Teenage Acne Triggers and Treatment

Dr. Jan Dank, MD, discusses acne triggers and treatment.

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Dr. Jan Dank, MD, discusses acne triggers and treatment.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Jan Dank, MD

Duration: 2 minutes, 25 seconds

Well certainly, stress and illness often trigger acne flares.  

People look for a lot of cause in diet for acne, and some individuals may be able to find a trigger for them. One people often point to is chocolate, but the problem is that for one person for whom they break out after chocolate, the next person won’t. So it’s hard to give any consistent dietary advice, other than look for your own patterns.  

Exercise can often trigger an acne flare if it’s coming, and in women in particular there’s a lot of variation in how much acne they’re having that corresponds to their menstrual cycle.  

Exercise doesn’t cause acne, but if acne was about to come out and you sweat or work out a lot, it may push it over the edge and you’ll see the pimples break out shortly after exercising.  

Acne is a very treatable disease. All treatments don’t work equally for everybody, but if you work your way through the simple treatments and up to more complicated ones, it’s the very rare person who cannot have their acne adequately controlled.  

Whatever you’re going to do for acne, it’s going to be ongoing therapy because this is a condition we treat and control, not cure. So once you get it under control, you have to stick with the medications and keep using them in the areas affected by acne.  

When you wash your face when you have acne, you should be gentle. The biggest problem is people tend to want to scrub the acne out, and they scrub really hard.  What that does is it takes that clogged pore, that blackhead or that whitehead, and it ruptures it – and that then becomes the pimple or the zit.  

And it is counterproductive, so wash with your fingertips and wash gently. Start with a gentle cleanser, and if that isn’t working, work up to an acne-specific cleanser. There’s over-the-counter acne cleanser. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are the two most common ingredients, and they tend to work well for acne.  

Over-the-counter treatments are primarily a salicylic acid wash or a benzoyl peroxide, which will come in the form of a wash or a leave-on product like a lotion, cream or gel.  They can be very effective, and they’re an excellent starting point before you seek out prescription medication from your doctor. 

Presenter: Dr. Jan Peter Dank, Dermatologist, Bellingham, WA

Local Practitioners: Dermatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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