne. As a dermatologist, I’ve seen many teens struggle with acne, which can impact self-esteem and overall well-being. Teen acne is a common skin condition that affects up to 85 per cent  of adolescents. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation and the formation of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, or cysts.
While acne can be frustrating, but it’s often manageable with the right skincare routine and some lifestyle adjustments. This listicle will provide an overview of teen acne, common types, causes, and an effective skincare routine to help keep acne at bay.

Common Types of Teen Acne
Blackheads: Open comedones that appear black due to oxidation.
Whiteheads: Closed comedones that are white or flesh-coloured.
Papules: Small red or pink bumps that can be tender.
Pustules: Pimples with pus at their tips.
Cysts: Large, painful, pus-filled lesions deep under the skin.
Nodules: Hard, painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface.

Causes of Teen Acne
Several factors contribute to the development of acne in teenagers, with puberty playing a significant role. Hormonal changes during this period trigger increased production of androgens, which stimulate the sebaceous (oil) glands, leading to excess sebum production. The overproduction of oil can clog pores, and the accumulation of dead skin cells further blocks them, exacerbating the problem.
Additionally, the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria can grow in these clogged pores, causing inflammation. Genetics also play a role, as a family history of acne can increase the likelihood of developing the condition. The combination of these factors creates an environment where acne can thrive during the teenage years.

Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin
Gentle Cleansing: Morning and Evening. Use a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser with 1% salicylic acid to remove dirt, oil, and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Avoid harsh soaps that can irritate and dry out the skin.
Exfoliation: Once in Two Weeks. Use a gentle exfoliant with salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to help remove dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. Avoid over-exfoliating, which can irritate.
Moisturising: Daily. Choose an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated without clogging pores. Hydration is crucial even for oily skin.
Sun Protection: Daily. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Some acne treatments can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of sunburn and pigmentation.

Tips to Avoid Acne
Don’t Pop Pimples:
Avoid touching and popping pimples to prevent scarring and infection.
Proper Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit high glycemic foods, dairy products and spicy foods.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins.
Manage Stress: Practice stress-relief techniques such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies. Stress can trigger or worsen acne.
Clean Your Environment: Regularly wash pillowcases, towels, and any items that come into contact with your face.
Avoid Overloading Products: Stick to a simple routine; using too many products can irritate the skin and worsen acne.

By maintaining a consistent skincare routine and adopting healthy habits, teenagers can significantly improve their acne and achieve clearer, healthier skin. Remember, patience is essential as acne treatments take time to work. So, stay committed to your routine and consult a dermatologist if needed.

Dr Charu Sharma is a Dermatologist


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