Skincare is one of the most common problems among pre-teens and teens today, with 8 out of 10 pre-teens and teens experiencing acne problems. Many pre-teens and teens also have acne scars and stretch marks, which affect many people’s confidence levels. Our skincare blog will particularly cover acne and stretch marks – what it is, how it’s caused, and how it can be helped.
Acne is a skin condition that shows up as different types of bumps during puberty. These bumps typically show up on the face, but can also be seen on the chest areas or back areas. Acne can be red bumps, whiteheads, blackheads, or larger bumps with a clear, white fluid inside. These bumps are caused by the tiny holes within the skin, known as pores. The skin also naturally produces an oil that hydrates the skin and hair, known as sebum. When the body produces too much sebum and clogs the pores, the build-up of the sebum causes acne. During puberty, hormones change, and these hormone changes cause the body to produce more sebum.
This is why acne problems start appearing during the pre-teen and teen years. Dirt and bacteria can further make an acne problem worse by infecting the skin. When small acne bumps get dirt and bacteria infected in the skin, the acne bumps become larger and more irritated. This makes the acne bumps very painful. Because of this, some pre-teens and teens decide to visit dermatologists, or skin doctors, to fix this problem.
Stretch marks are a series of wave-like marks on the skin that are close together. These marks are often located on the stomach, thighs, and butt, and can be red or purple colored at first, and will fade over time. They will not cause any health problems, but many people have experienced a lack of confidence because of their stretch marks. However, stretch marks are a very normal part of puberty. During puberty, as people start to grow quickly, the skin stretches, causing stretch marks. Scientifically speaking, it is the collagen, or the protein of the connected tissue in the skin, that causes the stretch marks. Most of the time, girls get stretch marks more than guys, but both can get stretch marks, especially if they are growing quickly. Stretch marks can also be caused by gaining weight rapidly. This may be through obesity or through weightlifting, and the faster the skin stretches, the more likely a person will get deep stretch marks. However, these stretch marks fade, so although they may not disappear, they will get lighter over a period of time.
As a part of our blog, we were able to contact Dr. Jeffrey Hsu, a world renowned dermatologist (skin doctor) that has presented new research and technology to dermatology conferences all around the world. We are so excited to ask him a couple of questions. Below is the interview:
1. How long do hormonal acne outbreaks last?
For women, hormonal acne can persist into 30’s and 40’s. For men, hormonal acne can last well into adulthood, as well.
2. What age do you grow out of acne outbreaks?
Although acne is most commonly seen in teen’s and twenties, it is not unusual for men and women to continue to experience acne into 30’s and 40’s, sometimes even beyond.
3. What is the first thing to do when I notice an acne breakout?
First thing NOT to do is to pick at it. There are over the counter medications that can be helpful in mild cases. But in severe cases, you should consult with a dermatologist.
4. How do you treat acne scars?
Acne scars can be improved by multiple methods, including surgery, lasers, and injections. The type of acne scar will dictate the treatment.
5. How do you treat acne on the chest or back?
Acne on the chest and back are less responsive to topical treatments. Oral medications will be more effective.
6. Does drinking water really help your skin that much?
Proper hydration will help with the appearance of and health of skin in general. Dry skin will trigger excessive oil production, which worsens acne. In addition, proper hydration will support the immune system to fight against skin infections, including acne.
7. Are there different ways to treat different types of acne (e.g. cystic acne vs fungal acne)?
Yes, different medications will target the causes of different types of acne. For example, antibiotics target inflammatory cystic acne, whereas retinoids tend to be more helpful in comedonal (blackheads or whiteheads) acne.
8. How can you reduce the look of stretch marks?
We do not have a solution for stretch marks. Topical medications have not been very effective, and procedures such as lasers have produced modest improvements at best.
However, 80% of the population have stretch marks somewhere on their body, and these are completely natural. The best way to manage stretch marks is just to embrace them and know they are a part of your body. You are beautiful!
9. Is sunscreen overrated?
Sunscreens are not as much overrated as they are misunderstood. Dermatologists still recommend using sunscreen as the primary tool to prevent skin cancer and premature skin aging. But selecting the right product is important. In general, physical sunscreens (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are safer than chemical sunscreens.
For more information about skincare and Dr. Jeffrey Hsu, visit https://www.oakderm.com/
This blog was written by Jess, a Youth Council Member.