Few things can bum you out like an ill-timed zit. And what could be worse than dealing with pimples through the teenage years? As if being a teen were not hard enough, many people experience their first pimples at puberty. Why are acne and pimples common during adolescence? Read on to discover the reasons, plus get easy tips for pimple-free skin.
The science behind acne in teens
Why does acne happen? To understand, let us dive beneath the surface of the skin to where the sebaceous glands lie. The sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum that protects the skin and keeps it supple. Once it is produced by the glands, sebum travels through the pores to the skin’s surface.
Sometimes, the oil glands generate too much sebum. This leaves your skin feeling greasy and the excess oil clogs the pores. Dead skin cells, dirt, makeup residue, and pollution aggravate these blockages. Acne bacteria thrive in blocked pores, causing the redness and swelling associated with pimples.
Puberty adds further complexity to how the skin functions. As you enter the teen years, the body starts producing hormones known as androgens. Testosterone, for example, is a type of androgen. Androgen production stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum than usual. The skin now becomes oily. The excess sebum jams up the pores, allowing acne bacteria to flourish and increasing the risk of breakouts.
How severe is your acne?
Acne does not affect all teenagers equally. If either of your parents experienced
acne growing up, chances are high that you will too. A lucky few get away with just an occasional pimple. Others are left to cope with severe, pus-filled breakouts that leave scars. The good news is that acne, no matter how severe, is manageable. Once you figure out the type and severity of your acne, finding a treatment plan becomes easier.
- Mild acne: Are tiny spots and bumps peppering your T-zone? Whiteheads are tiny bulges on the skin. They appear when the pores get clogged and close up. You might also notice blackheads. Here the surface of the clogged pore stays open but becomes darker.
- Moderate acne: Pimples form when sebum, dead skin cells, impurities, and acne bacteria plug the pores beneath the skin’s surface. Redness, itchiness, and mild pain may occur. Some pimples also contain pus as the body fights infection caused by the acne bacteria.
- Severe acne: Sometimes the infection penetrates deep within the skin. This may lead to large inflamed lumps called nodules and painful, pus-filled cysts. When severe acne clears up, scarring may occur. To be on the safe side, consult a dermatologist when dealing with severe acne.
(Identify your acne grade to pinpoint the best treatment plan.)
Tips for acne-free skin
Hold up a mirror to identify the extent of your acne problem. Once you know more, follow these tips to get your skin back on track.
- Choose a mild cleanser: Bath soap could dry your skin and aggravate the acne. It is better to cleanse with a mild face wash that suits your skin type. For best results, wash twice a day with slightly warm water and pat dry with a soft, clean towel. Teens who engage in physical activities like sports or dance should make it a habit to wash off the sweat afterwards.
- Use an acne-fighting formula: Go for a lightweight product like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream. It is non-greasy, plant-based, and suitable for all skin types. Plus, it fights all the major signs of acne and leaves your skin feeling clear and happy. Apply the cream post cleansing and toning, and remember to moisturise after.
Be patient and consistent: There is no overnight cure for acne. So, do not
get impatient and experiment with multiple products one after the other. It is best to stick to a treatment plan for at least two or three months. Stick to the plan even after your skin clears up to keep future zits at bay.
- Stay away from irritants: Prevent clogged pores by using skincare and haircare products that are ‘non-comedogenic’. Another tip is to change pillowcases every week. This prevents bacteria and dust from transferring onto the skin. Your mobile phone also collects impurities and bacteria. Wipe it down once a day and your skin will thank you for it.
(Want more? Here are 10 tips for a spotless complexion!)
The next time acne gets you down, remember this: nobody has perfect skin. Acne-prone skin is a struggle for many teenagers, but there is no reason to lose sleep over it. With the right products and techniques, you can control your acne problem. Get ready to find your way to healthy, happy skin.
Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.