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How to Avoid skINsecurities withYour Pre-Teen


Skin issues impact confidence in people of any age. Did you know that research shows acne is increasingly common in pre-adolescents, including children ages 9 and up?

With children experiencing skin problems earlier than ever, parents are often unprepared to grapple with pesky pimples. Pediatricians and dermatologists can play a vital role in educating parents and children about early onset acne and treatment options for young skin. To better understand these issues, we chatted with Dr. Diane Berson, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and an assistant attending dermatologist at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, to learn more about early onset acne. Check out our interview with Dr. Berson as we learned some tips and advice on how to help our kids deal with pre-adolescent acne, including the new gel Epiduo.

Diane Berson Headshot

Momtrends: What are the causes of pre-adolescent acne?

Dr. Diane Berson, M.D: Acne is stimulated by the surge of hormones that occurs a little before puberty, during "adrenarche", when hormones (androgens) are released from the adrenal gland. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to fill the pores with oil, leading to the development of acne . This is usually preceded by an increased oiliness and clogging, especially on the forehead and nose, in adolescents. Later, when puberty sets in, there is a further hormonal surge which sometimes coincides with a worsening of the breakouts.

Momtrends: What can parents do about it to help their kids - both from a product point of view and emotionally?

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Dr. Diane Berson, M.D: Assure your children that there are remedies which will help them clear the acne and prevent further breakouts, so they should not feel like they have to hide. For example: Epiduo is a topical gel that contains two very effective treatments... benzoyl peroxide and adapalene…if used all over the affected area each night at bedtime it can successfully treat the pimples, decrease the oiliness and clogging, and prevent further acne therefore avoiding progression of this condition.

Momtrends: Does having early acne mean that a child will have it through their 20s?

Dr. Diane Berson, M.D: Many people do continue to have acne breakouts into adulthood. Continuing treatment with a maintenance regimen, usually with a topical retinoid, will help prevent further breakouts. if your teens learn good skin care at a young age they will be less likely to flare again.

Momtrends: Are there any ways to prevent pre-adolescent acne?

Dr. Diane Berson, M.D: Although one can't prevent the predilection for this condition (it is often inherited), early treatment with good skin care and a topical product like the one I mentioned above will help keep the breakouts under control…the longer one waits the more likely there could be scarring or pigmentation. I recommend early attention when acne begins to surface.

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