Kristen DiPaolo | CWK Network
"For the first two treatments things got a little bit better…and than after the second treatment...it was just almost like an explosion. The discoloration sort of went away. The cists were gone. There were a few isolated whiteheads, but basically it just evaporated. It was great."
- Alex Western, 16 -
16-year-old Alex Western hated to look in the mirror. He says, "I had the cystic acne with the whiteheads all over the place…and nothing was really working."
Then Alex heard about a new laser treatment. He says, "I thought this was going to be more of the same. I'd come in, I'd get zapped, we'd pay more money, and nothing would work."
According to a study in Dermatologic Surgery, lasers can reduce skin acne by 83 percent after three treatments.
Dermatologist Dr. Gregory Cox says, "We've been doing it in this office for two years now and we've been seeing patients that are staying clear two years out."
Alex also noticed results. "For the first two treatments things got a little bit better, and than after the second treatment it was almost like an explosion. The discoloration sort of went away. The cists were gone."
The lasers work by shrinking and destroying oil glands. The heat of the laser can reduce the scars sometimes caused by acne. Dr. Cox says, "When that heating occurs, the damaged collagen kind of liquefies and the body's natural response is to heal it so it produces newer collagen around that damaged, clumped collagen. So it gives the appearance on the skin's surface as being smoother."
Cost is a factor. One laser treatment costs three or four hundred dollars or more. Most patients require several treatments. "Unfortunately, it's not covered by insurance companies at this time," says Dr. Cox.
Alex is now on oral acne medication, but he says the laser worked. "After having it for so long, being told that my acne is going away and 'Wow, your face looks great,' that's just what I needed to hear. It made me feel a lot better."
Dr. Cox says the risks associated with lasers are few and temporary. They include discomfort during the procedure, swelling, and skin discoloration in olive-skinned patients.
By Larry Eldridge
CWK Network, Inc.
As many parents know, mood swings aren't the only problems teenagers face. There is also finding their niche, struggling with independence … and acne. Some adolescents aren't bothered by this condition and know that it is likely to go away, but many struggle with it, leading to various behavior changes. How do you know if your child is troubled by their acne? Tania Cowling, an expert in the field of parenting and early education, suggests the following telltale signs to look out for …
Reluctance to "go out" and socialize with friends
Lack of attention to schoolwork
More than usual problems at home or with family relationships
More difficulties than normal at their job (part-time, after-school or weekends)
By Larry Eldridge
CWK Network, Inc.
If your child is struggling with their appearance due to acne, they are not alone. Eighty percent of adolescent girls and 90 percent of adolescent boys struggle with acne. In addition to reassuring your teenager that there are many other people dealing with this problem, Cowling suggests sharing with your child the following:
They should not feel guilty or embarrassed, as acne is normal. It's an unfortunate part of growing up. Factors that lead to acne are age, heredity, stress and hormonal changes.
It usually is a temporary condition that goes away once they reach adulthood.
Urge that they not be influenced by the undue emphasis that society places on looks; who you are as a person is far more important than your cosmetic appearance.
Most important, to regain your child's self-esteem and confidence, take him or her to a medical professional for advice and treatment. In some instances, laser treatment may be recommended.
What can you do to help your child prevent future breakouts and clear up outbreaks as quickly as possible? Experts are TeensHealth suggest the following:
Wash your face twice a day (no more) with warm water and a mild soap made for people with acne. Gently massage your face with circular motions. Don't scrub. Overwashing and scrubbing can cause skin to become irritated. After cleansing, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying an over-the-counter (no prescription needed) lotion containing benzoyl peroxide.
Don't pop pimples. It's tempting, but here's why you shouldn't – popping pimples can push infected material further into the skin, leading to more swelling and redness, and even scarring. If you notice a pimple coming before a big event, like the prom, a dermatologist can often treat it for you with less risk of scarring or infection.
Avoid touching your face with your fingers or leaning your face on objects that collect sebum and skin residue like the telephone receiver. Touching your face can spread the bacteria that cause pores to become inflamed and irritated. To keep bacteria at bay, wash your hands before applying anything to your face, such as treatment creams or makeup.
If you wear glasses or sunglasses, make sure you clean them frequently to keep oil from clogging the pores around your eyes and nose.
If you get acne on your body, try not to wear tight clothes, which don't allow skin to breathe and may cause irritation. You also might want to stay away from scarves, headbands and caps, which can collect dirt and oil, too.