Statistics tell us that 80% of those who make New Year's resolutions in January fail…
If you have an adolescent teenager in the house, don’t be surprised if they run to you with a look of horror on their face, having just noticed their first pimple.
To them, the horror is real. But how you respond is either going to make their fears worse – or reassure them that their world isn’t coming to an end.
“Children – and teenagers – take cues from their parents, so it’s important to know what to say and how to say it,” says Richard Price, MD, of Price Skin Care Clinic in Ridgeland, MS.
“Your teenager needs to understand that acne is often a normal stage in adolescent development and that there are treatment regimens that can help control outbreaks. They need to know that there is life after acne!”
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, there are five steps parents can take to help their teenager through this difficult season.
#1: Take acne seriously
You should take your teenager’s acne seriously because you can be sure that they are taking it seriously.
A teen’s appearance is often linked to their self-esteem, so they don’t need you to tell them that the pimples and blackheads will clear on their own. They need you to sit down with them and help them understand the skin condition and what can be done about it.
Treatment can not only help clear acne, but it can prevent the condition from worsening and even becoming severe – which may cause permanent scarring.
So, take their acne seriously – because it IS serious to your teen.
# 2. Be cautious about reminding your teen to follow their treatment regimen
Even though your teenager may take their acne seriously, they may resist your efforts to remind them to follow their treatment regimen. They are, after all, teenagers!
In fact, in a small study, doctors found that when parents reminded their teenager daily to use their medicine, the teens felt they were being nagged and rebelled – used their meds less often.
So, you may need a different approach.
One idea to keep skin care appointments in the front and center of your teen’s attention. Studies have proven that upcoming appointments with health providers are great motivation to follow a treatment plan.
# 3. Help your teen learn to reduce stress.
Stress can cause acne flares so it’s important for your teen to learn stress management skills.
Those can include:
· Breathing exercises
· Physical exercise
· Getting plenty of sleep
· Eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated
· And getting school assignments done in a timely manner
When teenagers learn to control what they can, it will make it easier to manage life’s challenges that are more difficult to control – like acne.
# 4. Watch for signs of depression
Studies have proven that acne can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or even both. The longer and more severe the acne is, the more likely it is you’ll notice signs of depression and anxiety.
So, what signs should you watch for?
• Sadness that lasts for two weeks or longer
• Loss of interest in favorite activities
• Tendency to avoid social activities
If you notice any of these behaviors while your teen has acne, and you aren’t yet seeing a skin doctor for treatment, now may be the time to make that appointment for professional help. Because as bad as acne can make a teenager feel, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are worse.
The good news is studies show that treatment for acne works and that once treated, mental health issues relating to acne are often resolved.
# 5. Finally, let your teen meet with their skin doctor alone.
Not every teen will confide in their parents about everything. Meeting alone with their skin doctor will gives your teen a chance to express their concerns about acne – or any other skin condition – freely.
It also gives the doctor an opportunity to build trust with your teen so that the teen is more likely to see the doctor as an ally – and an authority – on the skin condition, increasing the likelihood that the teen will follow the treatment regimen.
Acne: A Life Experience
Dr. Price advises parents to use acne as a teaching opportunity.
“As parents, it’s our job to teach our children and teenagers the appropriate way to respond to a skin condition like acne and to seek treatment, when necessary, “ he says. “A condition like acne also provides an opportunity to build rapport with your teenager and to keep the channels of communication open.”
For more information about acne and available treatment options, call Price Skincare Clinic in Ridgeland, MS for an appointment at: (601) 992-3996.
See these related articles on the Price Skin Care blog by clicking the following links:
Teenage Acne: No Laughing Matter
Teenage Acne: Do’s and Don’ts