Acne occurs in 90% of teenagers. It's due to over-activity and plugging of the oil glands. It's not caused by dirt, fried foods or chocolate. Acne usually lasts until about age 25, so your teenager needs to understand how to manage it.
- First: Wash the face with a mild soap twice a day, but avoid any scrubbing. Scrubbing can break the walls of the oil glands, causing large bumps.
- Second: Buy a 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion or gel. It's a nonprescription medicine and your pharmacist can help you select one. Apply a thin film once a day, preferably at bedtime. A small amount, the size of a pea, should cover the entire face. Benzoyl-peroxide helps to open pimples, unplug blackheads, and it also kills bacteria.
- Third: Pimples can be drained once they have come to a head. The yellow top can be gently opened with a sterile needle. The pus will then pour out. Wipe it away and wash the face with soap and water. Since we know adolescents can't ignore pimples, they might as well be taught how to open them safely and understand that it's harmful to squeeze them or pop them with their fingers.
- Fourth: Tell your teenager not to pick at his face. Many young people pick at their acne when they are not thinking about it. This keeps it from healing. Squeezing also causes bleeding into the skin and blotches that last for a month. They should try not to touch the face at all during the day.
- Finally: See your healthcare provider or a dermatologist if your teenager has large red lumps or lots of blackheads. These can be helped by prescription medicines.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2001
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.