Acne: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known As A Teen

Acne is a common skin condition among teenagers. It affects up to 50 million Americans annually and can have a detrimental psychological impact on teens’ daily lives. Fortunately, resources and information are abundant and readily available to us. But, it’s also important to decipher what’s legitimate information and what’s a marketing scheme. Here are 5 tips that I wished I had known as a teen to help with acne. 

1.    Clean Your Skin Using Medical-grade Skincare

Clean your face twice a day. Use dermatologist-recommended products such as Cera Ve, La Roche Posay, Vanicream, Cetaphil, or Neutrogena. These can all be found over the counter at drug stores like CVS, Walgreens, HEB, or Target. 

2.    Keep Your Hands Off Your Face

Although there’s a strong desire to pop a juicy pimple on your face, avoid this urge as it can increase your risk of a lifelong scar. Instead, try using an over-the-counter spot treatment to help dry out and reduce the pimple. “My favorite trick is applying a spot treatment like Neutrogena Stubborn Acne to a pimple overnight. Benzoyl peroxide, found in Neutrogena Stubborn Acne, is a topical antibiotic that kills the bacteria in an acne lesion. You will wake up the next morning and be pleasantly surprised on how effective this product can be” says Natalie Gibson, a physician assistant at Sanova Dermatology – Dripping Springs. Be careful with benzoyl peroxide ingredients because they can bleach fabrics. You may want to apply a covering like a bandaid to avoid this if your bedding is not white. 

3.    Use Non-comedogenic Products

Acne-prone skin requires non-comedogenic face products. Face cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen, and makeup fall within this category. The word “non-comedogenic” refers to formulas that will not clog your pores which can promote acne flares. If you have any concerns about whether a product falls into this category, check the label as it explicitly says non-comedogenic. 

4.    Use Sunscreen Daily, Yes, Every Day! 

If you are actively treating your acne, you are most likely using products that can dry out your skin. Some of these products can even increase your risk of sunburns. Finding the right SPF for you while treating your acne is key to beautiful, clear skin.  Sunscreen products have come a long way. PA Gibson says her favorite sunscreens for acne-prone patients include Cera Ve Ultra-Light Moisturizer + SPF because it is lightweight and non-greasy and Elta MD UV Clear because it is also lightweight and is formulated with Niacinamide which helps reduce redness -commonly seen in acne-prone skin. Get in the habit of applying a good SPF daily, and your skin will have more clarity and youthfulness.

5.   See a Dermatologist & Create a Plan

This is the easiest and fastest way to tackle your acne quickly and effectively. Seeing a dermatology provider will ensure a customized plan to help combat the type of acne you are experiencing. Factors such as your skin type (oily, dry, or combination), when your acne flares most, where on your face it occurs, and the character of the acne (cystic, inflammatory, hormonal) will all be evaluated at your visit. Dermatology PA Natalie Gibson shared, “my favorite thing about seeing acne patients is creating a customized skincare regiment which is clearly written out for each patient with details on how to use certain medications properly. I love ensuring that each patient knows we have a plan to help tackle their acne before they leave. I know how much of an impact blemish-prone skin can have in any individual’s life.” When over-the-counter products aren’t cutting it, it is essential to see a professional who can guide you in the right direction and prescribe you more effective therapies.

Sanova Dermatology is a one-stop-shop for all things dermatology, including cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology. To provide you with the highest quality of care, we combine experience, education, technology, compassion, and extraordinary skills. Our cutting-edge facilities are outfitted with the latest technology, and our caring staff is up to date on the latest practices. Contact us today for all your skincare needs.

About The Author

Natalie Gibson, MPAS, Board Certified Physician Assistant, graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch where she earned her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies with Honors. Prior to obtaining her masters, Natalie attended The University of Texas at Austin where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences. She was inducted into many honor societies throughout her time at UT.

Natalie is currently seeing both medical and cosmetic patients at Sanova Dermatology – Dripping Springs.

Learn more about her and schedule here!

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