Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Changes During Puberty > Teenage Acne and Facewashing
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Teenage Acne and Facewashing

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: My 14-year-old daughter has recently developed significant acne on her face. She has tried the over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide treatments, but that just made her skin red and dry. She is trying a new cleanser that a friend recommended, and washes her face three or four times a day. I told her that I don't think it's good to wash her face so much, but whenever I offer advice, she gets upset and says that I'm being too critical. What do you suggest?

A:

There are really two issues in your question. The first relates to the science of acne. It flares in the adolescent age group because of the hormonal changes that occur in that time. It is not caused by dirty skin, though there is a type of bacteria that likely plays a role in the severity of acne, and that is why some teenagers are helped by antibiotics. The first step in treatment usually is benzoyl peroxide and /or retinoic acid cream.

Washing the face frequently is generally not helpful as you suggest, and this leads us to the second issue. Teenagers can be very self conscious, and advice from parents (who they are struggling to be independent from) can be interpreted as criticism. To address both issues, I would recommend making an appointment for your daughter to see her primary physician. Her physician can assess how severe her acne is, explain the cause and treatment of acne directly to your daughter, and set up a management plan that they can jointly agree on. You can be supportive by taking her to the appointment and helping her to get whatever medications are needed.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!