My teenage son has had terrible acne which has left visible scars on his face. I’m devastated for him. Is there anything I can do to help him?
Acne occurs in over 90pc of people at some stage of their lives — for most this is during adolescence. Hormones do play a role. Those with conditions associated with high male hormone levels, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome have a higher incidence of acne. Women often notice a flare before their periods. It can run in families especially in male relatives. Stress can make acne worse. It is not a condition of poor hygiene. A diet high in unrefined starches and sugar can make acne worse.
The scars left behind by acne can have a significant impact on a person’s self-confidence. Scarring is common — occurring in up to 30pc of those with significant acne. The best approach to scarring is to avoid it in the first place which is why treating acne early is extremely important. Teenagers should not be left to simply grow out of it. The treatment of acne requires clearing the hair follicles, reducing inflammation and treating infection. Many creams and lotions are available. They cause an irritant effect to the skin that dries out the upper layers reducing the chance of keratin plugging and inflammation. Antibiotics are effective for 70pc of people but may take several weeks to work. For those with severe unresponsive acne, treatment with Roaccutane works and can permanently cure acne in up to 90pc people.
If scarring occurs despite acne treatment then I would suggest consulting with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon about this. There are a number of laser or surgical treatments along with various peels and fillers that can improve the skin. Treatment is improving all the time so do seek advice.