Teenage acne myths: What you should know

Teenage acne myths: What you should know

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Nearly every teen struggles with acne at some point, and it can be really frustrating.  There are lots of myths and misinformation out there about what causes breakouts and how to fight them.  

Antone Williams says he was about 13 when his breakout started.  Now, at 15, he's a student and football player at Woodward Academy.  Williams has come a long way, thanks to help from  his pediatrician, Dr. Truddie Darden with Morehouse Healthcare.

Darden says a lot of teens struggling with acne want a quick fix, and give up on treatments too soon.  She says it can take 4-6 weeks to see improvement, and you must find a regimen that works.  

There are a lot of myths about teenage acne, like that it's caused by what you eat.  The link between food and acne is controversial.  Darden says one thing that is for sure is that the more water you drink and the better you hydrate your skin, the better your acne and your skin's general condition will be.

Antone says he washes at least twice a day—after every workout.  But Darden says that's where lots of teens overdo it, thinking that the more they wash, the better.  Instead, Dr. Darden recommends a gentle cleanser with benzyl peroxide to open blockages without overdrying.  

Antone says he's also learned that picking at his acne doesn't help either.  

If you don't see improvement after you try the water and the washing and the over-the-counter products, it may be time to see a dermatologist.  There are new topical products like Retinoids that can open up blocked follicles. There are also combination treatments like antibiotics and anti-microbials, as well as low-dose birth control pills for girls.  For some, an oral medication like Accutane may help.

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