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Oct 11, 2007

Teen Acne - Issues and Impacts

By Michael Russell

Severe acne can be extremely traumatic to a teenager, causing life long physical and emotional scars. Severe acne also can have a significant impact on how teenagers view themselves with some serious effects. These effects can include social withdrawal, poor body image, low self-esteem and self-confidence, embarrassment, depression, anger and frustration. These all have an impact on a teen's life and as such acne should not be taken lightly.

Because teens are going through a lot of hormonal changes in their body that come with puberty acne is a common result. Acne shows up in a variety of means with the most common being bumps of one form or another. These bumps can become inflamed, irritating and sore to touch. Not to mention that for teens it is an unwelcome attention grabbing mark on their skin


Acne can be hereditary, meaning that if the teen's parents had it when they were growing up then there is a chance that the teen will more susceptible to acne. Generally acne will disappear at the end of the "teens" but it can continue into adulthood. It typically appears on the face, neck, shoulders, back, chest and buttocks. So it is fairly visible which can cause social issues for the affected teen depending on the severity.

The skin's pores contain oil glands that produce oil called sebum. This oil lubricates the skin and hair helping to keep the skin waterproof and clean. Because of the teens hormonal changes during puberty their glands begin to produce too much sebum which when combined with dirt and dead skin cells can cause the pore to become clogged. If these blocked pores become clogged with bacteria stuck inside, then these pores can become infected with the bacteria, which then causes swellings or bumps and inflammation.

There are different kinds of acne as follows:

• Whiteheads - non-inflamed build-ups, on the surface
• Blackheads - clogged but not infected
• Pimples - clogged and infected, slightly deeper in the skin
• Nodules or Cysts (the most severe) - very infected and deep!
There are many reasons for acne to appear; amongst them are a few myths. Eating lots of chocolate or fatty food will not cause acne; it may however irritate existing acne.

As with most health issues, there are many different causes, which can be different for each person. Diet can play a part in acne. Food allergies can cause "breakouts", as can some medications. Stress whilst not a cause directly can also play a part in worsening existing acne, since stress increases the amount of sebum produced.

The simplest method to assist in preventing the oil build-up is to wash your face twice a day with a mild soap and warm water. Scrubbing will not work. It will in fact make acne worse because it will irritate the skin and pores. Wash as gently as you can.

Some people claim that sunshine is good for the skin. Whilst it may give you a tan to help hide the discoloration caused by the acne, it will not prevent acne, because sunlight causes extra oil to be produced it may even have a detrimental effect. If using cosmetics, make sure that oil free cosmetics are used and make sure they are removed properly.

There are many creams and lotions available in the shops these days, the main ones contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which help to prevent acne and clear it up at the same time. Try different ones till you find one that works and do follow the directions properly. Remember there is no such thing as an instant fix!
If acne continues after trying the simple things then it may be time to consult your doctor or a dermatologist. They may be able to help prevent acne with prescription medicines.

The main thing to remember is that if you have a pimple, don't touch it, your hands have oil on them, don't squeeze it, or pick at it. Whilst it is very tempting to try to remove it this way, it will only make it worse, or cause a permanent scar.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Acne

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