With such intense competition and pressure on today's teens to get into a good college, line up a strong summer internship and land the perfect summer job, many parents feel that summer is an ideal time for their teens to get ahead. However, the stress of a busy school year followed by a similarly hectic summer could cause teens to suffer from stress-related medical conditions such as acne.i June marks National Acne Awareness Month across the United States, and experts are advising parents to help their teens limit stress this summer and carve out ample time to focus on their health and well-being, including establishing a proper skin-care regimen.
"Summer used to be a time for teens to catch a breather and wind down from the stressful school year, but these days, a typical teen's summer 'break' is not so lazy and hazy," said Michele Borba, Ph.D., best-selling author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, a leading parenting expert and noted educational psychologist. "While summer activities such as internships, first jobs, camp and summer school are rewarding and beneficial overall, they can also lead to stressed, overscheduled teens, which can be detrimental to teens' mental and physical health. This summer, I urge parents to help their teens find time to slow down a bit and address any health and wellness issues such as acne management, diet and exercise, so that teens are refreshed and ready for the new school year ahead."
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting over 60 million Americans at any one time, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Highly prevalent among teenagers, 85% of adolescents experience the chronic skin condition.ii National Acne Awareness Month was established to help teenagers and their parents understand that acne is a medical condition that can be successfully treated with help from a physician.
"What many people don't realize is that acne is a medical condition, and there are different severities – mild, moderate and severe," explained Dr. Linda Stein Gold, Director, Dermatology Clinical Research, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit and Division Head, Dermatology, Henry Ford Health System, West Bloomfield, MI. "Even if a teen only experiences sporadic pimples, they may have mild or moderate acne for which there are highly effective prescription medicines that can treat current pimples and prevent future pimples from forming. It can take several weeks before acne treatments show results. So, I suggest that parents schedule a visit to the doctor this summer so that their teen can start using an acne treatment that's right for their skin type and lifestyle, and get their acne under control before the new school year begins."
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Practical Advice and Tips for Parents
In recognition of National Acne Awareness Month, Drs. Borba and Stein Gold have created two unique Web videos for parents of teens with acne available at www.acnemonth.com. These videos highlight frequently asked questions from parents and provide them with candid tips on how to broach the touchy subject of acne with their teenage sons and daughters, and how they can help their teen treat acne successfully.
"Many teenagers, boys, in particular, are hesitant to open up about personal issues such as acne with their friends, let alone their parents," said Borba. "The best thing to do is to bring up the topic casually and not make a big deal out of it. When you take your teen for their back-to-school physical this summer, use that opportunity to talk with the doctor about acne and how to treat it. This will help your teen understand that managing acne is just taking care of another important part of their health."
Acne vulgaris is one of the most widely experienced chronic skin diseases. In recent years, research has lead to a greater understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease.iii The disorder begins with the onset of puberty and is thought to result from hormonal action on the skin's oil glands (sebaceous glands) leading to plugged pores and outbreaks.iv It can be challenging to manage due to the variability in response to treatment and the need for long-term therapy.v
i http://www.acne-resource.org/understanding-acne/stress.html. Accessed on March 24, 2010.
ii http://www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_acne.html, Accessed on March 30, 2010.
iii Gollnick H, Cunliffe WJ, Berson D et al. Management of Acne: A Report From a Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003; 49(1):S1-S37.
iv Why Do I Get Acne? Nemours Foundation. http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/skin_stuff/acne.html.
v Thiboutot D, Pariser DM, Egan N et al. Adapalene gel 0.3% for the treatment of acne vulgaris: A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006; 54:242-50.