Acne afflicts nearly every teenager at some point during adolescence, but that doesn’t make it easier to bear. The emotional toll of acne is a familiar problem for many young people and can wreak havoc on adolescent self-confidence.
Fortunately, almost all cases of acne are treatable.
Who gets acne?
Anyone of any age can get acne, even adults, but it is most common in teenagers. In fact, acne is considered a normal part of adolescence. 100% of the population can expect to have acne at some time during adolescence, regardless of race or ethnicity. During puberty, elevated hormone levels stimulate higher sebum production than usual, increasing the chance of acne flares.
Boys are more likely to get it during adolescence because their skin tends to produce more sebum. In adulthood, women are more prone to acne than men, likely because of the hormonal swings of menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
People with a family history of acne are also more likely to get acne.
How is teen acne treated?
It is important to treat acne early to prevent the development of acne scars.
There are a wide range of acne treatments available. Your doctor will recommend an acne treatment based on the location and severity of acne, response to previous treatment and other factors.
Sports and acne mechanica
Teens who play sports, wear a backpack, or play a musical instrument that comes into contact with the face and neck may get a form of acne called acne mechanica. This type of acne is caused by irritation to the skin from excessive heat or sweat, friction, or pressure. Common causes of acne mechanica include:
- Helmets and helmet straps, especially those worn by football and hockey players and motorcycle riders
- Shoulder pads and straps worn by football players
- Tight clothing, particularly jeans, underwear (bras) or uniforms made of synthetic fabric
- Tight hats or headbands worn for long periods of time
- Backback straps
- Musical instruments, such as the violin, tucked against the neck for hours
Stick with your acne treatment
No acne medication can do its job properly unless it is given time to work. It’s very important to be patient and take your medication as directed, for as long as directed.
If you don’t see results right away, don’t be discouraged. Your medication is hard at work preventing new lesions from forming. Stopping treatment early will likely cause pimples and zits to reappear.
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Last updated: 2/6/2021