The general principles for fighting acne apply to both females and males, with treatment strategy being related to the severity of acne. However, for acne of all severities, a good skin care routine provides an important foundation with the key components being:
- Washing the face twice daily with a mild, soapless cleanser using lukewarm water
- Maintaining skin hydration (excessive drying can cause flare-ups)
- If using a moisturizer, choosing one that is light and noncomedogenic
- Washing hands prior to washing the face and using a clean face cloth at each washing
- Shampooing the hair at least every other day or on a daily basis
- Avoiding contact with the forehead and hairline with hairstyling products
- Greasy products, including sunscreens, heavy moisturizers and cosmetics can cause or aggravate acne lesions, so should be avoided where possible.
Topical products are the first-line of treatment for mild to moderate acne and may be used in combination with oral medications for more severe acne (e.g., tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin, doxycycline, and isotretinoin). Topical treatment options that are available without a prescription include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur, while other topical agents require a prescription (e.g., retinoic acid, clindamycin lotion, adapalene).
For females there are some additional options that may be considered for those with severe acne, such as hormonal therapies. As well, oral isotretinoin requires special consideration in females due to its known ability to cause severe birth defects. As such, treatment with this agent requires education, monitoring and entering into a “contract” to ensure adherence to risk reduction strategies.
A discussion with your pharmacist or physician could help determine which treatment might be most appropriate for your daughter, based upon how severe her acne is, what she is currently doing to manage it, her past treatment experience and her medical history.