One of the hot topics covered at this past week's annual summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatologyin New York City was the news of dermatologists treating very young patients with acne. The information, which was presented at the meeting by a leading pediatric dermatologist, who also co-authored the recently published guidelines on the treatment of pre-adolescent acne. While it's not news to hear of teenagers suffering with acne, it is surprising to learn that a number of children ages 7-12 are also battling this embarrassing skin condition. The fact that many young people are hitting puberty much earlier on in life is the cause behind these acne breakouts. Once the hormones kick in, along come the acne breakouts. Children's skin should be treated different than teenagers or adults, so with that in mind, the new set of guidelines were put forth.
What You Should Know About the New Acne Guidelines for Children
The most common form of acne in this younger age group is mild and tends to present only on the T-Zone are (forehead, nose and chin). The breakouts typically include whiteheads and blackheads, as opposed to the more severe cystic acne breakouts experienced by teens and adults.
The recommended initial treatment for pre-teen acne is an over-the-counter (OTC) benzoyl peroxide product. If that does not work, then a topical combination treatment containing benzoyl peroxide, antibiotic and a retinoid is the next step.
Pre-teens with more severe acne breakouts respond well to age-appropriate oral antibiotics as well as isotretinoin.
Dr. Zaenglein, the pediatric dermatologist delivering the information, urges parents to take action as soon as they notice their child is breaking out. “Acne at any age can be frustrating, but it can be especially distressing for kids and parents when it develops sooner than expected,” she says. “It is important for parents not to put off treatment thinking acne will go away on its own, especially if a child has severe acne or any scarring. Puberty lasts several years, as does acne, so proper treatment is essential.”
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