On Acne + Skin Care

November 26, 2014

Acne is one of my favorite topics to address with teens at the clinic. Adding acne to the list of life events including going through the funkiness of puberty and all the awkward things that come along with being in middle or high school is not cool. Having acne at this stage in life is really difficult because self-esteem is such a big part of being a teen. You should see the smiles and the look of hope when I tell these teens, "well, let's take care of it!"

One of the reasons I love addressing acne is that I know what it's like to go through it. It sucks.  Although I had great skin and almost no breakouts in high school, when I started college my face decided to go its own way. It got so bad that when I saw an old classmate, she exclaimed "OMG, what happened to your face?!" (Don't worry, I made sure to give her the Awesome Friend of the Year Award afterwards.)

Don't get me wrong - I was secure in who I was as a person and I clung to Psalm 31:30 with dear life. But running around without makeup and exclaiming "I'm beautiful just as I am!!!" while twirling around on green hills Sound-of-Music style with my pimple and pustule-laden face didn't exactly happen. What did happen is that I finally went to a dermatologist and everything cleared up within a few months.

Some practical things that have helped me:

Eat healthy and exercise. I say this because everyone should do this. Also, don't wear makeup to exercise, let your pores be free to sweat out that funk.

Wash your hands. Wash them! Lots! And don't pick at your face. This not only helps minimize break outs, but also minimizes your risk of getting sick.

Use gentle soap. There's no need to spend a lot of money to use fancy pants facial cleansers that work just as well as ones you find at Target. Neutrogena and Cetaphil are some good brands to try.

Stop with the scrubbing. Especially if you have active acne. We all have bacteria that sits on our skin. It's good stuff - helps protect us from the nasty bacteria. However, sometimes the good bacteria can go a little crazy. Using products with physical exfoliants (the stuff with small grain-like substances) or harshly rubbing your face with a wash cloth every single day can be too much, causing tiny breaks in our skin which allows the bacteria to invade. 

Benzoyl peroxide. It's over the counter. Medically, it's considered an effective treatment. I think it's best to go for something that's 5.0% strength or less because this stuff can be strong. Also, this medication is very drying so you must follow it with a gentle facial moisturizer. Start applying every other day and then build up to once or twice daily.

See your healthcare provider. It doesn't have to be a dermatologist. I feel like this is something a lot of people don't do (especially parents of teens - bring them!) There are lots of different treatments out there to take care of acne and your healthcare provider has learned how to do so!

I know, I don't usually write about beauty or skin care, so just consider this some of my "other ramblings" ;)

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