Sana (14) is so frustrated with acne on her face for the last year. Her skin was absolutely normal since childhood, but ever since she entered her teenage years, her face has become filled with tiny pimples which refuse to leave her alone! It has hampered her confidence and she feels helpless. Are you sailing in the same boat too? Let’s find out more about how to tackle teenage acne in this edition of That’s Puzzling.
Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages, but it is particularly prevalent during the teenage years. Most teens, both boys and girls, who suffer from acne not only become frustrated and self-conscious but also lose their confidence because of it.
What are acne/pimples?
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles (on our face or anywhere else) become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This leads to the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads on the face, neck, chest, and back.
Teenage acne, also known as adolescent acne, is a type of acne that typically appears during puberty. It is caused by hormonal changes that occur during this time, which can cause an increase in sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin, and it helps to lubricate and protect the skin. However, when there is an excess of sebum, it can clog the hair follicles and lead to acne.
So, are acne and pimples the same?
Acne is a disease and pimples are one of its symptoms.
Why do they happen?
There are many reasons for the same but as we do on other teenage problems, let’s blame it on hormones too! Hormonal changes during puberty are one of the main culprits, as they can cause an increase in sebum production. In addition, genetics can play a role in the development of acne. If your parents or siblings had acne during their teenage years, you are also more likely to develop it.
As you go and check this fact with your parents/siblings, there are some other factors too that can contribute to teenage acne:
- Poor hygiene: Failing to wash your face regularly can lead to a buildup of oil and dead skin cells, which can clog hair follicles and cause acne.
- Diet: Eating a diet high in processed foods ( white bread, pizzas, pasta, burgers, fries, colas – basically everything that you may like!) and sugar can contribute to the development of acne.
- Stress: Yes, exam stress can cause this too. Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances, which can contribute to acne.
How can you prevent it?
While it may not be possible to prevent acne entirely, there are some tips to reduce them a bit:
- Practice good hygiene: Yes, your mom says this too! But trust us, good hygiene can lessen most of your issues, pimples being one of them. Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser and warm water. Avoid scrubbing your skin too hard, as this can irritate it and make acne worse.
- Use non-comedogenic products: Look for skincare and makeup products that are labelled “non-comedogenic,” which means they are less likely to clog pores and cause acne.
- Eat a healthy diet: Your skin and body are a reflection of what you eat, truly. Focus on eating whole foods ( mostly home-cooked foods) that are high in nutrients and low in processed sugars.
- Manage stress: Try to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature.
- Avoid touching your face: Touching your face can transfer oil and bacteria from your hands to your skin, which can contribute to acne.
- Hydrate yourself: Drink enough water every day. There is no rule to it but you should drink so much that your urine should be clear ( not yellow in colour). Yellow-coloured urine means you are dehydrated ( or you are taking some medication).
When to see a doctor?
In most cases, teenage acne can be treated with over-the-counter products and good skincare habits. However, if your acne is severe or is causing significant emotional or physical distress, it may be time to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can prescribe stronger medications and offer other treatments, such as light therapy or chemical peels.
Some home remedies for pimples
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the redness and swelling associated with acne. Apply fresh aloe vera gel from a plant.
- Neem: Neem leaves have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce acne and pimples. Crush neem leaves into a paste and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Turmeric: Turmeric has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce acne and pimples. Mix turmeric powder with water to make a paste, and apply it to your skin. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Sandalwood: Sandalwood has a cooling effect on the skin and can help to reduce inflammation. Mix sandalwood powder with water to make a paste, and apply it to your skin. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Fuller’s earth or Multani mitti: Fuller’s earth can be mixed with water to make a paste that can be applied to the face as a mask. This mask can help to absorb excess oil and dirt from the skin, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation. To make the mask, mix Fuller’s earth with enough water to make a thick paste. Apply it to your face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
However, before you try the above remedies, it is important to keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. If your acne is severe or causing significant emotional distress, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a dermatologist. They can offer personalized treatment recommendations and help you find the best course of action for your specific situation.
Photo: Pexels/Persons in the photo are models and their names have been changed.
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