How can I help my preteen or tween control her acne?
Real Mom Problem
“My daughter is almost 12 and is breaking out like crazy! I am going nuts! She cleans her face morning and night and keeps her hair pinned back when at home. I never had acne this bad. What do you recommend?”
- 1. Experiment to find a treatment that works for your tween's skin. Try different creams and ointments or natural remedies
- 2. If the acne is severe, talk to your preteen's pediatrician or see a dermatologist
- 3. Encourage healthy eating and other healthy hygiene habits
- 4. Boost your tween's self-confidence by getting him involved in activities, developing his talents, and encouraging him to exercise and stay fit
Real Mom Solutions
Acne can affect your tween's looks and diminish his or her self-confidence. These moms share their best advice for treating your preteen's acne.
Find a Treatment that Works
Make sure when your tween washes her face, she isn't being too harsh or scrubbing too hard. That will cause little tears in the skin and make it worse. For an instant toner, try cold water after cleansing. It will close the pores.
My daughter's dermatologist gave her Differin, a cream, and it took a few weeks but cleared her skin up amazingly well.
I have hormonal acne, which is a pain in the butt, and I use the strongest benzoyl peroxide I can find at the store, which is either Panoxyl or Clearasil Continuous Control Acne Cleanser. But you have to keep up with it. Wash twice a day: leave it on for a couple of minutes, rinse well, and then pat dry.
I've found that for my son's acne, washing his face isn't enough. So I have him use a spot treatment on the actual zits and that helps dry them up quicker. Also remind your kid to not pick at pimples or touch her face often.
Proactiv Solution worked wonders for my sons. They had acne on their backs and shoulders. Proactiv has a formula for the body as well as the face.
We simply use Ivory or Dove soap to wash first, then Noxzema pads in the morning and before bed. This system seems to work well for my son's skin when he actually does it correctly.
It's a big investment but the Clarisonic brush works wonders. It deep cleans the skin and if you use any other products, it helps them absorb into the skin better.
If you have a Sephora store by you, you could try their facial cleansers. They worked wonders for my son.
Try These Natural Remedies
For a quick wash-up during the day, boil enough water to fill a 20-ounce bottle, add fresh parsley, and let it steep for 20 minutes or so; strain the parsley out, and add one to two tablespoons of lemon juice. Keep the mixture in a 20-ounce bottle in the refrigerator. Use it to wipe the face off two to three times a day, or as necessary. This cleared both my and my son's breakouts really well, and it has no harsh chemicals. For a severe breakout or a big pimple, you can apply tea tree oil and it'll pretty much clear it up overnight.
Everyone's skin is different. For example, I don't use moisturizer because it causes my skin to break out more. I also don't use toner because it dries my skin out. It takes at least two weeks for skin to adapt to something new. Also, you don't have to stick with one brand for all products. I use natural oil cleansing. You mix castor oil and olive oil. I follow with Dove white soap; I just lightly apply the Dove all over my face and neck, but I don't rub it in. Then I rinse. I only clean my face once a day and my skin is clearer than it ever has been.
Try witch hazel and diluted tea tree oil. You can use the witch hazel, and then wet a cotton ball with water and put one drop of tea tree oil on it. Or you can add the tea tree oil directly to the witch hazel. Tea tree oil works awesome. Follow with coconut oil which also works wonders on acne. My 17-year-old daughter started this about a week ago, and her face has cleared up tremendously, even better than when she was on the prescription stuff.
Consider Consulting a Doctor
Sometimes over-the-counter stuff just does not work. I had my son try so many different things before I had to take him to the doctor. After a little trial and error (some kind of prescription cream), he was put on an antibiotic (tried a few different kinds). He now has to take an antibiotic twice a day and it works fantastic.
Everyone's skin is different. Acne is not just about how often you wash, what you eat, or whether your hair is in your face. Biology plays a lot bigger role than anything else. Your tween may need an antibiotic (oral or topical, or both), which a dermatologist could prescribe. Some insurance companies will pay for it.
I'd go to a dermatologist before acne scars your tween physically and emotionally.
My son uses two different prescription creams prescribed by his pediatrician. One clears up the spots, and the other is an antibacterial. He uses one in the morning and the other before bed. He still breaks out, but as long as he remembers to use the creams, it's not as bad.
Encourage a Healthy Diet & Lifestyle
Be sure your tween is eating less sugary and processed foods and more veggies; the more colorful the vegetables, the better. Skin is greatly improved by eating right. Also grape-seed extract is great for skin (taken like a vitamin).
What helped me immensely was changing my diet. No more soda, water only, and I cut out all the sugars and grease. A poor diet isn't necessarily what's causing your tween's problem, but it certainly contributed to mine.
Start checking for allergies! My daughter had trouble with her skin. Try taking one thing out of the diet. Milk, cheese, and dairy products are very common allergens. Use soy milk or something other than milk. Cut out the cheese. Give it a week or two and see if their skin is better. Take out one thing at a time to find the culprit or culprits. My daughter's skin cleared up really well when we cut out the dairy products.