Does teen acne mean better grades? In a recent Emory University study in-part called, “Do Pimples Pay?” acne in teens was associated with higher grades in English, math, social studies, science, a higher GPA, and even more money later on in life. A silver lining for those sufferers! But if your teen is struggling, what options are there, and what can parents do to help?

What is acne? 

Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. There are different types of acne, including pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts. Acne appears most often on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, upper arms, and buttocks.

What causes acne?

Acne appears when pores of hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria get trapped and trigger an immune system response which causes redness and swelling.

How do dermatologists diagnose acne?

A dermatologist will examine your skin and grade it based on severity. Grade 1 is considered mild and Grade 4 is severe. A dermatologist will note what types of acne appear on what parts of your body. Treatment options include: topicals applied directly to the skin, oral medication like antibiotics, oral contraceptives or isotretinoin, and procedures like lasers and peels. Acne scars can be treated with micro-needling.

How to help children prevent and treat acne:

  • Treating acne when it starts may prevent low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
  • Encourage daily washing with a gentle cleanser morning and night and after exercising to help prevent clogged pores. Only hands should be used to apply cleanser without rubbing hard. Use cool or warm water to rinse and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Think before you speak. In a small study, dermatologists found when parents reminded teens every day to use acne medicine, the approach backfired because teens felt like they were being nagged and ended up using their acne treatment less often. Fewer reminders from parents may be more effective.
  • Let your teen meet with the dermatologist alone so the teen can speak freely, and the dermatologist can create a bond.

Originally published by Stephen Soto of “Do Pimples Pay?” August 30, 2019.