Acne is a skin condition that shows up as different types of bumps. They include whiteheads, blackheads, red bumps (pimples), and bumps that are filled with pus (called pustules). What causes these annoying bumps? Well, your skin is covered with tiny holes called hair follicles, or pores. Pores contain sebaceous (say: suh-BAY-shus) glands (also called oil glands) that make sebum (say: SEE-bum), an oil that moistens your hair and skin.
Preteen Acne: Affecting Young
Recent studies have documented and confirmed what many skin care professionals have long suspected: Puberty is beginning earlier and earlier in today’s children. Puberty brings about many changes in children and primary among them is acne. Preteen acne is on the rise in children ages 10–12, and sometimes in those even younger than that.
- About 8 in 10 preteens and teens have acne, along with many adults.
The jury is still out on why puberty is happening earlier in today’s society. Puberty depends on many things, including gender, nutrition and ethnicity.
- Girls usually begin puberty between the ages of 10–14; boys will begin between the ages of 12–16. However, it is no longer uncommon to see girls begin puberty as early as 8 years old, and boys as early as 10 years old.
What is Preteen Acne?
Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous glands. These glands are regulated by the endocrine system and, more specifically, the androgens. During changes or spikes in hormones, such as during puberty, the sebaceous glands produce more oil. More oil production leads to a series of events that can result in open and closed comedones—blackheads and whiteheads—and possibly papules and pustules—red, raised bumps and pus-filled pimples.
There are four grades of acne, ranging from mild to severe. Grades 1 and 2 are generally noninflammatory and consist of smaller lesions, mostly open and closed comedones. Grades 3 and 4 are inflammatory with larger lesions, papules and pustules, which have a higher chance of scarring and tissue damage.
The good news for preteens with acne is that it generally falls into the milder grades of acne with open and closed comedones mainly in the t-zone area of the face. Milder grades of acne can usually be controlled with proper skin care treatments and topical ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide.
However, if acne in a preteen is inflammatory and does not respond to treatment, a dermatologist will have to monitor it. The physician might perform a blood test to rule out any hormonal imbalances, and might prescribe an oral antibiotic or topical therapy.
Source: Skin Inc.