You’re in it with them
Being the parent of a teen with acne can feel like as much of a burden for you as it is for your child. For some parents, it’s the challenge of calming your teen when she reacts with horror to the first onset of a blemish. For others—although this might surprise the first group—it is a teen who refuses to take measures against the noticeable acne symptoms you see as a potentially worsening problem for him.
Both groups can take comfort in the facts: First, that most cases of mild and moderate acne can be successfully treated with over the counter products like Benzagel® Gel, Wash, Cleansa-Wipes and Spot On. Second, that for most teens the ongoing maintenance of their personal acne-fighting regime requires only a few simple adjustments in their daily routine.
It’s not just on the outside
For many teens, an outbreak of acne is not just about how they look, it’s about how they feel. Adolescence is a time of uncertainty. Emotional issues like body image and self-esteem take centre stage.
A study conducted in Canada with 480 acne patients found that even mild acne can trigger serious psychological effects such as reduced self-confidence, social withdrawal and poor body image. A whole range of emotions can flow from this, including embarrassment, preoccupation, anger, frustration and feelings of depression.
For you as the parent, probably the most important thing to recognize is that your child’s experience of acne is not merely physical. The emotional stress means that sometimes they may need to talk… sometimes they may need to be alone… and sometimes they may need to be encouraged to socialize. But mostly they need to be reassured that there is something they can do to fight their acne symptoms. Doing something to help themselves can make teens feel more in control, and better about themselves generally.
How you can help
The good news is that taking steps to treat acne when it first appears can prevent it from becoming more severe later on. Studies have shown that treating acne early is important in preventing it from becoming more severe, and possibly leading to permanent scarring.
The biggest help most parents can offer is encouraging their teen to establish a routine they can get used to and follow on a regular basis. That way, the maintenance program becomes second nature, and their acne symptoms will be kept at bay.
Taking action against acne can help teens realize they are not alone. Soon he or she will be able to say, “Okay, I have acne. But I’m doing something about it. So I’m entitled to hold my head up and be proud to be me.”
Some useful links for parents
Canadian Dermatology Association