Your teen is experiencing his or her first bout of acne and is distraught. Imagine the scenario: someone who has just got rid of their braces is now battling bad skin – a deadly knock to any young person's self-esteem.
It’s important that parents give the kind of advice that will build their children’s self-esteem. Although beauty might only seem skin-deep, acne can leave more than physical scars for many years.
Especially vulnerable are those who are about to start high school. Here’s how to help your teen through acne this year:
1. Refer your teen to a dermatologist
There are many products on the market targeting teenage acne, and it is difficult to find a suitable treatment by simply trusting labels. Treating acne is a difficult, individual process. Find a suitable dermatologist in your area and let your teenager go into the examining room alone. This will enable them to form a bond with the dermatologist and talk through treatment without you interfering. Encourage your teen to use the treatment according to directions.
2. Take acne seriously
Don’t dismiss your teen as being “vain” and don’t tell them that it’s just a couple of pimples that will clear up. Many studies link acne to lower self-esteem, and while your teen might wait patiently for the acne to clear up, their self-esteem may take a big knock. Your teen might also be bullied and be called names by children at school. Take your teen seriously and help them find a suitable solution. Listen to what they're saying and don’t let them feel like they're overreacting.
3. It has nothing to do with hygiene (or eating, or anything else you do)
Acne is triggered by hormonal imbalances and excessive oil production. Don’t accuse your teen of poor hygiene or eating habits, but do encourage them to follow a suitable skincare routine which includes washing their face twice a day. However, bear in mind that overwashing the face may aggravate the acne. Encourage a healthy, balanced diet but don’t shame them for eating a chocolate once in a while.
4. Tell them they are not alone
As much as they don’t want to hear it, it’s important for them to understand that acne is a common teenage condition. Don’t promise them they will outgrow it, as acne can take a long time to resolve.
5. Tell them to be patient and positive
Acne will not go away overnight, and it takes time and perseverance to find the right regimen. Encourage them to stick to their skincare regime. Looks are very important in the teenage psyche, making it hard for them to focus on anything else, but try your best to emphasise other positive qualities in your teen. Also allow your teenage daughter to experiment with a light foundation to cover up her acne, which may boost her confidence.
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