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Understanding Teenage Acne

The vast majority of teenagers will get acne at some point, as shifts in hormone levels stimulate oil glands to produce high levels of sebum and it combines with dead skin cells to clog pores.

Clogged pores can become inflamed, leading to pimples on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. Acne usually makes an appearance during adolescence years, specifically the pre-teen and teenage time frame, though as puberty often starts later in boys than in it does in girls, boys frequently get acne at a later age than girls do.

Acne in Boys

Boys develop higher levels of a hormone called androgen, which is associated with male traits like greater muscle mass, deeper voice and body hair. In many cases boys’ acne can be much more severe than girls, spread to more areas such as the chest and last longer.

When boys need to start shaving it poses another problem. Nicking the tops of the acne lesions or pimples makes them worse and can spread bacteria; as well as impacting healing as wounds are constantly being opened.

Acne in Girls

Girls are usually quicker to seek a skin care product than boys are, and have the option of using makeup to help conceal the acne breakouts. However, use of oily or pore-clogging make-up may exacerbate the problem.

Acne can appear as one of the following:

Whiteheads: White dots that are pores impacted with oil and skin covered by skin layers.

Blackheads: Black bumps that are impacted pores in which material pushes out through the follicles. The black colour is not from dirt. It may be from bacteria, dead skin cells, and matter that react with oxygen.

Papules, pustules or nodules: More serious lesions appearing red and swollen due to inflammation or infection of the tissue around the clogged follicles, which are often painful and feel hard.

Cysts: Deep, pus-filled pimples.

Factors that may aggravate Acne in Teenagers

  • Friction caused by leaning on or rubbing the skin; harsh scrubbing
  • Picking or squeezing blemishes
  • Pressure from bike helmets, backpacks, or tight collars
  • Changing hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women two to seven days before the start of the menstrual period
  • Stress – High levels of stress trigger inflammation in the body which can cause breakouts.


How to help avoid or lessen acne

  • Cleanse your skin twice a day. Avoid scrubbing hard with a washcloth as this can worsen the condition by irritating the skin. It is vitally important to use the correct products for your particular skin. Avoid OTC (over the counter) harsh astringent products
  • Do not use facial wipes of Micellar Water to cleanse your skin
  • Remove any sweat, oil or makeup applied earlier in the day- never go to bed with make-up on, or allow sweat to dry on the skin
  • Teens tend to get acne in the T-zone of the face (chin, nose, and forehead). Using the correct products recommended can help prevent this.
  • Don’t touch your face, because the oil and bacteria from your hands can worsen your teenage acne.
  • Do not squeeze pimples; it increases risk of scarring and spreading bacteria.

Acne Scars

While acne can be a short-term condition, it can have longer term effects for those that have suffered from it in the past. Acne over a period of time can leave scars and even when the condition has subsided or has been treated, those scars may remain. We offer a range of solutions if this is the case both home care and clinical treatments. Book in for a consultation to discuss with our skincare specialist.