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The Secret to Treating Acne Isn’t Always in Your Pores

How to Treat Teenage Acne

Sadly, teens all over the world struggle with acne. In addition, teens in the San Joaquin Valley have to struggle with both acne and dry skin. Therefore, the key to understanding how to treat acne is not always all about keeping pores open. Sometimes it is about moisturizing the skin around them.

How Does Dry Air & Dry Skin Impact Acne for Teens

Untitled DesignWe know that whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, papules, and cysts of acne begin in clogged pores. The skin has thousands of tiny pores that lead to glands that produce a substance called sebum. The sebum secreted by these pores keeps the skin lubricated so, for instance, it does not crack when you talk, laugh, smile, or frown. Free-flowing sebum keeps the skin healthy and soft. And although it sounds a little icky, it feeds a variety of bacteria (including the infamous acne bacteria) and even some teeny tiny creepy crawly microscopic eight-legged arachnids known as Demodex mites. As long as the production of sebum, your skin care routine, and nature’s little visitors on your face are all in balance, you don’t get blemishes.

Acne arises when something causes the sebum to build up inside pores. Acne bacteria can multiply so fast that they block the flow of this natural skin oil out of the pore. Then the immune system tries to fight them with inflammation, making the skin around the pore red and irritated. Alternatively, a surge in hormones like every teenager gets from time to time can increase sebum production faster than the pore can release it, so a whitehead forms. The wax in the whitehead oxidizes in the air and turns black, forming a blackhead. The immune system adds redness and inflammation. 

As you can see, acne begins in pores.

But acne is not just about pores.

The skin around a pore can get so tight that sebum is locked inside. This happens when the skin dries out. And when does skin dry out? In Fresno, May, June, July, August, and September are the months of low humidity. The combination of low humidity and high skin exposure leads to dry skin, which then locks oil in pores, resulting in acne.

And just in time for school, right?

What can you do about dry skin? Moisturize! Moisturizers are essential in treating teenage acne, especially in dry climates. Hormones, diet, stress, caffeine, chocolate, and bacteria all play a role as well. Sadly, some teens will require medical treatment just due to the severity of the situation. But nearly every teen who has acne has dry skin that lacks the ability to retain moisture. That’s a problem that can be dealt with.

Treat Teenage Acne with Moisturizers That Actually Add Moisture 

Untitled Design 1Here is an important tip for dealing with acne: Some “moisturizers” are acne waiting to happen. 

Any “moisturizer” that contains an ingredient that makes your skin feel cool or tingly is actually drying out your skin.

The moisture that your skin needs most is water. Just washing your face moisturizes your skin. But to help your skin retain moisture in a dry climate, you need to use a moisturizer that contains skin-identical ingredients such as ceramides.

Here is what you need to remember about anti-acne moisturizers: No alcohol, has ceramides.

Some medications clear up acne but also dry out skin. Products like benzoyl peroxide clear up pimples fast, but they require extra effort to keep your skin moist. 

Remembering to moisturize can make the difference between success and failure of any acne treatment regimen.


Let a Local Dermatologist Show You the Way to Acne-Free Skin

Moisturizer is the missing link in successfully treating acne for many teens. But the foundation for clear skin is making sure all your medical issues are covered. Contact your local dermatologist who understands the unique local influences on skin health. Make an appointment at Valley Skin Institute today!


Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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