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preteen

12 year old girl and acne

I am having my first period and yesterday I started breaking out for the very first time. I had got about 10 zits on my forehead so I popped them. Today it's even worse. It's spreading. This is so embarrassing. I keep popping them and they just come back bigger. I don't want to go to school tomorrow. I don't want anyone to see me like this nor know about this. 

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Hi hun. The worst thing you can do is pop them. As you noticed, it just makes them worse. Everytime you pop them they will come back. I know its hard, and im so sorry your going through this. Have you talked to your mum/s or dad/s, maybe they can help you? We are here if you want to talk.

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1 hour ago, Rachie39 said:

Hi hun. The worst thing you can do is pop them. As you noticed, it just makes them worse. Everytime you pop them they will come back. I know its hard, and im so sorry your going through this. Have you talked to your mum/s or dad/s, maybe they can help you? We are here if you want to talk.


My mom and dad have seen them. :smileys_n_people_51: It's so embarrassing. :smileys_n_people_58: Is there anyway I can get rid of them before tomorrow ? 

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I really really wish that there was a way to get rid of them that fast but the best thing you can do is not touch them. When you touch them, even lightly, it makes them angry and red and more noticable. Its very hard to not touch them or pick at them I know, just do your best.

Did your mum and dad say  anything to you?  Do they know how much it is upsetting you? I know its embarressing to have acne, but so so many people do. I know this doesnt help for right now, but when your a little older more and more people, like your friends will get acne too (if they havent already) and those people, if they make fun of you for it, are not worth being friends with and if they are your real friends, they wont care about your acne  because they care about you. Im sorry this is so hard for you, but you will be ok. Are you in High school this year? Im in Australia and here when your 12 your in high school. I wil say that if you are, then there are going to be LOTS of others who feel the same way you do about your acne.

When I started to get acne, none of my friends did so I was very embarressed and felt so ashamed, but you know what....my true friends said that they didnt care! It didnt change how they felt about me.  Im sure your friends will be the same. You can do this and you will be ok. :symbols_v1_32:

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Hi Preteen. Unfortunately acne is one of the 'suck it' experiences of maturity. I know it's a bit of a shock, it's different and you're not use to it. My first piece of advice is, don't freak out. I know exactly how embarrassing it can be. I'm 28 and still get some pretty horrible breakouts at times. You're not alone, if anyone bullies you about it just say "so what, it's a fact of life, get over it". Why should other people have a problem with it when it's your skin right?

SO, as Rachie has already said, it's really difficult to get rid of quickly, ESPECIALLY when you have interfered with it. Only the bright side, this has only just started so your skin integrity, acid mantle, etc should be in top condition. Fortunately there are a myriad of treatments, remedies and devices to assist you, but you need to try to maintain some self-control and stick to some solid rules. This is actually my first post, I signed up when I read your post and I thought I might be able to help on here. This isn't exhaustive by any means but it's a start to your education on skin/skincare.

Generally speaking try not to touch them. Don't feel/play with them whilst your sitting down, don't try to cover them with a 'statue of david' pose, etc. Touching them like this will only introduce more dirt and/or bacteria to the skin, and the pressure can irritate the area and intensify the inflammatory response. If a pimple forms a head, this is your body's way of trying to get rid of the infection and yes, then you can pop it,  but absolutely don't feel tempted to continue with other blockages or lesions!!! Remember, the absolute golden rule to healing quicker is to leave it alone. (Before I forget, if you are going to pop, wash your face and hands with a gentle anti-bacterial wash like Phisohex, be firm but gentle, don't use your fingernails and if it doesn't pop relatively easily, don't force it). Squeezing pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, etc will, in most circumstances, only delay the healing process. In addition, most small pimples aren't actually as noticeable as you think they may be, however a big red sore from squeezing definitely is, so use that as your motivation to try to leave it alone.

Now I am male so I can't help a lot with makeup, but I'll try. Only use a lightweight mineral makeup and definitely no heavy oil based concealers. (pimples will cover a lot better if left alone also, scabs are not so easy to hide, actually  scabs  can look horrible when covered with makeup and you will often destroy the scab attempting to removed it, further delaying healing). Don't keep covering it though, only when you feel that you really have to, and always remember to remove it gently afterwards. A cleansing water is good for that.

