Not Baby Related...Dermatology question.... — The Bump
February 2016 Moms

Not Baby Related...Dermatology question....

Hey ladies. So, I have a question that is not baby related... well, it's regarding my first baby, who is now a teenager. My son is 15 and has acne. I got him some Murad face wash but it doesn't seem to be helping. He acts like he doesn't care, but I can tell it's bothering him. I made an appointment with his general pediatrician for tomorrow and I'm hoping she can prescribe something that will help. I would need a referral to a dermatologist either way, so we'll have to see her first anyway, but I am kind of scared to put him on anything. I don't want him taking Accutane because I've read that it can cause mood changes and depression. I am so torn. I'm sure he'll likely be prescribed an antibiotic either by his general MD or a dermatologist, and I know there will be side effects. But I just don't want him to suffer or have his self esteem impacted by this either. Man it sucks to be a teenager. Has anyone had any experience with this or advice that they would be willing to share? Thanks in advance. 

Re: Not Baby Related...Dermatology question....

  • satuttle1014satuttle1014
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited January 2016
    When I was a teen I had very mild acne but did not become horrible until freshman year of college. I tried all those face washes, scrubs, creams and to me it never really worked.

    I decided to finally talk about Accutane with my dermatologist and it was the best decision I made. They base the dosage on weight and severity of the acne. I was a little older at 19 but both of siblings were 15/16 years old and it was the best thing ever for them. It didn't cause any mood swings or anything, I haven't heard that. They also monitor you and then every month you get your blood drawn as well to make sure vitals are still good. I also had 2 other friends do it as well and it worked for them.

    Definitely a tough decision but being a teenager and dealing with acne is no fun. I hated it. I would talk to your dermatologist about it just to explore and see what it's all about or what the doctors opinion is about t based on your son's case. Doesn't hurt to ask.
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  • My sister and husband had to take accutane.  Not something that I would want for my kiddo either.  I think that they can prescribe an antibiotic like a tetracycline or something similar to initially start helping clear it up.  I actually had adult onset acne.  I use proactive face wash daily, and (when not pregnant) I use low-dose prescription Retin-A cream on trouble spots.  The cream definitely will dry out the skin initially, so it can create a new bit of insecurity while it kicks in and heals, but it works for me. I hope that the pediatrician can prescribe something mild to start off with and see if that clears it all up.  The teenage years are harsh enough without having to deal with this.  Good luck!
  • Typically, for teens with mild to moderate acne, providers will start with antibiotics with a medicated face wash and topical treatment (cream or gel). They'll usually give that a try for a few months and then consider escalating to a higher dose antibiotic, adding/changing a topical, etc.  Accutane is meant for severe, cystic acne and is not a first line treatment, especially with the side effects that can occur. One thing for your son (and you!) to keep in mind is that these treatments do not work over night or even in the first few weeks. They can actually make the skin worse before it gets better. He needs to continue with the treatment and the recommendations the doctor makes regarding washing and moisturizing even if he feels that it's not working. Treatments can take 6 to 8 weeks to start to work in some people. Just some *hopefully* helpful tips from a pharmacist :smiley: 
  • I used proactive as a teen and that really helped me. I'd also be wary of accutane because of the risk with depression/suicide. I guess it depends how bad his acne is and what the doctor recommends as the safest starting point. Good luck!
  • When I was a teen, I had really bad acne. I was on the medicated face cream. They also had me switch all my shampoo, conditioner and face wash to no dye/no fragrance kinds. You might try Cetaphil. And then look for a shampoo that is super basic and won't irritate or clog his skin up. 

    Another face cleaning system I suggest is the Mary Kay Clear Proof. It's a wash, moisturizer, astringent and acne spot cream. It doesn't smell and has no dye. It's like $45 for the whole set but everyone I know has absolutely loved the results. 
  • As a teenager I struggled with acne as well. My mom saw Proactive on an infomercial one day and bought me the whole system with all the extras. It definitely worked for me and I still use it sparingly today as I still have very oily skin.  
    Another thing to consider was the fact that I had a part time job as a cashier at a grocery store and was handling money. The insane amount of bacteria on money made it worse until I made the connection one day and started using hand sanitizer like it was a religion. That also made it better. So depending on how his hand washing is, that may also be contributing as well if he is not keeping on top of it.

  • Thank you all for your input! This gives me a lot to discuss with the doctor tomorrow. I like the idea of starting with a topical cream, and making some changes to his hygiene products. He has grown his hair out long, to his shoulders (aspiring musician) and I think that's contributing to the problem too. Accutane seems like the nuclear option, and I don't think we're quite there yet. This has been a sensitive subject to discuss with him. He is so handsome, I don't want him to ever feel self conscious about his beautiful face. Thanks again. 
  • There's an Australian coffee based product called Frank Body ( All natural ingredients designed to target a number of skin conditions, including acne. I haven't tried it personally but the results are amazing! I've attached a picture of their Instagram account for feedback photos. 
    They also ship worldwide and are very well priced. 

  • I still have light acne every now and then. I starting using cetaphil face wash (daily) and it made a huge difference. This is just a home remedy but I would put coffee grounds on my face for 10mins every night and it clear up my face plus dark spots. Lol sounds crazy and I doubt he would want to. But wouldn't hurt to suggest/try. 
  • smn14smn14
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited January 2016
    I suffered badly as a teen and used an amazing topical cream called isotrexin - it was a retinol based ointment and cleared up acne and scarring. 
  • Wow, things have changed since i was a teenager. I think most ppl just dealt with it. Some ppl had acne and some didnt. A lot of it is hormonal. That said i did use some proactive to manage my monthly breakouts.

    Isabella & Julian & and now #3!
  • I've used proactive and found that it worked well. But make sure if you do go this route that you only use white towels to dry your face and hands after application, because it will discolor your linens and anything else it comes in to contact with! 
  • I own a salon in NJ and we have great results with Repechage's Hydra Medic line of skin care products.   We like it better than proactive (not bashing, just comparing) because it clears up the skin without over drying it.  If he also has the long hair, he just has to make sure he washes his face at least twice a day and that he washes his hair well because the oils from the hair will clog the skin.  He could start with the minimum of wash and toner - wash to cleanse the skin, toner/astringent will shrink/close the pores so that the dirt has a harder time getting in.  A weekly mask to deep cleanse will also help.  You could also talk to an esthetician about his skin if you want to try non-medicated options.  Although some people need the stronger products, many do not and get them prescribed anyway because it's easier.

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  • We went to the doctor and she gave us a referral to see the dermatologist. She said he has cystic acne and wrote a script for an oral antibiotic and two different topical creams to be used at different times. She did tell us that his skin may become irritated for the first few weeks after using the creams, but to stick with it. She recommended Dove soap for sensitive skin and cetaphil moisturizer. I'm glad I took him in sooner than later. She said scarring can be a real problem with this kind of issue. She also said the wind and sun can irritate it (he's on the ski team). Thank you ladies for your input. You all know your stuff! 
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