7 Simple Ways To Treat Teenage Acne At Home

Is your teenager alarmed at the appearance of pimples on the face? Acne occurs due to a sudden surge in hormones during puberty. Here are some simple home remedies to treat this condition.

By Ashwin Dewan

7 Simple Ways To Treat Teenage Acne At Home

Teenage can be an exciting period for youngsters and a challenging one too. There are so many changes to cope with -- their body, the surge in hormones, peer pressure, identity crisis and so on. Another challenge that teens must cope with during their growing up years is acne. In fact, puberty and acne seem to go hand in hand.

However, seeking timely treatment for teenage acne can help solve the problem early. There are a number of teenage pimple home remedies available to help treat this problem. But, before trying any of them, here are a few facts that we all should know about acne.

What is acne?

Acne is a skin outbreak that appears in the form of red bumps. It is caused by the overproduction of oil and a substance called sebum in the skin. These, along with dead skin, clog the pores. This results in skin problems like pimples (an inflamed red pore that contains pus), whiteheads (formed when the pore is clogged with dead skin cells, oil and dirt), cysts (large and painful bumps), and blackheads (formed when the dead skin cells reacts with oxygen present in the air). Although acne can affect anyone, it is more prominent during the teenage years.

Note: Acne usually occurs on the face. However, acne outbreaks can also affect the back, the chest, and even the arms.

Effects of acne on your teen

Acne is primarily a condition which can damage your teen’s skin. At times, having bad, unhealthy skin can have a negative effect on a teen’s psyche. In some teens, acne can:

  • Lead to low self-esteem and image issues.
  • Result in low academic performance.
  • Compel your teen to stay indoors all day and avoid socialising
  • Interfere with the quality of life.

According to a review published in the Archives of Dermatological Research, irregular sleep hours and stress is linked to adult female acne.

"Often, people say acne is normal. This is incorrect because acne is a sign of an underlying hormonal problem like cysts in the ovaries. It could also point to an unhealthy lifestyle, which can be corrected with the right diet and fitness measures," says Dr Anil Abraham.

According to a survey of secondary school students in New Zealand, published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (2006), teenagers presenting with acne are at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression.

Causes of acne

The primary cause of acne is the overproduction of oil in the skin. However, there are other causes as well.

  • Hormone fluctuations or imbalances. This is normally seen in teenage girls experiencing irregular periods, early menopause and other hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
  • Bacteria.
  • Consuming a diet rich in oily and processed foods. Sugar and unhealthy fats also leads to the outbreak of acne.
  • Stress and other mental problems like depression can also lead to acne.
  • Use of certain medications like birth control pills.

How to treat acne?

You can always take your teen to a dermatologist, who may suggest acne lotions or creams to control the problem. However, you can tackle this skin condition at home using simple methods, which are effective and inexpensive.

Teenage acne home remedies

Dr Anil Abraham says, "Home remedies for acne are of three types: Evidence-based, eminence-based, and eloquence-based. Evidence-based is decided by research. For example, steaming plays an important role in removing blackheads as this process opens up the pores of the oil-secreting sebaceous glands. The focus should be on using evidence-based methods to tackle the problem."

1. Use steam: The most simple acne treatment at home consists of using steam. It softens the skin, opens the pores and in the process, gets rid of oils and toxins. To do this, bring water to a boil in a small container. Ask your teen to hold her face a few inches above the water. For more effective steam therapy, ask your teen to cover her head with a towel and let it drop down to cover the container. Let her sit in this position for some time, after which she can gently wipe her face with the towel.

2. Use a toner: A toner is an extremely useful product in fighting acne breakouts and controlling excess oil production of your skin. After your teen has used steam, ask her to apply a toner. It helps remove any remaining impurities and unclogs the pores. Your teen can use apple cider vinegar in the morning and evening to tone the skin.

3. Drink lots of water: We all know that our body is 70 per cent water. Water serves many important functions in our body. Tell your teen to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day. Not only will the water help your child stay hydrated, it will also help flush out toxins from his body. This will make the skin clear and bright.

4. Detox the body: Another way for teens to avoid acne is to stay away from processed and junk food. These contain large amounts of artificial colours and flavours. Plus, they are low in nutrition. They are also loaded with sugar and salt. All these promote the build-up of toxins in the body, resulting in the outbreak of acne.

5. Follow a healthy and balanced diet: You are what you eat! The health of your teen's skin depends a lot on the type of food he eats. A diet that consists of oily and spicy food will increase the chances of pimples breaking out. Encourage your teen to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Include lots of oranges, milk, vegetables such as apricots, carrots and sweet potatoes; fish such as salmon, and nuts.

6. Use holy basil (tulsi) to fight bacteria: According to a report published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences, the holy basil can be used to effectively fight acne caused by bacteria. Holy basil oil tea helps regulate blood sugar and hormone levels, which, in turn, helps fight acne from the inside out.

7. Take probiotics: Along with medications and topical creams, a healthy digestive system is essential to treat and prevent acne. This is where probiotics come into play. Probiotics promote a strong digestive system. According to a study published in Dermatology Online Journal, probiotic food supplements are a safe acne treatment.

"Eat sensibly, cut down on high glycemic food that contain a lot of sugar. Avoid smoking and get regular exercise," says Dr Anil Abraham.

As parents, remember that acne is a common skin condition in teens and can worsen if left untreated. Empathise with your teen and give him your support, as acne can often give rise to insecurity among teens. Also, guide your teenager on the subject. Only taking medicines may not help. Acne treatment also requires patience, a healthy balanced diet, adequate water intake and proper skin care.

About the expert:

Reviewed by Dr Anil Abraham on 3 September 2018

Dr Anil Abraham is a former professor and was head of the Dermatology Department at a leading hospital in Bengaluru.

About the author:

Written by Ashwin Dewan on 3 Sep 2018; updated on 6 September 2019

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