Facts about acne in every age group, including getting the proper treatment and diagnosis, along with managing the condition, are included in this article.
Anyone, no matter their age, can have acne. Infants, toddlers, tweens, teens, adults, and senior citizens can all suffer from this unsightly and oftentimes painful condition. Acne occurs when the skins pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and grime. Skin naturally produces oil in order to maintain the acid mantle (a protective layer of oil with a pH of 4-5.5 which serves to protect the skin and preserve moisture) and both excessive washing and lack thereof can affect the acid mantle, causing acne to flare up. Acne can also be caused by hormonal fluctuations, heredity, and the use of certain drugs. When acne is severe and left untreated it can cause light to moderate scarring of the skin, as well as permanent discoloration. While there are treatments that may lessen the appearance of acne related scarring, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and fillers, it is best to get a proper diagnosis and begin treatment of the condition before scarring becomes an issue.
While acne in newborns and toddlers can be alarming, it is quite normal and is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong. In the event that your child gets baby acne there are a few things you can do to help.
Wash the face with warm water.
Don't scrub at the acne, surface trauma can cause inflammation and spreading.
Don't pick at the acne, this can cause inflammation as well as spreading the acne to another part of the face.
Typically the acne will go away on it's own within a few weeks, if it is severe or persists for longer that three months you should speak to your pediatrician about treatment options.
Acne in tweens and teens is very common, and it is more common for males to have severe cases than females. Adult onset acne is not uncommon either, and everyone suffering from acne should know that all skin behaves differently, and that what works to treat one persons acne may not work for another. There are some basic steps you can follow to help banish mild acne from your skin, they are listed in the order they should be preformed, below.
Cleanse. Always cleanse the face using warm water, not hot. Using hot water can open pores too much allowing more dirt and bacteria entrance, and can make acne worse. Scrubbing with a washcloth can also worsen acne, causing inflammation and the spread of bacteria. If you don't know what type of face wash you should use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a good product to start with. It's gentle enough that it's recommended for sensitive skin, it is also non-comedonogenic (won't clog pores) and fragrance free. Also, don't wash the face with soap or shampoo, these products were not meant to be used on facial skin, they are too harsh and drying and may contribute to an acne problem.
Pat Dry. Never rub the face dry. This can cause acne to appear worse due to inflammation.
Tone. After drying the face use a cotton ball or pad to apply toner to the face. Toner helps to bring the pH of the skin back within normal levels. Sea Breeze for Sensitive Skin is a good toner to try if you are unsure what kind to buy. Witch Hazel can also be used as a skin toner.
Moisturize. After allowing the toner to dry a moisturizer should be applied. Even oily skin needs to be moisturized. There are many moisturizers to choose from, for the purposes of treating mild acne one containing salicylic acid would be the place to start.
This regimen will lessen mild acne but may not effect severe cases, such as cystic acne, at all. Severe acne should be referred to a Dermatologist for treatment. The patient will likely be started on a routine like the one stated above with a specific product line and prescribed topical medications to begin. Some common topical medications used to treat acne are Retin A Micro, and Differin Gel. These medications can cause the acne to worsen before improving and may also cause excessive dryness and peeling of the skin. If topical medications do not improve the condition oral antibiotics are usually the next step. Tetracycline and Doxycycline are two common antibiotics used for the treatment of acne. If antibiotics fail to treat the patients acne they may be put on Accutane. Accutane is used to treat severe cases of cystic acne, and is prescribed extremely carefully by the physicians who use it. Accutane has a multitude of severe side effects, including, but certainly not limited to nose bleeds, birth defects, and dry skin, eyes, and throat. Females being treated with Accutane must be put on a birth control pill and sign a consent form indicating that they will use a minimum of two types of birth control should they participate in sexual activity (the pill plus whatever other choice they make). Even if the patient is not sexually active these precautions must still be taken. Occasionally one round of Accutane is not enough for some extreme cases, and the patient may be prescribed a second round after a certain amount of time has elapsed, though this is incredibly rare.
Proper skin care is essential to the prevention and management of acne, though there are certainly cases in which proper care will not resolve the problem. If you have moderate to severe acne seeking the treatment of a Dermatologist is highly recommended and will certainly help you to attain your goal of clear skin, not matter what your age.