Since acne is such a common condition, parents of teenage children are sure to have experienced it themselves. As adults, we know that acne will pass, but this is small comfort to teenagers who are suffering from the embarrassment of acne. Parents need to be morally supportive, but also need to be a source of information and advice about how to treat acne.
One of the best ways for parents to help their children is to learn as much as possible about the various types of acne and how it can be treated. Armed with this knowledge you can help your teenager make appropriate decisions about medications or whether or not to consult with the dermatologist.
Just because you had acne when you were a teenager doesn't make you an expert. New medications and new methods of treatment have been developed so that most common acne conditions can be brought under control. There are a variety of approaches, so knowing what is available will help you decide which is best for your child.
Consulting with a dermatologist is always a good idea for any skin condition. Those spots that appear on your teenager's skin are most likely to be acne, but there are other skin conditions that resemble it. Consulting with a dermatologist will give you a definite diagnosis and also provide you with as many treatment options as possible.
Talking with your teenager about acne can be touchy because he or she is likely to be embarrassed by their appearance. You know best how to approach your teenager, but in general you need to be supportive and understanding. Never accuse your child of following habits that cause acne -- the myths about oily foods, chocolate, or sex causing acne have been proven to be untrue.
Most likely, your teenager is trying everything he or she can to control the acne. Even if they don't want to talk about it, it most likely is one of their major concerns. After all, acne can affect self image and sociability and in severe cases can lead to depression and withdrawal.
Let your teenager know that you are available and that you are willing to help him or her with their acne. Talking about your own experiences may help and certainly can't hurt – it may give your teenager a broader perspective on the condition.
Even though it may be small comfort, remind your child that most teenagers suffer from acne -- they are not alone. It is estimated that 85% of adolescents have acne, and 40% have acne severe enough to need treatment by a dermatologist. If, after trying a few over-the-counter medications without success, encourage your child to go to a dermatologist. Medical treatments can include oral medicines, physical treatments, and ointments and lotions which are applied directly on the acne. These treatments can help clear up the acne while offering relief from the physical discomfort it causes.
Acne does not last forever. As your child gets older the acne should become less of a problem, and by the time they are in their early 20s should be a thing of the past.