Acne in adolescence and puberty

Puberty is a part of one’s life when the development of secondary sexual characteristics in both sexes takes place under the influence of hormones. One of the characteristics is the enhanced activation of the glands with external and internal secretion. The result of that process is that the skin is getting oilier and with the persons that are genetically predisposed the secretion of sebaceous glands is followed by the appearance of blackheads. The blackheads fill the canals in the skin forming cysts and then pustules.

acne puberty

Depending on the type and severity of acne, they can be divided into those that are characterized as blackheads and one that next to blackheads form cysts and pustules. The most severe form of acne comes in form of nodules, pustules, painful changes that can affect the entire surface of the face and the back.

The appearance of acne on boys is specifically genetically conditioned, even though they are most frequent in the period of puberty and adolescence when the testosterone level is the highest. The testosterone is a hormone that makes the skin and hair oilier when enhanced, but it is at a normal level in boys and a large percentage of girls with acne. Next to the genetic predisposition, the misbalanced hormonal status with girls can be the cause of the appearance of acne. Getting period properly and regularly with most of the girls leads up to the withdrawal of acne.

Acne and nutrition

Improper diet, fast food and consumption of too much candy can make acne more severe, but it cannot be their cause. This type of food enhances the level of insulin in our blood that has the same effect as the male hormone and it makes the skin oily and prone to pustules. Fruits and other natural sugars do not cause the appearance of acne. According to certain research, large amounts of milk and yoghurt can cause the worsening of the acne. It is said that there is a high level of hormones in dairy products so not more than three glasses of milk are recommended to the people prone to acne.

Acne and stress

Most of the adolescents notice that acne appear in stressful situations. The reasons for that are the adrenal hormones that are increased when the body is exposed to stress and they have the androgen effect (the effect of testosterone).

The treatment of acne

The treatment of acne is necessary because in most cases they leave scars that are very hard to remove. There is no therapy that can be universal. The therapy depends on the type and sensitivity of the skin and also on the type of acne. If the condition is caused by hormonal misbalance the hormonal status should be treated next to the treatment of the changes on the skin.

During the therapy, creams and lotions with antiseptic effect can be used, such as salicylic acid, benzoilperoxid, azelaic acid, retinoids, or local antibiotics. The significant improvement and speed of the effect of the therapy can be brought by peels with alpha acid, beta acid, salicylic and azelaic acid. Also, treating acne by laser therapy can be very successful but has a short-term effect.

After finishing any kind of local therapy, regardless of it being by laser, cream or peel, patients should get medicine to maintain the proper condition of the face and which role is to control the further activation of the glands. With the case of severe form of acne antibiotics or isotretinoin pills are used for 4 to 6 months.

Treatment of acne scars

If the scars of acne remain even after the therapy, there are various treatments by which they can be significantly reduced. The methods of choice are chemical peels with trichloroacetic acid (TCA) which should be implemented by an experienced dermatologist, laser treatments, abrasion or filling scars by hyaluronic acid.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade, Serbia