Teens & Acne

Most teens will suffer from acne, in fact, on average 85%, will suffer from the signs of acne, including whiteheads and blackheads due to clogged pores, lumps that cover various body parts, such as the face, back, neck, chest, shoulders, and more, or even the simple, yet complex, pimple.

Those who suffer from acne tend to do so because of genetics, their mother and father were also afflicted in their youth. That said, there are ways to treat acne, and perhaps even prevent it, including the scarring that can often occur as a result.

What Makes Teenagers More Susceptible?

Often, acne is followed by the Latin word Vulgaris, which can be defined as “common” or even “normal” when used in combination with a disease. When describing the type of acne from which many teens suffer, this term is frequently used due to the simple fact that it affects anywhere from 70 to almost 90 percent; it is a common condition.

Dermatologists believe that acne, and the symptoms that come with it, are the body’s way of letting the afflicted person know that changes are happening, such as puberty. But why does acne occur? Let’s take a closer look.

At its core, acne can be seen as inflammation of the epidermal layer, the outer layer of the skin. When the skin’s pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells and such, inflammation is the result.

Our bodies have what is known as Propionibacterium, the naturally existing bacteria that live in our skin. The accumulation of oil, dead skin cells and other debris cause the bacteria to multiply quickly and thus creates inflammation.

During puberty, our bodies create supplementary hormones, Androgens specifically, which help to regulate the development and maintenance of male traits, such as facial hair. When these hormones are secreted, the sebaceous glands will release higher levels of oil, which results in pores becoming clogged.

Teenagers may be tempted to scrub the oil from their faces, but this can actually be counterproductive and make matters worse. There is also discrimination against who develops acne in terms of gender or race.
When acne develops, it typically can be visually noted on an individual’s chin, forehead, and even nose, this is known as the T-zone, but the cheeks, neck, back, chest, and shoulders may also display acne.

Some teenagers first develop either blackheads or whiteheads, however, papules that become red and swollen, as well as become filled with pus, may soon follow. Painful cysts can also develop in severe cases.

What Causes Teenage Acne?

It is believed that there are five main causes for teen acne to develop; they are as follows:

  • Heredity or Genes

If either a mother or father or possibly both parents, suffered from acne when they were younger, the chance for their offspring to also develop the condition is greatly increased. The size of an individual’s oil glands, how much oil is produced, and whether or not a pore absorbs the oil are all genetic attributes.

  • Hormonal Influence

Hormonal fluctuations, such as the previously mentioned androgens, can influence the development of acne in a male. But, testosterone, another male hormone (yet women do have this hormone too) primarily drives the development of acne in teens, specifically during puberty. Some teenagers are more sensitive to these hormones than others.

  • Dietary Habits

There are some that believe, such as the Harvard School of Public Health, that dairy and the consumption of this animal product can result in the development of acne. They believe that the nonfat portion of a dairy product actually has the hormone androgen, which therefore could be a contributing factor.
They also believe that this portion contains insulin growth factors as well as progesterone. In order to verify their findings, more studies need to be conducted. Although dairy is believed to be a factor, other foods have been crossed off the list as previously believed culprits, they are chocolate, carbonated, sugary drinks, and fried foods.

  • Skin Care Products

We already discussed that over-washing the skin can be counterproductive with acne. It is, therefore, best to wash your skin twice a day, as suggested by dermatologists, and to be sure to use non-acnegenic (not believed to cause acne) or non-comedogenic (non-clogging) products when taking care of your skin.

  • Stress and Anxiety

It is a vicious cycle, a teenager develops acne, become stressed due to the acne, and in turn, develops more acne. When a teen has higher stress levels they develop more of the hormone androgen and thus further inflame the skin due to the neuropeptide development that also occurs.

The end belief is this, although the development of teenage acne cannot be completely avoided, dermatologists do believe that the acne can be managed. For those that suffer greatly, the treatment may include oral and topical aids, a healthy diet, proper skin care products, and avoiding touching the vulnerable area.