To try to heal yourself as quickly as possible in this circumstance, there is a few things that you can do. First, look at your diet. Try to eliminate as much dairy and processed sugar as you can. Eliminating dairy has proved very beneficial for many acne sufferers, and the rationale behind it suggests that it has the most success with hormonal teenagers. Second, make sure you're drinking enough water. Aim for at least 1.5L per day, but don't go overboard. Make sure that your eating a good balanced diet, lots of fruit and vege, omega 3's, amino acids, etc. Although 'chocolate gives you pimples' is a myth (dark chocolate >70% is actually quite beneficial), high processed sugar diets can increase skin lipids and their consistency. Look at starting on some simple supplements like a 'hair, skin & nails' (I think blackmores has the best formulation), vitamin C and maybe grape seed extract or tumeric for anti-inflammatory properties. You might get some benefit from vitamin A, but go easy. Remember, you are only young and your body is going through some dramatic changes don't overdo supplements.

Ok, treatments. Again, you're going through immense change. Don't overdo treatments when they aren't really necessary because it can backfire and actually make to worse for several reasons (overstimulation - leading to increased sebum production, stripping of the skin's 'acid mantle', etc). The idea is being as gentle as possible, whilst achieving a suitable result. I say "suitable result" because sometimes, especially at your age, it's almost impossible to completely clear your skin. If you do achieve totally clear skin, wonderful! If not, don't damage your skin trying to achieve the impossible. A small wound caused by overdoing it can take months to completely heal, indefinitely if you keep doing it.

So the actual products, sorry, I waffle a bit. Start out with a good oil free cleanser, Phisohex is a good default, as is Cetaphil products, butsomething with salicylic acid in it would be best if you're breaking out. Follow with a gentle toner, witch hazel is a good default, however something from the 'simple' range would be fine also. And finish with an oil free moisturiser. During times of break out do this morning and evening, if your skin is clear it's up to you if you still want to do the morning routine. Usually just a rinse with water to freshen up and a lightweight, oil free facial moisturiser ( with sunscreen). Remember that all irritation can lead to a breakout so be prepared (sunburn, wind, cold, etc).

If the above isn't enough you can step it up a bit. Ideally you would go to a weak Glycolic product, as the Peroxide products can cause severe irritation and sensitivity. Ella Bache products are great, but expensive. Target have a few reasonably priced alternatives. (I think the brands are skin clarity or NIP + FAB. Last time I was there you could get a starter pack of the Skin Clarity for $20, then you just need the sunscreen). Failing that you can move on to a weak strength benzoyl peroxide (2.5%) or think about visiting your GP. Regarding prescription meds, I think a good start is topical antibiotics (recommend Duac [benzoyl peroxide + clindamycin combo], but also clindamycin or erythromycin), I would avoid oral antibiotics as long as you can because it's systemic and hence more adverse effects, but that's always an option. There's retinoids like Differin (Adapalene), Renti A, etc. If you do choose to go down the GP route, my advice would be to get a script for both Duac and clindatech, for a couple of reasons. First, products like that often go unavailable/out of stock, so at least you have a fallback without having to revisit the GP, secondly, both have the same antibiotic, meaning that you're not chopping an changing, but if you need something stronger, the benzoyl in Duac will give you that extra kick, or you can use the Clindatech without the added irritation of the benzoyl. Do you get what I mean? Regardless, moisturiser and sunscreen.

I was going to say something earlier but forgot. To heal your face right now I would suggest that you get some phisohex, witch hazel and calamine lotion. Go to chemist warehouse (if you're in Aus and near one). Simply wash your face, and tone following the instructions on the bottle, then using a makeup wipe or cotton bud, apply some calamine lotion to your sores, allow to dry and sleep with it on your face overnight. Wash again with phisohex in the morning and apply a moisturiser/oil-free facial sunscreen (Neutrogena have a decent 'dry touch' one). You must moisturise as Zinc will dry your skin, but will also assist with the healing. If you have active infections still, get a tube of the 2.5% Benzac (benzoyl peroxide), use it after the Witch Hazel and allow it to dry before gently dabbing the calamine onto any sores that need heal. A good tip with skincare is whenever you're drying your skin or applying something gently, dab/pat, don't wipe. Warm water is good, hot water is not (for more reasons than just acne).

So that's probably info overload, but it really is only just scratching the surface. It's my attempt at a brief overview, I could elaborate everything but I would be here all day/night. Feel free to ask anything if you require clarification or more info. I don't know how notifications work on here so if I don't respond it probably means I haven't seen it, so PM me.

Oh I forgot a big one... Stress!!! Try to relax, unwind, chill-out (whatever you want to call it). Your life at the moment is inherently stressful, but stress hormones (cortisol) can also be that trigger for a breakout. Try to keep calm, get at least 8 hrs of good sleep a night and avoid unnecessary stress. Once you learn how to deal with the trivia that is teenage high schoolers then this area should improve immediately.

