The general principles for fighting acne apply to both females and males, with the 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
Body acne is more commonly encountered in males than in females. To help manage body acne, it is important to reduce perspiration and bacteria on the skin, which contribute to acne flares. Some tips to help prevent and manage body acne include:
- Showering more frequently or sponge bath to remove perspiration from the skin
- Consider washing your sheets on a weekly basis, as night sweating can contribute to body acne
- Wear loose-fitting clothing; tight-fitting clothing can trap heat and moisture, irritating acne
- Wear quick dry fabrics that help wick moisture away from the skin when engaging in physical activity
- Shower immediately following exercise when possible or consider changing to a clean, dry shirt right way
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).
A discussion with your pharmacist or physician could help determine which treatment might be most appropriate for your son, based upon how severe his acne is, what he is currently doing to manage it, his past treatment experience and his medical history.