Adolescence – Breaking out!

The main issue for teenagers and young adults is that due to hormonal changes the skin is becoming oilier and we suffer from the dreaded break outs. Acne, an inflammatory condition, can be observed with variation in severity, having often quite an impact on wellbeing and self-esteem during a time in live when we are often feeling the most vulnerable about how others see us.


It is not unheard of that early signs of acne can be observed in preadolescents (this can be as young as 7 years old) due to the onset of early puberty with a surge in hormones. Skin changes for this age group are usually very mild, typically in the T-zone of forehead, nose and chin with whiteheads or blackheads but not so much the angry inflammatory lesions. To help the young person in your household to manage this, usually over the counter skin care products with benzoyle peroxide are sufficient. It’s about establishing a nice daily skin care routine of cleansing for opening pores, balancing bacterial colonisation with topical cream applications (often overnight) and frequent moisturising (yes, despite oily skin we need to maintain a good skin barrier! Dry skin is vulnerable and penetrating bacteria can cause inflammation and infection).



From the age of 12-17, we are talking about adolescents and unfortunately dreaded red pimples with or without yellow heads are getting more common. For this age group, the surge in hormonal changes is reflected in at times extremely painful and psychologically troublesome lesions. If untreated, they can result not only in bad infection but run a greater risk of scarring. So early intervention and step-up treatment as needed is the best way to go about this. A daily skin care regime with topical treatment as above is a must but sometimes a more advanced management regime with oral antibiotics (prescription required) or oral Vitamin A (this needs to be prescribed by a dermatologist) is unfortunately indicated. Some girls experience improvement of their skin when taking the oral contraceptive pill to control hormonal levels better but obviously this needs good medical assessment and outweighing of possible health risks. Additionally, LED light therapy with especially Blue Light has shown to have antibacterial effects and Red Light can help to reduce inflammatory changes.


It is important to know that all these treatments take time to show effects, often up to 3 months, and persistence is the key. A long time in a young, self-conscientious person’s life but so worth the effort and if no improvement is observed specialist medical input should be sought.


Hope you feel good in your skin!