Effective Treatments for Adolescent Acne
Due to the hormonal changes caused by puberty, many teenagers experience mild, moderate, or severe acne. Although this skin condition is very common— 80% of people from ages 11-30 will have breakouts at some point—it can also be serious, causing increased self-consciousness and decreased quality of life.
Depending on the type and severity, there are many options for adolescent acne treatment. A combination of treatments tailored for an individual’s exact needs and medical history will be the most effective as different cases of acne will respond differently to treatments.
Read on to find out how you can take control of this frustrating skin condition.
Teenage Acne Basics
Acne is more common during puberty when teens produce higher levels of androgens, a group of hormones that includes testosterone. The skin’s oil glands begin to produce more sebum, a substance that helps to protect and moisturize the skin.
As sebum is excreted, pores can become clogged up, leading to blockages where a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes is able to flourish. This forms pimples on the skin’s surface.
Many treatments for teenage acne work by:
- Unclogging pores
- Killing bacteria
- Decreasing inflammation
Effective Acne Treatment
Often, patients visit us because over the counter acne treatments, including washes, creams, and gels, have been ineffective.
CosMedics offers a number of treatments for acne and acne scarring, the most popular of which are highlighted below.
Chemical peels are acids that chemically exfoliate the skin. This exfoliation causes skin cells to reproduce more rapidly, leading to faster turnover of calls and preventing pores from becoming clogged.
The treatment of acne requires medical-strength (20-70% strength) chemicals peels, which must be administered by a doctor. At CosMedics, peels are administered by trained physicians with years of experience in skin care.
Laser energy can be used to kill the bacteria responsible for the acne. Live bacteria contain compounds called porphyrins inside their cell walls. Laser treatment causes these compounds to release electrons. This damages the cell wall and kills the bacteria.
Just like laser treatments, certain wavelengths of light can kill bacteria by destroying their cell walls. BLU-U® is a unique blue light that delivers clearer skin in this way. Treatment is painless and only takes a few minutes once or twice a week.
Radiofrequency treatments deliver pulses of energy into the deeper layers of the skin. Energy and heat from the RF treatment breaks down scar tissue with minimal damage to the upper layers of skin.
Research in this area is ongoing, and has shown promising results in the treatment of moderate to severe acne as well as acne scarring.
Microdermabrasion is a facial treatment that uses tiny exfoliating crystals to clean pores and remove the top layer of dead and dry skin. This can be an effective way to treat acne, the dark spots left after acne breakouts, and acne scars.
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive, non-chemical treatment suitable for all skin types.
Retinoids and antibiotics are two commonly prescribed treatments for adolescent acne.
- Retinoids are a type of medication derived from vitamin A. They can be applied to the skin, where they unblock clogged pores, or can be taken orally.
- Antibiotics (taken orally or applied to the skin) aim to kill the bacteria that causes redness and swelling around blocked pores.
- Hormonal medication (for example, the birth control pill) can also control acne severity in some cases.
A Holistic Approach to Acne Treatment
Every case of acne is different and will respond differently to treatments. Lifestyle considerations, such as diet and stress, have also been shown to have an effect on our skin. That’s why the medical professionals at CosMedics employ a holistic approach that includes dietary and lifestyle education as well as multiple treatment options.
The most effective way to treat acne will be to discuss your symptoms with a qualified medical professional who will be able to recommend a customized treatment plan for your unique needs. By familiarizing yourself with the options highlighted here, you are well on the way to taking control of your acne.
Ready to Discuss Your Options?
CosMedics is an Edmonton-based skin clinic specializing in acne treatments. To book a consultation, call 780.306.0908.