As many as 85% of teenagers experience acne, and a recent New York Times article discussed how psychologically scarring acne can be for these young adults. Not only can acne have the ability to scar your skin, but it can also have psychological scarring and decrease confidence during the teenage years.
Teenagers tend to get acne because their changing hormones prompts increased oil production, which attracts the acne-causing bacteria and causes clogged pores. Some people think that washing aggressively can keep your skin acne-free, but the truth is that scrubbing the skin too roughly can actually result in acne-causing inflammation!
Another myth is that eating fried foods can cause acne. The truth is that only foods with a high-glycemic index, dairy foods, and meat-heavy diets have been linked to acne. Since dietary causes of acne are not well-understood and not likely to be the main cause of acne development, we recommend seeking the help of a professional for treatment of acne. We discuss diet with our teenage patients when it appears to be a factor, but more important is addressing the other causes of acne before permanent scarring develops on the skin.
Over-the-counter treatments like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and Differin can be used to treat new or mild acne. However, if acne is causing scarring (no matter how mild or severe it is), we recommend coming to see us for prompt treatment. For acne that is not leaving marks behind, over-the-counter treatments can be tried for 4 to 6 weeks, but if acne is still not clear, that is the time to see one of our Dermatology Physician Assistants or Dermatologists for treatment. Our goal is to clear our patients’ skin before permanent scars develop – both psychological scars and scars on the skin.
Lauren Sundick, PA-C, is a board-certified dermatology physician assistant. She is accepting new patients in our Plymouth and Edina locations.