My 16-year-old son suffers from moderate to severe acne on his face, chest, back and shoulders. He has seen a dermatologist and was put on a low dose, long-term antibiotic as well as topical salicylic acid- and benzoyl peroxide-based cleansers. The dermatologist suggested that the next step would be to take Roaccutane®*, but neither my son nor myself are happy with this – he would prefer to just wait it out. I was wondering a) whether he is indeed likely to grow out of this condition and b) if you could suggest alternative topical products for him to try.
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With regard to whether your son will grow out of his condition, because of the extreme increase in hormonal activity during the adolescent years, the majority of teens do develop some form of acne. [In most cases] teen acne settles down with age. If he is one of those teenagers, one could expect your son’s acne to clear up in his early 20s. Acne, however, is a very varied condition and, left untreated, can cause severe scarring.
In many instances of severe acne, oral drugs are used to get the condition under control. This can be assisted by an effective doctor-recommended skincare programme.
As far as product recommendations go, I recommend skincare ranges that contain high levels of active ingredients and are sold only under the supervision of doctors and skincare specialists. Some I have found very helpful in the management of acne include:
• A cleanser such as Aspect Purastat 5 Cleanser (find it at adorebeauty.com.au), which is free of the harsh chemicals that strip and damage the skin. This cleanser will thoroughly free the skin of dirt, make-up and excess oil that would otherwise block the pores.
• To exfoliate the skin, I suggest resurfacing products that include AHAs [alpha hydroxy acids] as these increase the rate of natural cell renewal, lifting away old and damaged surface cells. This results in more refined pores and the skin appears smoother and more evenly coloured. A quality resurfacer will not leave the skin red, blotchy or itchy. We recommend Aspect Exfol L 15 (find it at adorebeauty.com.au).
• A treatment product such as Aspect Jungle Brew will calm and decongest the skin without leaving it dried out. Aspect Retinol Brulee will help reduce the appearance of coarse pores, oiliness and mottled pigmentation (find both Aspect products at adorebeauty.com.au). Find more information on retinol here.
We also recommend medical grade facial treatments. In-clinic treatments take around 30 minutes and can deliver very active and therapeutic ingredients into the skin. Blue Light Phototherapy is another recommended treatment. Fast and non-invasive, the blue light destroys the bacteria in the blocked pores and glands within the skin, breaking the acne cycle.– Dr Garry Cussell from The Facial Rejuvenation Clinic, Sydney
* Roaccutane® is an oral retinoid prescription only medication containing an active ingredient called isotretinion.
Other buys to try
Kora Organic Cream Cleanser (find it at sephora.com.au)
What is your go-to acne treatment?