Life isn't fair. If it were, teenagers -- who are already coping with the many perplexing changes that are the hallmark of adolescence -- wouldn't have to deal with acne on top of everything else.
"There is no single condition which causes more psychic trauma…more general insecurity and feelings of inferiority and greater psychic suffering than does acne vulgaris," says an article coauthored by noted dermatologist Marion Sulzberger. Though the words were written in 1948, they ring just as true today.
"Acne can cause real scars -- both psychological and physical," says Neil Prose, MD, a Duke pediatric dermatologist. "And when it persists into adulthood, it can continue to cause just as much anxiety.
"Yet acne is, by and large, a very treatable disorder. That's why it's essential that teens with acne be given an appropriate treatment regimen -- and get the encouragement and support they need to stick to it." Teens struggling with acne are often laboring under some common misconceptions. "There's a lot of mythology around acne," says Dr. Prose. "The fact is, it has nothing to do with any particular food -- such as chocolate or greasy foods like French fries -- and it's not caused by dirt. It's basically the result of hormonal changes that cause the production of oil and sebum in the skin. Pores will get clogged and then inflamed, causing acne pustules."