Acne vulgaris is the most common reason for breakouts in teens and young adults. It occurs when hair follicles are blocked with dead skin cells, bacteria and oil. Symptoms range from blackheads, pustule-filled pimples and red, tender bumps. There are prescription medications to treat acne, but there are also many non-prescription products and procedures that can help reduce breakouts. Dr. Nicole Norris at Nicole Norris MD Medical Spa in Peru sees teenagers with their parent present for acne in her office. She agreed to share some of her favorite non-prescription pearls to get your teen’s acne under control.
What over-the-counter products are helpful for acne in teens? “Most acne treatments are focused on keeping sebum levels low and decreasing bacteria growth. These treatments are also very drying to the skin, creating more dead skin cells, which creates a low oxygen environment and proliferation of bacteria. My medical estheticians and I help acne patients find a balance of hydration and exfoliation with their acne regimen. Acne products that contain benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, niacinamide and retinol are among the most effective. Moisturizer and sunscreen are also an important part of acne regimens. When acne-affected skin is too dry it causes more breakouts. A good acne regimen should keep the skin from being overly dry or overly oily. Whenever there is a change made to the acne regimen, I encourage my patients not to judge effectiveness for at least 1 month. I also encourage them not to start with too many products at one time.”
What are some procedures that you offer in your medical spa that help with teenage acne? “Acne vulgaris can be markedly improved with our acne facials, teen Hydrafacials, and acne chemical peels. Facials are helpful in their hydration and anti-inflammatory effects. Hydrafacials provide exfolitation, vacuum suction of pores, and hydration. They include a peel and are antibacterial with blue light therapy. Teens love Hydrafacial because it is painless, there is no down time, and they get to see everything that was suctioned out of their skin at the end in what we call the “Gunk Tank’! Chemical peels are antibacterial and keep oxygen levels high on the skin surface. Teens may have 2-3 days of erasure-shaving like peeling after a peel but minimal redness. We offer a Customized Acne Protocol for teens, which includes 6 treatments, each separated by 2 weeks, and includes a mix of facials, peels and Hydrafacial, all targeted at getting acne under control.”
Are there any other tips you have on keeping teenage acne under control? “The bacteria that is most often associated with teenage acne (p.acnes), thrives in low oxygen environments and loves sugar, carbs, and dairy protein. I counsel my teenage acne patients to eat healthy and avoid extreme sugar, carbohydrates, and dairy in their diet. It is also important to wash your face twice a day with a facial cleanser, not body soap. For teenage girls, we recommend clean make-up and foundation that is either coconut oil-based or aloe vera-based. These foundations provide an antibacterial quality and promote a high oxygen environment on the skin, which p.acnes is averse to. My most important tip to my teenage acne patients is not picking! Squeezing acne in order to “pop it” is the number one cause of acne scarring and forever changes the skin. Acne scarring can be improved, but it can never be completely resolved.”
If you are interested in having your teen come in for an Acne consultation and treatment with Dr. Norris and her team, please call us to schedule. Procedures may be performed on the same day if requested when scheduling. For teens under 18, a parent must be present for their initial visit. Call 815-780-8264 today to get their skin ready for school! (Acne consultations, acne products, and treatments in the medical spa setting are not covered by medical insurance.)