Teenage Acne

12 January 2023

Many people think ‘acne’ means severe changes to the skin, but Dermatologists use the term to refer to the process by which spots and breakouts develop. 

During teenage years, our hormones wake up. This, in turn, wakes up our oil producing glands (sebaceous glands).. Oil (sebum) production increases and this can result in sebum getting stuck in the ducts – leading to blocked pores and blackheads. The microbiome (balance of bacteria on our skin) changes and the blocked pores can get inflamed – resulting in red, angry whiteheads or pimples.

Nearly 85% of people will experience some degree of acne, blemishes or spots during their teenage years. However, this does not mean it should be viewed as a rite of passage or something to be ignored. Studies suggest that – if left untreated – acne can have a significant impact on a person’s psychology in later life.

If spots are having an impact on confidence or if they’re leaving marks and scars, it is important that we treat them. No matter the severity, Acne is a very treatable condition. Mild cases may simply require a good skincare routine with some active ingredients, while bad cases may require stronger tablet treatment.

Here are my five top tips for treating acne:

  1. Cleanse twice a day to remove excess oil and dead skin cells that can block pores and change the skin’s microbiome.
  2. Try over the counter actives such as benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid. Start slowly by applying every other day and then build up to daily use.
  3. Avoid pore-blocking ingredients like oils, cocoa butter, and longwear makeup. Rather choose non-comedogenic ingredients that won’t clog the pores.
  4. Do moisturise if the skin is dry. A well-chosen moisturiser won’t make acne worse, but a damaged skin barrier will.
  5. See a Dermatologist if over the counter options aren’t helping, changes are severe or you’ve started to notice scarring.

Thanks for reading,

Dr Emma xx

Follow me – @dremwedgeworth – on Instagram and TikTok for more healthy skin tips and advice.