When teenagers’ emotions can swing so abruptly and extremely, you’re excused for thinking that your teen is being a bit melodramatic about the small patch of pimples on their forehead.
I had them. Everybody had them. They’re not that big of a deal, you’ve probably thought. But you’re forgetting how traumatic the experience was, how self-conscious and insecure you became because of your acne. That’s excusable, too. We’ve all done it.
Neither, however, is a reason not to take your teen’s acne as seriously as they are. Even more, by dismissing their concern or patronizing them, you may be causing further harm to their self-esteem.
There are a number of studies that indicate that having acne can contribute to developing depression, anxiety, or both. So, be empathetic to their plight—and seek the help of a dermatologist sooner rather than later. Beginning a formal treatment plan in the early phases of your teen’s acne has some important benefits:
Controlling future outbreaks. Early intervention can slow and even halt a few pimples from progressing to widespread blackheads, whiteheads, and acne cysts. And, keeping acne under control can prevent future breakouts. With many having acne well into their twenties, that could equate to a significant number of years without acne.
A dermatologist will diagnose the type of acne on your teen’s skin and then design an acne treatment plan around their particular needs. That one visit could improve their quality of life for years to come.
Seeing faster results. Any acne treatment, regardless of the severity of the case, will require patience. That said, it does take less time and effort to clear a small patch of pimples than a breakout that could include blackheads, whiteheads, and deep-seated acne cysts.
Reducing scarring. Generally, the more severe the acne, the more likely it is to scar. But, even mild acne can scar when it’s picked. By starting treatment at the first signs, the acne is more likely to be controlled before it becomes severe. It may also prevent your teen from developing a habit of picking at their acne.
Virtually every case of acne can be successfully treated, but it’s going to require some time. Most products need six to eight weeks before the acne will improve and three to four months before it will clear completely. In the meantime, show your teen that you’re responsive to their needs, but don’t be overbearing.
In a small study, dermatologists found that when parents reminded their teens every day to use their acne medicine, they tuned them out and used it less often. So, space out your reminders. And make the time for follow-ups with your dermatologist as recommended. Research indicates that most, including even teens, are more likely to follow a treatment plan right before and after an appointment.
It may also help your cause (and theirs) if you let your teen meet with the dermatologist alone. It’ll give your dermatologist a better chance to establish a bond with them and find out what they really want, which may be difficult for them to express with you in the exam room.