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 Medical Self-Care: Childhood Acne 
American Institute for Preventive Medicine ©

Acne is the teenagers’ curse. Teenagers have to worry about pimples just when they want to look their best. Acne can pop up on the shoulders, back, neck, and face. Many people still have acne or acne scars when they are adults.

These things do not cause acne:

  • Greasy foods
  • Chocolate
  • No sex

Teenagers get acne because they have a lot of androgen. Androgen is a hormone. The glands under your skin make more oil when you have a lot of androgen. The oil ducts get clogged and infected. Then bumps pop up on the skin. Newborn babies can get a little acne from their mother’s hormones. This can happen when the baby is 2 to 4 weeks old.

These things help cause acne:

  • A girl’s hormones before her period or when she is pregnant
  • Heavy lotions or greasy makeup
  • Stress
  • Foods with iodine--like kelp, beef liver, broccoli, asparagus, and white onions
  • Vitamin pills that have iodine
  • Cooking oils, tar, or creosote in the air
  • Sleeping on one side of your face or resting your head in your hands
  • Birth control pills, steroids, anticonvulsive medicines, and lithium

Your child’s doctor can give your child special creams, antibiotics, or Retin A cream or gel if your child’s acne is bad. Ask the doctor for advice. Don’t do anything special for a baby’s acne. Just wash the skin gently.

Questions to Ask

Are there signs of infection with the acne such as fever and swelling?Yes:See Doctor
Is the acne very bad?Yes:Call Doctor
Are the pimples big and painful?Yes:Call Doctor
Have you tried self-care, and it doesn’t help?Yes:Call Doctor
Does self-care make the skin worse?Yes:Call Doctor

Self-Care Tips

Time is the only cure for acne, but these tips can help:

  • Keep the skin clean. Wash often with plain soap and water. Use a washcloth. Work the soap into the skin gently for a minute or two. Rinse well.
  • Have your child use a clean washcloth every day. Bacteria grow on a wet washcloth, and they can give your child more pimples.
  • Have your child try an astrin-gent lotion, degreasing pads, or a face scrub.
  • Ask your child’s doctor for the name of a good acne soap.
  • Leave your child’s skin alone! Tell your child not to squeeze, scratch, or poke at pimples. They can get infected and leave scars.
  • Buy a lotion or cream that has benzoyl peroxide. (Some people are allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Try a little on your child’s arm first to make sure it doesn’t hurt the skin.)
  • Have your child wash after they exercise, and any time they sweat.
  • Have your child wash their hair at least twice a week.
  • Have your child keep their hair off their face.
  • Don’t let your child spend too much time in the sun.
  • Don’t let your child use a sun lamp.
  • Have your child use only water-based makeup. Don’t let them use greasy or oily creams, lotions, or makeups.
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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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