As any teenager–or parent of a teenager–can attest, dealing with severe acne can be a very difficult and devastating process. When you have acne–whether it be moderate or severe, your self-esteem plummets and your overall outlook on life becomes dismal and depressing. A new report in Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has just come out with a set of recommendations culled from pediatricians and dermatologists in regards to treating children and teenagers with acne.
Causes of Acne in Teens and Children
While acne is typically thought of as a teenage skin issue, children as young as babies can have pimples. In fact, 20% of newborns have acne. Acne breakouts are brought on by a multitude of factors, many of which are related to an influx of hormones. An acne lesion occurs when a hair follicle gets plugged up with oil and dead skin cells. The androgen hormone, which typically goes into overdrive during puberty, can be responsible for an overproduction of sebum, which leads to breakouts. Children as young as nine and ten are now presenting with acne breakouts, thanks to the trend of kids entering puberty at younger ages.
Acne Treatments for Pediatrics
“Currently, detailed acknowledged guidelines for the diagnosis and management of acne in pediatric patients are lacking,” state the authors of the new report. “Recognizing the need to address special issues regarding the diagnosis and treatment of acne in children of various ages, a panel of experts consisting of pediatric dermatologists, pediatricians, and dermatologists with expertise in acne was convened under the auspices of the American Acne and Rosacea Society. The expert panel was charged with developing recommendations for the management of pediatric acne and evidence-based treatment algorithms.”
Acne and Mental Health in Teens
Anyone who has seen an acne-afflicted teen fail to make eye contact or do poorly in school, understands the effects acne can have on the self-esteem. The article states: “Adolescents with substantial acne are reported to have high rates of mental health problems, affective isolation, social impairment, depression, and suicidal ideation. In the cases where the impact on the psychosocial health of the patient is particularly burdensome, effective treatment of acne may result in improvements in self-esteem, affect, shame, embarrassment, body image, social assertiveness, and self-confidence”
The New Acne Treatment Recommendations for Babies, Children and Teens
The May issue of Pediatrics contains the new recommendations and guidelines for treating acne in children of all ages. Their recommendations are to first treat acne with over the counter (OTC) treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. If the acne does not show enough improvement from those ingredients, they advise to move on to prescription treatments such as Retin-A and Differin. For severe acne, they recommend oral antibiotics and Accutane. The bottom line is that children and teens do not just have to live with acne, there are numerous treatment options that can help them obtain clear, acne-free skin.