Skin Problems

2011/06/10 in Health

If you’re a teen with skin problems, it’s no great comfort to know that almost all the guys and about 80% of the girls your age have the same problem.


Even if everybody in the world had acne, it wouldn’t make you feel better. At your age, you’re very conscious about the way you look. That’s normal. You don’t need blackheads or pimples to worry about, too.

Many teens have overactive oil glands. These glands go a little wild sometimes during adolescence and produce too much oil. When this happens, you can get blackheads and whiteheads. or pimples. Blackheads and whiteheads are pretty much the same thing. Both occur when your pores can’t handle the extra oil your glands are pumping out. Pores are the channels through which the oil passes from underneath the skin to the surface.

Pimples result when bacteria found in the oil pores act on the fat molecules in the oil and split these molecules. When the fat molecules are disturbed, they release fatty acids. These irritate the skin. the skin becomes inflamed, and you’ve got a pimple.

Understanding what causes blackheads and pimples doesn’t make them go away, however. You’ve got to do something to get rid of them. If your skin problem is not too serious. your best bet is to keep your face clean by washing it with a mild soap, twice a day. If your hair gets oily quickly and touches your face and neck, keep it clean by washing it every day. If your face is very oily, you can try removing the extra oil with rubbing alcohol. There are many commercial acne products on the market that help remove surface skin oil, as well. You can ask your pharmacist to recommend a good product which you can buy without a prescription. If any of these products irritate your skin, stop using them and see your family doctor.

Many doctors believe that worrying, being tense and getting emotionally upset make pimples worse. They believe the oil glands that are already working overtime in most teens produce even more oil when someone is tense or upset. In addition, poor eating habits and lack of sleep can make your condition worse. If this describes you, try to stay calm and see if you can solve some of the problems that may be bothering you.

If your skin problem is more serious than a few pimples now and then, you might want to see your family doctor or a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating skin problems. Most acne can be treated effectively, so don’t avoid seeing your family doctor or a dermatologist because you think nothing will work.

So far, we’ve talked about what you should do to help your skin problem. There are also some things you shouldn’t do. Don’t squeeze pimples, blackheads or whiteheads. If there’s an infection, you’ll probably spread it. You can also scar your face with your fingernails, and the scar will be there long after the pimple has disappeared. Don’t use facial creams or suntan products that are oily or greasy. Eat balanced meals and get enough sleep.

Many people will tell you not to worry, that all teens have skin problems. But acne can scar you physically and emotionally, so don’t hesitate to do something about it. You should see your family doctor or a dermatologist if your skin problem affects the way you feel about yourself. New medical discoveries may improve your acne.

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)


Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.