Teen and Child Acne Treatment Guidelines

With back-to-school season underway, you've likely been working to ensure that your child has everything he or she needs to be prepared for a great year. But while you've been thinking about school supplies and new clothes, have you considered their skin care needs? While a skin care routine is always beneficial, kids and teens affected by acne especially benefit from structured skin care. After all, anyone who has struggled with acne in their youth can attest to the strain the condition can have on your confidence. Studies agree, with one showing that social phobia was present in 45% of patients with acne.

There's been a noticeable downward shift in the age at which acne first appears, according to a panel of pediatricians and pediatric dermatologists who developed updated guidelines for the treatment of pediatric acne in 2013. While age 12 was once considered the entry age for acne, today it is commonly seen in kids ages 7-12.

Whether your child is 8 or 18, there are a few tried-and-true strategies for helping them overcome acne breakouts. In fact, according to the guidelines, "treatment of pediatric acne is similar to acne treatment in older adolescents and adults" while early treatment helps to minimize the potential for scarring and post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Among the teen and child acne treatment suggestions are the following:

Use a Gentle Cleanser

We've been conditioned to think that acne requires an aggressive treatment approach but the reality is that harsh cleansers can "disrupt the skin barrier, increase trans-epidermal water loss, encourage bacterial colonization, promote comedones and cause symptoms of burning and stinging." Instead, kids and teens, like all people, should wash twice daily with a gentle, soap-free and ph-balanced cleanser.

Product suggestion: Lexli Cleansing Lotion

Incorporate Benzoyl Peroxide

While there are a handful of acne treatment ingredients that have been proven effective, including salicylic acid, sulfur, sodium sulfacetamide and resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide is the most widely studied of over-the-counter products and has been shown to be "one of the most versatile, safe, inexpensive and effective acne therapies." Benzoyl peroxide products should first be used in low concentrations and just once a day to avoid skin dryness, redness and peeling. As skin adjusts, frequency can be increased.

Product suggestion: Lexli Clarifying Lotion

Use a Product to Normalize Shedding of Skin Cells

Among the four main causes of acne is the improper shedding of cells in the hair follicles, which leads to clogged pores and the ultimate formation of comedones. To help normalize desquamation (shedding), look to a retinoid product or one formulated with alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids, which encourage exfoliation. To build tolerance to such products, begin using just a few times each week and increase frequency as the skin adjusts.

Product suggestion: Lexli AloeGlyC®

Use a Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer

Moisturizers are important in any skin care routine for their ability to attract moisture to the skin while preventing the evaporation of moisture from the skin. In those using acne treatment products, however, they plan an additional role: soothing the skin and minimizing the potential for dryness from use of active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide.

Product suggestion: Lexli Daily Moisturizer for Oily Skin

When providing your child or teen with a skin care regimen intended to address acne, it's important to recognize the importance of sticking with it. No acne treatment protocol will be effective if it isn't used continuously. Additionally, a dose of patience is key. It generally takes several weeks for the results of an acne treatment regimen to become apparent. For that reason, it is advised that you and your child wait to evaluate the results until the regimen has been consistently implemented for 30 days.