Teen acne scars are caused by severe teen acne, or by teens picking at acne. Teen acne scars can often be prevented by treating teen acne, and teens who already have acne scars can do some things to minimize the scarring.
Acne is a common condition among teens. Acne is caused by hormones and other substances on the skin’s oil glands, called sebaceous glands, and hair follicles. These can clog skin pores and cause lesions called pimples or zits, usually on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Acne is usually not a health threat, but it can bring emotional distress, especially when it causes scars.
Though most teens experience some acne, there are some things that can make teen acne worse:
- For teen girls, changing hormones related to menstruation or birth control pills
- Some drugs or medications
- Greasy make-up
- Friction against the skin from items like tight collars, backpacks, or hats
- Air pollution
- Scrubbing the skin when washing
- Picking at zits
Teens who suffer from acne can use a variety of methods to reduce outbreaks and prevent acne scars. Some of these include:
- Do not squeeze pimples or pick at scabs, as this can increase outbreaks and lead to scars. Avoid touching your face frequently if you have acne.
- Wash your face gently with a mild cleanser twice a day. Do not scrub or use harsh soaps. Also, wash hair often – every day or every other day, depending on how oily it is.
- Do not use alcohol-based products to clean your skin since they can cause dryness and irritation.
- Shower after exercising or excessive sweating.
- Teens who shave their face should do so carefully, and soften hair with soap and water before shaving. Try not to nick pimples, as this can cause scarring and further outbreaks.
- Teens who wear makeup should choose oil-free varieties. Look for makeup labeled noncomedogenic, which means it should not clog pores, though any beauty products can cause or aggravate acne.
- Don’t participate in tanning or let yourself get sunburned; this can increase the visibility of scars and lead to premature aging of skin and skin cancer.
- Medications for teen acne are available from drug stores and by prescription from doctors or dermatologists, but teens should use acne medications with care as most have side effects.
Teen acne scars can be treated with lotions containing vitamin E oil, or similar products, available at most stores, which may help to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Teens should remember that any treatment for acne scars is likely to take time, and acne scars may never completely disappear. Teens should be careful that any treatment they try is safe and will not cause more damage to their skin.
The best thing for teens struggling with acne or acne scars to do is to keep their acne problem in perspective and develop a good body image. Most teens outgrow acne, and some acne scarring will fade over time. In the mean time, teens shouldn’t let acne define their image of themselves. Teens should do what they can to take good care of their skin and body, then focus on the good things about themselves and get involved in positive activities. Remember that a person’s attractiveness is improved more by a positive, friendly attitude and self-confidence than by perfect skin.
Teen Acne Scars Sources:
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), Questions and Answers About Acne.
- WebMD Medical Reference in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic, Skin Conditions: Teenage Acne. EHealth Forum, Acne Scars [online]
- EHow.com, “How to Prevent Scarring: Tips from eHow Users” [online]