Overcast   58.0F  |  Forecast »

Zits are the Pits

How to help your teen cope with acne

The acne years are part of almost everyone's life. Depending on the severity, it can cover the face with angry red dots or, for some, leave behind dark scars or pockmarks.

Traditionally, folks suffered through the worst of it and moved on – that is, until their own kids hit their teens. So how can you help them navigate the anxiety of adolescent acne?

Let's talk

One of the first things behavioral health psychologist Greg Oliver suggests is to throw out a casual invitation to talk about acne with teens. "So you're not pretending it's not there, but don't go into a panic," explains Oliver, who works with the local Henry Ford Health System.

One of the biggest mistakes is to overreact. Your kid will likely become upset, and it'll only prove their fear that the only thing everyone sees is their zits. Remain cool, and remind your kids that acne is only temporary and just a natural process that most teens go through.

Both Oliver and Dr. Tom Shwayder, director of pediatric dermatology at Henry Ford, advise putting the situation into perspective. "Is it one versus the entire face?" Dr. Shwayder asks.

Life goes on

Acne may seem like a constant battle, especially if after it goes away for a while – only to return with a vengeance. While no scientific studies have directly linked stress levels to outbreaks, it always seems to get worse before a date, test or social event.

"Don't let it interfere with the child's daily activity. Some kids will withdraw because of a perceived body dysmorphism," Shwayder says. "Keep their attendance up, and (don't) let that happen."

Of course, that's typically easier said than done. Still, try to take the focus off the acne and put it on family, friends and social relationships – not superficial stuff like zits.

Others might notice the acne, but they soon get over it and focus on the friendship and activities. While a pimple may feel like a spotlight attracting attention from everyone, most people will get past it.

Dermatologist visit

Depending on the severity, take your child to see the dermatologist sooner than later. The largest risk with acne is scarring, which is hard to treat: Insurance doesn't cover it, and it's pricey. That said, make sure your teen isn't picking at his acne. It only makes it worse and can create lasting scars.

You can help, too, by determining how much acne is hurting your child and, if you opt for treatment, assisting with putting the medicine on hard-to-reach areas. And remind your child to keep using the medicine.

Relating memories from your own childhood can help, as well. Even without acne, the teen years can be brutal; zits are just another blow to self-esteem. As with a bad hair day, encourage kids to joke about their acne with friends. Being lighthearted is key to moving on.

"You can't hide it," Oliver says, "but it's not something that is a continuous focus for their peers, so it shouldn't be a focus for the teen that's going through it."

Old to new | New to old
Dec 2, 2009 12:01 pm
 Posted by  LPlatz

I have my teenage son using the Unbelmish line from Rodan + Fields Dermatologists products and they have been wonderful!

Dec 8, 2009 04:23 pm
 Posted by  LPlatz

My 14 year old son has nearly eliminated his acne with non-prescription products by Rodan + Fields Dermatologists. Most everyone who uses their Unblemish products has great results, including me at 40+ years old! Others can learn more by accessing www.lplatz.myrandf.com.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Keep your kids off the couch this winter and get them active and healthy with these family-friendly fitness tips from the community program director at the Macomb Family YMCA.

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Modern flapper era mamas had plenty of progressive advice. But when it came to baby name tips, it was a mixed bag. (And especially tough for poor Lenora!)

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Slice into sweetness with these kid-friendly ideas – thanks to Betty Crocker, Taste of Home and more – that transform pizza into something oh-so-sweet!

Rustic Pumpkin Lunch Bag Halloween Craft for Kids

Rustic Pumpkin Lunch Bag Halloween Craft for Kids

Lunch surprises can brighten kids' day at school. As October rolls along, try something fun and new with this sweet, not-scary jack-o'-lantern sack.

Mom Transforms into 'Annabelle' Doll for Creepy Photo Shoot

Mom Transforms into 'Annabelle' Doll for Creepy Photo Shoot

One suburban mom embraced horror movie season when she dressed up as an evil doll for a photo shoot – an artistic expression that is drawing mixed reactions.

Hello Kitty Crochet and Craft Books, Hobby Holster Tool, More

Hello Kitty Crochet and Craft Books, Hobby Holster Tool, More

Craft roundup! Quirk Books has a cool new crochet book, while Barron's offers projects for Rainbow Loom lovers. Check out a clever hot glue holder, too.

Avoiding Respiratory Illnesses in Children

Avoiding Respiratory Illnesses in Children

With respiratory viruses such as enterovirus D68 spreading, it's important to take steps to keep kids healthy. Dr. Earlexia M. Norwood from Henry Ford Health System gives tips to avoid getting sick.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement