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Your Health Family: Simple advice for acne

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Teens are often eager to get rid of breakouts by using over-the-counter or prescription products, but it's important to remember that acne won?t disappear overnight. Teens are often eager to get rid of breakouts by using over-the-counter or prescription products, but it's important to remember that acne won?t disappear overnight.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Most teenagers will have acne at some point in their lives and it can be scarring, both physically and emotionally.

Teens are often eager to get rid of breakouts by using over-the-counter or prescription products, but it's important to remember that acne won't disappear overnight.

"I usually say 80 percent better in eight weeks, not 40 percent better in four weeks, so you really have to give it time," said Mary Smith, CNS, of Cleveland Clinic.

Smith said acne is a combination of extra oil, blocked pores, inflammation and bacteria.

When pre-teens start to produce extra oil, they might notice scaling on the scalp, acne along the hairline or on the sides of the nose.

One trick Smith suggests is washing the scalp with an anti-dandruff shampoo. She recommends using it two to three times each week to reduce oiliness.

Over-the-counter acne products are the next line of defense. Smith suggests looking for one that has salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria and dry out the skin.

Smith said when using acne treatments, the condition may get worse before it gets better and that it usually takes about eight weeks to really see improvement.

If acne is scarring the skin, appears cystic, or becomes emotionally difficult for a teenager, Smith recommends seeking out a dermatologist who may prescribe prescription strength treatments.

Regardless of the type of treatment, Smith said it's important to stick with it.

"You have to be consistent, you have to do it every night, " said Smith. "We sometimes say if you brush your teeth twice a day, put your topical medicines in the bathroom where you do your toothbrush and fit it in."


Smith added that it's also important to remember to select oil-free and water-based products when using moisturizers, sunscreen or makeup, to avoid plugging or re-plugging any pores.

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