Up to 95 percent of people experience acne at some point in their lives, but dermatologists say it’s not normal—meaning it’s a medical condition that deserves treatment.
Dermatologist Corinne Erickson with North Dallas Dermatology writes more acne prescriptions during August and September than any other time of the year.
“We get a lot more concern about acne as people go back to school and they're interacting with their friend groups,” said Dr. Erickson.
One of her patients, Caroline Baker, is kicking off her senior year.
“You want people to see you for you. You don't want to wonder if someone's looking at your pimples,” said the 17-year-old, who recently noticed little red bumps on her face.
“This guy in my class... turned around and asked me, ‘Did you get shot in the face with an air soft bullet?’ I guess because I had this red dot right on my upper lip,” said Baker.
The simple fact is that acne is more than skin deep. Research shows that kids who are bullied because of acne are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression.
“Chronic bullying is what we know to be associated with really negative outcomes,” said Children’s Health Psychologist Celia Heppner.
Those outcomes, she explained, include suicide.
Acne can be caused by bacteria, hormones, or genetics.
“I'm seeing acne patients as young as 10 years old — as puberty sets in,” said Dr. Erickson.
So, how can kids try to avoid it?
“Face washing is critical,” said Dr. Erickson.
Twice a day, get all that oil, dirt, and makeup off. Don’t pop pimples or pick at them. It can lead to infections, inflammation, and scarring. Finally, don’t aggravate your acne.
“A lot of girls are putting on thicker makeup to disguise the acne, but that's actually giving them acne cosmetica. Acne caused by cosmetics,” said Dr. Erickson, who suggested using oil free sunscreens, moisturizers and water-based makeup.
If your face doesn’t clear in two to three months, it might be time for a prescription-strength solution.
“It’s just something that I laugh about now, but at the time I was so embarrassed,” said Baker, who used a series of medication.
Now, she’s in the clear.