Good luck!
Nathan.
RN
 

Edited by Nathan_NP
Spelling correction

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20 hours ago, Rachie39 said:

I really really wish that there was a way to get rid of them that fast but the best thing you can do is not touch them. When you touch them, even lightly, it makes them angry and red and more noticable. Its very hard to not touch them or pick at them I know, just do your best.

Did your mum and dad say  anything to you?  Do they know how much it is upsetting you? I know its embarressing to have acne, but so so many people do. I know this doesnt help for right now, but when your a little older more and more people, like your friends will get acne too (if they havent already) and those people, if they make fun of you for it, are not worth being friends with and if they are your real friends, they wont care about your acne  because they care about you. Im sorry this is so hard for you, but you will be ok. Are you in High school this year? Im in Australia and here when your 12 your in high school. I wil say that if you are, then there are going to be LOTS of others who feel the same way you do about your acne.

When I started to get acne, none of my friends did so I was very embarressed and felt so ashamed, but you know what....my true friends said that they didnt care! It didnt change how they felt about me.  Im sure your friends will be the same. You can do this and you will be ok. :symbols_v1_32:


My mom just said it's normal and that she still gets them sometimes and that will take me to a dermatologist on Saturday. . My friends are understanding and nobody teased me today. 

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Ohh I am so glad to hear that. It is definitely normal. Im 31 and still get them.  I wish I had been allowed to see a dermatologist when I first started getting them. I wish you all the best.

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2 hours ago, preteen said:

My mom just said it's normal and that she still gets them sometimes and that will take me to a dermatologist on Saturday. . My friends are understanding and nobody teased me today. 
 
 
The sooner you get rid of it; the better. Acne gets worse and leaves devastating marks if left untreated.  Edited by AcneScience

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I'm all for early intervention, however you must remember that when you begin down the pharmaceutical path for skin issues, it's a lot harder to revert back to natural remedies. ALL medications have adverse effects. It's best that you avoid it until you can. I know it's hard and you want a 'quick fix', but it is definitely better to try to keep your regimen as natural as possible for as long as possible. Your skin will thank you in the future.

Look up acid mantle, oil cleansing, etc. And pay very close attention to what it says about PH balance/balanced products.  I would say that it is possible to heal your skin completely naturally, however that may not be the case do to hormonal fluctuations that you're experiencing. But definitely give natural a good chance. 

I know where your mother is coming from, however you should never shrug something off as normal, however you should also not go straight to the medical intervention. People who haven't experienced severe skin problems won't fully understand skin, because they just haven't had the same challenges. Sometime medical intervention is very necessary, however if you have only just started getting acne then I can almost guarantee that it isn't, and it will only cause your body more distress. Name any acne drug and I will tell you what the (actual) risks are, as opposed to the plethora of side effects listed on the included literature.

P.S. I am a registered nurse undertaking further post grad study. I'm not against medical intervention, however a lot of people seek it when it just isn't necessary, but because it's the easiest way out. (Like Type 2 diabetes - a disease that is, in most cases, curable by diet alone - if the patient has a good understanding and adherence). I believe in both western medicine, traditional medicine and naturopathy. There is a reason that patients these days have several complex comorbidities that simply didn't exist 50 years ago. (no I don't believe it's just from over-intervention, but it plays a role)

I'd be happy to try to coach you through it if you want. If I can prevent one person from going down the same path as I did as a teenager (straight to the doctor for acne - leading to trying everything right up to the ultimate - 3 full courses of Roaccutane [isotretinoin]). There is not a single (conventional) pharmaceutical product, beauty treatment or harsh medication that I hadn't tried. And the best response I have ever had is basically going natural. If my skin starts to get bad, I know that it's because my diet is slacking, I haven't been exercising or I've used something inappropriate on my skin.

Early medical intervention now won't prevent your acne from getting worse. However learning how to care for your skin properly now, as naturally as possible, will definitely reduce the severity of any hormonal acne, if not keep you completely clear. 

I could go on for hours about what you need to do but you have to be committed to going natural. If you aren't then simply follow the instructions in my previous post.

 

Edited by Nathan_NP

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I'd like to ad that I previously said to use an oil free facial moisturiser... I should clarify that. Oil containing moisturiser can be ok, as long as it contains the right oils, some of which would be fantastic for you (avoid moisturisers with mineral, canola, lanolin - unless it states that it's not synthetic, cocoa butter, vegetable oils and parabens). Extra plus for rosehip, peppermint, tea tree, chia seed, jojoba, argan, etc.

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