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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Acne occurs in 90% of teenagers. It’s due to overactivity and plugging of the oil glands. It’s not caused by dirt, fried foods, or chocolate. Acne usually lasts until about age 25, so your teenager needs to understand how to manage it.

• First, wash the face with a mild soap twice a day, but avoid any scrubbing. Scrubbing can break the walls of the oil glands, causing large bumps.

• Second, buy a benzoic peroxide cream. Your pharmacist can help. Apply a small amount to the entire face once a day, preferably at bedtime.

• Third, pimples can be drained once they have come to a head. The yellow top can be gently opened with a sterile needle. The pus will just pour out. Since we know adolescents can’t ignore pimples, they might as well know how to open them safely and understand that it’s harmful to squeeze them or pop them with their fingers.

• Finally, see your doctor or dermatologist if your teenager has large red bumps or lots of blackheads. These can be helped by special medicines.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

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