Acne easier to treat than some adolescents might think
(Medical Xpress)—For teenagers struggling with acne, Sophia Yen, MD, has a simple message: Your doctor can help.
"People don't realize how easy it is to treat," said Yen, an adolescent medicine specialist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics. There are good reasons to visit a doctor for acne treatment, she added: Prescription acne medications work better than over-the-counter products; the treatment can be tailored to the severity of the acne; and for teens with insurance coverage, prescription treatments often cost less than those purchased over the counter.
Physicians can also help navigate the tricky terrain between parents and kids around seeking acne treatment. "I think it should totally be up to the teen to decide whether to treat his or her acne," Yen said, adding that teens may feel self-conscious but not say so.
"Some patients, when I ask if they want to do something about their acne, say, 'No, I'm fine,'" Yen said. "But after I tell them about the easy, effective and simple treatments we can offer, they say, 'Um, I think I do want that acne cream or pill you talked about.'"
Pediatricians, adolescent medicine specialists and dermatologists can all treat teen acne, and are excellent resources for hesitant teens or parents who don't want to create a conflict about their child's skin, she added.
Parents may be especially anxious if they struggled with acne themselves. There is a genetic component to acne, Yen said, noting that genes influence the skin's response to inflammation and its propensity to scar. But acne medication can help prevent scarring, reduce skin pain and build patients' social confidence.
The first-line acne drug Yen recommends is topically-applied tretinoin, a vitamin A derivative that increases skin-cell turnover, decreases the skin's oil production and prevents pimples from forming. Because of its mechanism, it takes six to eight weeks for patients' skin to improve.
"It clears out all the zits that are on their way," Yen said. "So I tell patients, 'You gotta get through the ugly to get to the pretty.'" The drug also increases sun sensitivity, so patients must use a non-pore-clogging sunscreen, which is identified on some labels as "non-comedogenic."
If tretinoin doesn't help, doctors add on topical antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria, or oral antibiotics for chest or back acne that is hard to treat topically. Young women who have perimenstrual acne flares—skin outbreaks tied to their menstrual cycles—may also find birth control pills effective, Yen said.
Finally, for patients who need stronger treatment, there is the acne medication isoretinion. Although very effective, it has notable side effects, including causing severe birth defects if used during pregnancy. Female patients must use two forms of birth control and have monthly pregnancy tests while using the drug. For many patients, a three-month course of isoretinion is sufficient, Yen said.
In addition to prescribing acne treatments, Yen also dispels common acne-related myths. Among the common misconceptions are:
- Myth: People with acne should wash their faces more often. Fact: Excessive face-washing strips the skin of natural oils, causing oil over-production that can worsen acne, Yen says. Two or three daily face-washes are plenty.
- Myth: Junk food causes acne. Fact: Food choices such as french fries and chocolate have never been scientifically linked to acne. However, working in a greasy environment (such as flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant) can trigger acne outbreaks, as can stress, wearing a lot of pore-clogging makeup, or wearing a football helmet or other sports equipment that puts pressure on the skin.
- Myth: You can get rid of pimples by squeezing them. Fact: No, Yen says: Squeezing increases skin damage and makes pimples heal more slowly.
- Myth: Only teenagers get acne. Fact: Although acne is common in high school, some people develop acne in their college years or later. The same treatments that work for teens can also help adults.
"I didn't realize that had been an issue, that he was using his hair to hide acne on his forehead," she said. "I want teens to know that if their acne bothers them, we can help."
Provided by Stanford University Medical Center
- How the drug isotretinoin zaps acne Mar 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers working on vaccine for acne Sep 26, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Combined therapy of acne medications offers new treatment option for patients Mar 14, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Acne may prevent people from participating in sport and exercise, says research Feb 25, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- The correlation between acne and social and mental health problems Sep 20, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Few randomized clinical trials have been done to assess clinical prediction rules for patients with lower back pain, and the trials that have been done are of low quality and do not provide ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
A new, highly sensitive blood test that quickly detects even the lowest levels of malaria parasites in the body could make a dramatic difference in efforts to tackle the disease in the UK and across the world, according to ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—The World Health Organization says a yellow fever booster vaccination given 10 years after the initial shot isn't necessary.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0