Our teenage years can be tough, as anyone who’s made it through will tell you. Surging hormones, exams, starting college or university, new found freedoms and exploring who we are, our sexuality, new relationships, what we want and how we’re going to get there are all difficult enough.
Often, coupled with all these new, unknown and interesting (sometimes daunting and frightening) thoughts, experiences and feelings, come changes in our bodies that can really send us off kilter. Puberty means that we develop hair where we’ve never had it before, perhaps a different voice and changes in parts of our bodies we’d barely even noticed were there before.
For some, these bodily changes also mean changes in our skin, which can signal the start of many years of struggles with acne spots and breakouts.
So what is teenage acne and is there anything we can do about it?
What causes teenage acne?
Teenage acne is usually caused by the surges in hormones that we all experience as we go through puberty. These surges are responsible for all the changes we experience at this time in our lives including changes in our skin.
In both teenage males and females, it’s all down to hormones called androgens. These are male hormones, but they’re also present in the bodies of females, to a much lesser extent.
Either way, during puberty, levels of these androgen hormones increase, which stimulates the production of sebum. Sebum is a substance that’s naturally produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It’s a wax like, oily substance that keeps the skin nourished, supple and hydrated.
However, when sebum is produced in excess, it can clog the pores, trapping in dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria which can then lead to the formation of acne spots.
Other factors can also contribute to teenage acne, including genetic factors (if either or both parents experienced teenage acne, then you’re more likely to also suffer) and the use of heavy, oily, pore blocking skin care products and makeup (always opt for non pore blocking or non comedogenic products).
How to prevent acne in teenage skin?
Just like our thoughts and feelings can be when we’re going through our teenage years, often we’re not in control of the way our skin behaves when we’re teenagers. Those hormone surges are just too difficult to predict and manage.
However, there are some things we can do to help prevent acne. For all of us, using the right skin care designed to support acne prone and oily skin types will help to support the skin. Our alkalising skin care products are specifically designed for that purpose.
We can all also benefit from using a gentle exfoliating product such as salicylic acid, a type of fruit acid. Salicyclic acid removes the top layers of skin, helping to rid the skin of dead skin cells and dirt, and unclogging the pores. An accumulation of dirt, oil, dead skin cells and skin bacteria can lead to clogged pores and acne spots.
Probiotic supplements can be useful for helping to manage teenage acne. Probiotics are the good bacteria that reside in our guts, helping to keep our immune system strong and our overall health in good condition.
Our probiotic gut bacteria (collectively known as our microbiome) can also help to support healthy skin, especially if we’re taking antibiotics to help control our acne (more on those shortly).
Antibiotics can help to control the skin bacteria that can cause acne, but they can also kill off the beneficial bacteria. Taking a probiotic supplement can, therefore, help to top up our levels of these friendly bacteria and help to support the skin.
Retinol and retinoids
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and can help to make the skin appear younger (it’s often found in anti ageing skin care products).
Retinoids, on the other hand, can be useful in treating acne scarring and areas of skin hyperpigmentation. They’re best used by skin care professionals who can advise you further on how they might benefit your skin. They can also be prescribed by healthcare professionals as gels and creams that help to unclog blocked pores that can lead to teenage acne spots.
Treating teenage acne
Here at Sönd, we advocate for a holistic approach to skin care, using skin supporting products, eating a healthy balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercise and avoiding stress where possible.
But there are times when this isn’t quite enough, and other options may need to be considered.
Treating teenage acne in boys
As we mentioned above, antibiotics can be useful in treating teenage acne in both females and males and are available as either oral tablets or as topical creams and ointments.
Teenage, and other types of acne, is often caused by an overgrowth of a normal skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. When this bacterium colonises the skin, it can infect the pores that can already be blocked by excess sebum and cause acne breakouts.
Antibiotics help to kill this bacterium and help to clear up acne, but often, these oral tablets or topical creams will need to be used longterm in order to keep the bacteria from over colonising the skin. Your GP or skin specialist can give you more information.
Treating teenage acne in girls
Teenage girls also have another option for helping to clear up their acne, and that’s taking the oral contraceptive pill. This will also work to help prevent pregnancy if you’re sexually active.
The oral contraceptive pill works by helping to regulate the hormones that can be responsible for teenage acne, and will also help to regulate irregular periods. Your GP can prescribe the pill for you, and give you more information. You may need parental consent if you’re below the age of 16.
Best skincare regime for teenage acne?
We’re not here to just sell you our skin care products - we generally care about the health of people’s skin, not least because we’re acne sufferers ourselves. That’s why we developed our range of skin care products made from plant botanicals and alkalising silica salts that help to nourish and support non conformist skin types.
You just need to read our testimonials to hear how they can improve the skin of those with stressful skin conditions such as acne, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
If you’re reading this as a teenager who perhaps isn’t earning your own money yet, or you’re cautious of what you spend your money on, you could try our Sample Trio which includes a generously sized sample pot of our cleanser, day cream and night cream. That way you can trial our products without committing. Also, if you sign up to subscribe to our products on a monthly basis, you’ll receive this sample trio for free.
We’ve been there with acne prone skin and we totally understand what it’s like to not love the skin you’re in. But we promise, our products transform the lives of people with skin just like yours, so don’t suffer in silence. Try our products and see how they can transform your skin.