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Painful Teenage Acne Spots are a source of great anxiety. The red lesions typically occur on the face, back and upper chest.  They can manifest as small red angry spots to larger more painful cystic spots.

Teen spots don’t have to be suffered as there is a lot that can be done with the help of your dermatologist. At Clinica London, we have two medical consultant dermatologists, for children and adults. WE are especially interested in skin problems in adolescents.


The Teens


Teenage years deliver young people an abundance of physical changes. One of the most difficult of all is facial spots (acne). Fluctuating concentration, rising hormonal levels from 13+ years brings incredible insecurity to one’s appearance, made worse by the appearance of the dreaded spots.

However, there are ways to manage and control spots in teenagers allowing them to ‘face’ the world by calming the unwelcomed angry inflamed red spots.

As children grow into puberty, the first signs of mild acne are small pimples showing on the forehead, t-zone of the face or chin. With time, this usually calms down naturally on its own. If it does not, this can develop into red, painful spots and even full-blown acne. Imperfect skin can wreak havoc on one’s self-esteem, especially in an era of selfie-culture where appearance is scrutinised heavily. Following these steps will help your child treat their spots and regain confidence.

Why do teenagers have problems with spots?


Teenage spots occur due to a multitude of factors:

  1. Overactive Hormones

During puberty, the body produces excessive amounts of hormones, especially androgens, which stimulate sebum production (an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands designed to keep the skin moisturized). The excess oil produced causes a blockage in the pore resulting in whiteheads, blackheads and spots.

  1. Inadequate Facial Cleansing

Not washing the face regularly causes dead skin cells, sebum, sunscreen and makeup to collect and block the pores which often worsens the skin problems.

  1. Exposure to Irritating Ingredients

To protect the skin, avoiding products containing irritating ingredients including alcohol, menthol, camphor, eucalyptus and fragrances (perfumes) is highly recommended. These ingredients can cause inflammation and stimulate sebum production, increasing the number of spots.

  1. Erratic Skincare Routine

The secret to bringing changes to the skin is staying consistent. Although acne in incurable, you can manage spots by using the right products. Convince your teenager that consistent skincare and patience are vital to seeing results.

  1. Hair products

Gel, mousse, hair oil or hairspray can cause spots if they come into contact with the skin. Ideally hair should be kept off the face especially if hairstyling products are being used.


What can teenagers do to reduce their red spots?


Create a great skincare routine

Creating an effective skincare routine is the first step to dealing with any skin related issues. It is important to cleanse the skin in the morning and evening for at least 60 seconds. Start with a gentle, non-exfoliating cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils. Look for cleansers labelled “hydrating” as they remove dirt, makeup and other debris without disrupting the skins moisture barrier. A moisture barrier is the outermost layer of the skin. Think of the barrier as a security guard that protects the skin from an enemy invasion. Without the guard, your skin is prone to different attacks and this comes in the form of spots, acne and others. By keeping the moisture barrier intact, your skin will be less prone to developing outbreaks or flare-ups.  However ensure you don’t ‘overload the skin’.

The second step to creating an essential skincare routine is to add a good quality toner. Toners help to restore the skin’s PH balance, protect skin from environmental factors, remove oil and makeup residue, and hydrate the skin. After cleansing the skin, the skin’s PH will have been altered and a toner restores the skin to its original PH of around 5.5. Toners act as appetizers, for the skin to drink up the next skin treatment that you apply e.g. a serum or moisturiser.

We suggest using an emollient moisturizer that’s labelled oil-free and non-comedogenic, which is less likely to create blackheads and whiteheads that clog pores.

Finally, it is vital to incorporate a broad-spectrum sunscreen into your routine. The skin cannot heal spots whilst fighting sun damaging rays daily. Too much sun exposure can damage your skin and increase skin irritation, making you susceptible to breakouts. Sunscreens block 97% of the sun’s rays and using sunscreen daily will assist the skin in repairing the spots.

Protecting skin from the sun

It is important to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun that can be present even on a winter’s day. The sun rays harm the skin in all age groups, however, if acne is present, this can aggravate the spots making them more obvious.

Tips for protecting skin from the harmful rays of the sun:

• Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 30 or above.
•  Avoid exposure during peak hours of the sun’s intensity (between 11 am and 3 pm).
• Wear sunscreen daily in all weather conditions whether outside or indoors.
• Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours when outside or swimming.
Book your teenager an appointment with one of Clinica’s Medical Dermatologists, Dr Jennifer Crawley or Dr Angela Tewari if you observe any changes to your teen’s skin that concern you or them. Our dermatologists will investigate the skin changes to establish a cause and start treatment.

Dr Jennifer Crawley

Consultant Dermatologist
Children & Adults

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