Physician Assistant Jessica Ackerman discusses helpful tips for treating teenage acne, just in time for the back to school season.

Back to school – It can be a stressful time for both parents and kids. One common complaint this time of year is acne, as kids and teens get ready to head back to classes. Acne is caused by a multitude of factors, with both hormonal changes as well as genetics playing a big role in our teen patients, and can present as small blackheads and whiteheads all the way up to large cysts.

I always recommend creating a basic skincare routine that emphasizes cleansing and moisturizing. I recommend cleansing the skin once in the morning, and then applying a light, oil-free moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher. In the evening, I recommend cleansing the skin again before bed, and applying an oil-free moisturizer if needed for skin dryness.

Certain over the counter topical medications, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or adapalene gel can be helpful. These work by helping to exfoliate the skin, reducing oil production, normalizing skin cell function, and reducing bacteria on the skin that can lead to acne. While these can be helpful, be aware that all three of these can cause skin dryness and irritation, particularly when used in conjunction with one another. When using these, I strongly recommend using a moisturizer twice daily. My advice is to start these slowly and gradually, and discontinue use if too irritating to the skin.

Salicylic acid comes in a variety of formulations, including washes and topical pads, benzoyl peroxide is available as washes and spot treatments, and adapalene is available as a topical gel. Be sure to avoid overly harsh exfoliation of the skin as well as picking at acne – both of these can make acne and inflammation worse!

A very wide variety of prescription medications are available to help with more stubborn acne cases that don’t resolve with over the counter treatments. These can be tailored to each individual’s skin type and lifestyle, so don’t hesitate to follow up with a dermatology provider if you think prescription treatment may be the best.

To schedule a dermatology appointment with our Physician Assistant Jessica Ackerman, PA-C,  visit us online at:
Schedule via phone: 773-276-1100
Schedule via text: 773-832-5246