How should you deal with your teen's acne?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, around 85 percent of all teenagers in the U.S. suffer from acne each year. Coming at a time of adolescent self-consciousness and issues of self-esteem, acne and how your teens' skin looks can have a huge impact on how they feel about themselves and whether they think that they're attractive. If your teen has a mild case of acne, over-the-counter ointments that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may be enough to handle the problem. You should advise your teen to keep hands and hair off the face to reduce extra oil and provide a supply of pillowcases so that he or she can change the linen on the pillow daily. Your teenager should avoid oil-based makeup, too.

If your teen's acne is stubborn or very severe, take him or her to a dermatologist for stronger medication. It could be the doctor will prescribe antibiotics, such as erythromycin, minocycline or tetracycline to be taken by mouth, or retinoids. Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, unclog pores and thereby prevent the formation of acne pimples. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the retinoid isoretinoin (commonly known as Accutane or Roaccutane) as the most effective treatment for acne. While it certainly does work, it may take 12 to 20 weeks to clear up a bad case of acne, it can dry out your teen's lips and the skin around them, and it can cause severe birth defects, so it shouldn't be used if your daughter is pregnant or might become pregnant.

Sometimes a diluted corticosteroid such as Kenalog can be injected directly into acne cysts; alternatively, laser therapy, chemical peels or dermabrasion can be performed to clean out the excess oil and bacteria from the skin, but try the less invasive treatments first.