Acne is an incredibly common skin condition affecting 80 to 90% of teenagers to some degree. We often get questions from parents asking how to effectively maintain a good relationship with their kids during this tough time. As their bodies undergo changes during their teenage years, teenagers become a lot more self conscious. This can lead to some teenagers become more reclusive as they are scared of being judged by their peers. It is important as a parent to never make you child feel like acne is their fault. Acne a this age is almost entirely due to hormones so there is little that can be done. As a parent you should try to continuously encourage your kid to continue doing the things they enjoy such as sport to ensure that they take their focus off their looks and focus on other outlets. Constantly remind them that looks are not nearly as important as society would lead you to believe and that having a strong sense of self and a passion for something is far more important. Fortunately however, there are somethings that can be done to reduce the severity of hormonal acne for teenagers. We spoke to the expert Dermatologists from dermatology Ireland and asked them to give us some advice. Dr. O’Connell gave said the following: “I trained in America but have been a dermatologist in Dublin for over 10 years now. When we have patients come in the first thing we do is ask them to fill out a questionnaire so we can get a better understanding of not only their lifestyle, but also their environmental factors. Over the years we have noticed a few commonalities between our patients.
1. They often place a lot of emphasis on their education. This is great, but around exam time especially they become very stressed and this can lead to an increase in cortisol. This can cause fluctuations in their hormones an lead to worsening. We suggest that parents try to not put too much pressure on their kids around exam time and remind them that a bad grade isn’t the end of the world.
2. They often have poor diets or have long breaks between their meals. There is a clear link between acne and diet. Avoiding processed foods such as sugar and flour as well as limiting salt intake can significantly reduce acne. This means forgoing chocolate, fast food and carbonated drinks which can be difficult for some teenagers. Packing your child a healthy lunch and cooking healthy meals at home can help combat this problem.
3. They have poor personal hygiene. Ensuring that your child showers daily, change clothes regularly, shower after sport and change their towels and bed sheets regularly can also have a positive effect. Acne is a result of the body producing excess sebum from skin pores. When too much sebum builds up it gets infected and results in acne. By taking the above steps you can reduce this build up. Washing your face multiple times a day can also be beneficial.
Although the above steps can help reduce the acne counts in our patients, we often use topical medications such a retin-a and hydrocortisone. In some cases we also suggest that the patient take isotretinoin or accutane as it is commonly referred to. This medication has gotten a bad reputation due to poor dosing guidelines in America but is actually quite safe when used in low doses over a prolonged period of time. Standard dosing used to be 0.5mg to 1g per kg in America, at our dermatology clinic in Dublin we often put patients on 0.1mg per kg. This means that a 70kg person would take a daily dose of 7mg a day instead of 35mg – 70mg a day. We started using this dosing as standard after a study was done that showed that 0.1mg was as effective as 1g per kg when taken over a prolonged period of time. Duration is dependent of how long it takes for the skin to respond to the medication but courses generally last for 6 – 8 months. The literature suggests that patients get a cumulative dose of 120mg per kg although this can take a long time on such a low dose so we suggest taking a second 6 -8 month course if needed instead of taking one longer course.
You can read more about acne on our website”
I hope you found that helpful. Please keep sending us in questions and we will try and answer more parenting concerns in our next blog post!