Get The Skinny On Acne: Four Common Myths That Your Dermatologist Can Dispel

There's a lot of bad advice out there regarding acne -- the unsightly skin condition that's complicating your child's teenage years. And you can bet that your teen has his or her antenna tuned in to all of it, including the fake cures and bizarre diets that are rumored to eliminate it. Before you stumble across your teen rubbing aspirin across his or her face, find out the facts behind those common acne myths:

Myth #1: Acne Must Be Left Alone to Run Its Course

This is simply false. Refusing to treat your child's acne can lead to unfavorable consequences:

  • Permanent scarring of skin tissue
  • Damaged self-esteem
  • Infection

Because acne is easily treated using a number of therapies, the risks of not addressing it far outweigh any side effects of treatment. As soon as your child begins exhibiting the signs and symptoms of acne, make an appointment with a dermatologist, like those at Billings Clinic

Myth #2: Over-the-Counter Medications Don't Work on Acne

This is another popular falsehood that's probably making the rounds of the school locker room. Depending on which type of acne your teen has and how severe it has become, OTC medications can make a favorable impact. The current medications on the market work to cure acne in several important ways, says the Mayo Clinic:

  • By killing the bacteria that causes acne
  • By preventing clogged pores
  • By removing dead skin cells
  • By helping new, smoother skin regenerate
  • By removing excess oil
  • By reducing redness and inflammation

If your teen suffers from a mild to moderate form of acne, OTC medications may be able to help -- so long as you don't forget to check with your dermatologist first. 

Myth #3: Acne Scars Are Forever

While the scarring that sometimes accompanies acne can be severe, many medications and procedures are available to help lessen their appearance or to remove them altogether. Some topical lotions, especially those that contain aloe and onion extracts, will help to lessen the appearance of scars when applied several times a day over a period of weeks. This is probably the easiest method your teen can use to help minimize the aftermath of acne. But many other options are available as well:

  • Laser treatments
  • Dermabrasion
  • Collagen injections
  • Surgery

Your dermatologist can help you and your teen decide which scar treatments, if any, are best recommended. 

Myth #4: There's Nothing You Can Do to Prevent Acne

There are plenty of lifestyle decisions that can help your teen avoid, or lessen the effects of, acne:

  • Getting plenty of sleep each night: Not getting enough sleep can stress a body out, and stress is a big contributor to acne. Simply taking care to get a full 8 hours of sleep each night can make a difference in teen acne.
  • Eating better: A diet that's rich in whole grains and vegetables and low in empty carbohydrates can help improve or prevent acne. 
  • Getting enough exercise: Exercise makes you sweat and helps unclog skin pores. It's also a great stress-reliever. These benefits work together to lessen the effects of acne.
  • Drinking water: Drinking enough water each day helps keep a body hydrated and washes away the internal toxins that can contribute to acne.

Making an appointment with your dermatologist early in your child's acne years will help you get a leg up on this skin condition. Acne is painful to teens in more ways than one, so why allow your child to suffer with the pimples, nodules, and lesions that accompany it when help is readily available? Arming yourself with the right information is the first step in curing any condition, including acne. Stop by your dermatologist's office today.