Due to possibly earlier and earlier puberty onset, more cases of hormone-related acne are developing in the Western world. A growing area of dermatology is now paediatric acne, with recommendations appearing for effective acne treatments from expert dermatologists.
A newly-published paper for paediatric acne guidelines has been presented at a dermatology conference, offering dermatologists insights into managing the tricky cases of acne in 7-12-year-olds, where traditional treatments may not be appropriate.
Acne treatments available to kids
Acne found in 7-12-year-olds is typically less severe than acne found in adults. Paediatric acne usually includes whiteheads and blackheads on the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin), with large pustules or cystic acne rare.
Acne treatments must take the child’s age into consideration, since putting children onto birth control or strong acne drugs, for example, may not be an option. The type of acne also makes a difference to treatments in children, with mild acne often responding well to over-the-counter products. If this approach fails, further topical therapies may be recommended, including antibiotics. If a child has a large area of pimples with or without inflammatory lesions (pimples or nodules), topical treatments may be appropriate, with an oral antibiotic added in a combined approach.
Inflammatory acne has scarring potential, and while rare in younger children, hormonal imbalances must be ruled out with blood tests. The appearance of acne so soon in someone’s life means the potential for further acne problems are very much on the horizon, requiring effective and prompt treatment.
Tips for parents dealing with acne in their child
- Acne has a root cause, which is typically hormonal – androgens stimulate sebaceous glands in the skin, resulting in excess sebum production and the development of infected hair follicles (pimples). Learn everything you can about acne, and try everything to resolve the root cause of the problem, while treating the acne. This may include diet modifications.
- Teach your child proper cleansing routines – gentle, non-irritating, pH balanced, twice a day. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations.
- In cases where acne is getting worse, see a dermatologist immediately to start deeper treatments to try to prevent the exacerbations and scarring.
- Keep involved – children hate regular habits and aren’t used to things on their body going wrong in this way, and they will need guidance.
- Improvements won’t happen overnight, so make sure your child understands their skin condition as much as they are able, so they can fully participate in an ongoing way. It can take up to three months to see results.
- Acne is distressing at any age, so make sure your child has emotional support and tools for managing any negative comments from others or poor self-image.