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Bumpy Road Ahead

by Claire McCartney

girl looking at face in mirror

We’ve all been there: afraid to go to school because of a bump on our face. As teenagers or preteens, just the sound of the word “acne” is enough to make us cringe. So here are some tips on dealing with it.

Part 1: What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that includes everything from pimples to cysts, whiteheads to blackheads. Acne can happen in one small area or all over your face. In your pores are glands that produce an oil called sebum. Sebum moistens and protects your skin. When you go through puberty, your glands produce more sebum, which can build up in pores. Dead skin cells and bacteria can also clog your pores. Because you inherit your skin type, acne can be genetic: if your parents had it, you have a better chance of getting it.

Part 2: How Can I Prevent or Treat Acne?

Many people think eating greasy foods and chocolate will give you acne. Eating junk food isn’t good for you, but it won’t give you pimples. So don’t think someone is unhealthy just because she has acne.

Girl washing face

It might be tempting to touch your face to check for acne, but try not to. The oils from your hands can make acne worse. Covering acne with makeup can also make it worse because makeup clogs your pores. If you feel you have to wear makeup, look for makeup that’s oil-free or has an acne-fighting formula.

Wash your face twice a day with a facial wash. Don’t scrub until your face feels raw—that can damage your skin. You can also get facial scrubs, but they’re more for smoothing rough skin than pimples, and they can even hurt a little. Washes are gentler, and some of them have an acne-fighting formula.

Facial pads and wipes are nice to keep in your purse or backpack for on-the-go situations. They easily remove dirt and oil throughout the day. Preventing acne is better than treating it, but if you want on-the-spot treatment when a pimple shows up, you can use acne treatment creams. Put a little on the pimple to unclog the pore and reduce redness.

Part 3: The Many Faces of Acne

Acne can be embarrassing and make you want to hide your face. It comes in all different forms and affects all different kinds of people. Some people only get a few pimples every now and then, and some people have serious acne that lasts until or throughout early adulthood. If your acne is very serious or painful, see a dermatologist (skin doctor). Dermatologists can give you medication for your acne that you can’t buy in stores.

In the media, people always look like they have perfect skin. But that’s not how they really look—they’re wearing makeup and they’ve had their photos retouched. Almost everyone gets pimples in their pre-teen and teenage years. Don’t feel bad because of the way you look. My friend Erin gives this advice about acne: “If you aren’t self-conscious and are comfortable with yourself, other people will be comfortable with you, too. They won’t even notice.”

© 2004 New Moon® Publishing, New Moon®: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams, Duluth MN.

 

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This article is from New Moon  , a magazine written for girls by girls. Here is a complete list of the New Moon articles on girlshealth.gov.

Content last reviewed May 15, 2008
Page last updated October 31, 2013

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