“My GP seemed eager to try all available treatments before referring me to a dermatologist for more intense medication,” she says. Lang went through endless cycles of different treatments that allowed her to have calm skin for a month or two before her acne returned with a vengeance.
“I have tried several antibiotics, many topical treatments such as Differin and Epiduo, a few different types of ‘skin-friendly’ birth control pills, including Dianette, which improved my skin a little but had terrible side effects on my sanity,” she said. . “I’ve also tried many natural remedies, supplements, and lifestyle changes, like cutting out dairy, gluten, and processed foods. Nothing ever seemed to help, at least in the long run.
During this time, Lang’s mental health suffered greatly and she scrupulously used heavy makeup to cover her spots, which became an obsession.
“People thought I did so much makeup out of vanity, but it was the opposite,” she says. “I hated the way I looked. The emotional impact of acne can be huge. So much so that I really felt people would be disgusted if they saw my face without makeup.
Sometimes the peers were also cruel. “A guy I knew once said to me, ‘You might be a seven with makeup on, but a one when it’s all off,'” Lang recalled. “I was only 16 and it marked me for a long time.”
Eventually, at age 25, she was referred to a dermatologist who prescribed her Accutane – the brand name for the drug isotretinoin – which works by decreasing the size of the sebaceous glands in the skin. She used it for six months and it significantly cleared her skin for a year and has reduced the severity of her breakouts ever since.
But the drug – also known as Roaccutane – has recently sparked controversy, with parents of children who have taken their own lives blaming the drug for their deaths.
Dr McPherson states that no proven causal relationship has been established but, as with any drug, the potential benefits must be weighed against the risks.
“Side effects tend to be dry skin, dry lips, changes in hair, and skin sensitivity to the sun. For most people, the drug will only have benefits, but there are always tragic cases and we can’t say it’s 100% safe for everyone,” she says. “We know that mental health issues are common among young people and that skin conditions can also have a huge impact, so it’s important for parents to take things into account.
“Isotretinoin is an effective drug for people who need it. Parents need to ask themselves is acne serious and scarring or can it be managed with other treatments? He must listen to the young person, see how much his skin condition bothers him, take advice from the dermatologist and make a concerted decision. And if the decision is to take medication, be careful around their children while they are taking it.
For Lang, the decision to take Accutane was something she doesn’t regret.
“I had very dry and chapped skin and lips, which was actually painful, and I also felt quite tired and a little weak at times,” she says. “But it was never serious enough to warrant stopping the drug – which is what my dermatologist told me to do if I had suicidal thoughts.
“I had heard all the negative stories, but I had also heard so many positive stories. For me, acne affected my daily life so much that the potential mental health side effects didn’t put me off. I was so excited to have calm skin. In my head, I’d rather have a few months of depression than years and years of waking up with a face full of acne and feeling bad about myself.
Lang was then living with her parents, which comforted her mother, Alison, 60, a retired high school teacher. “We were concerned about her mental health anyway because she was so, so miserable with her skin,” Alison recalled. “We read about the drug and hoped it might be a cure, but we felt happier that she was taking it while she was living with us so we could keep an eye on her.”
The six-month course of Accutane calmed Lang’s skin considerably, but she still has acne. “The truth is, I think I’ll always be prone to acne,” Lang says. “My acne is tightly linked to hormones – some weeks it’s fine, some weeks it’s super inflamed. But as I got older I realized that working on my self-esteem was a much better use of my time than desperately trying. to have fair skin.
Lang’s website – notesbyalice.co.uk – details her own journey and is inspired by the #skinpositivity movement on Instagram where people warn against fake images leaked online and post photos of their natural skin along with quotes. such as “Your skin will heal. It just takes time.
While Dr McPherson praises this movement towards skin positivity, she believes it’s vital that parents and teenagers have better resources for help and suggests the British Association of Dermatologists (bad.org.uk) and healthtalk.org – where young people talk about their experiences with skin conditions – as first ports of call for advice.
When it comes to over-the-counter acne products, Dr. McPherson advises choosing non-comedogenic products, such as salicylic acid, which treats acne by reducing swelling and redness and unclogging pores. clogged skin, or benzoyl peroxide, which acts as an antiseptic to reduce the number of germs (bacteria) on the surface of the skin.
“Many acne treatments irritate and dry out your skin, so build contact gradually,” she says. “Most of these treatments are preventative and prevent new pimples from appearing, so it may take a few weeks to see results.”
Dr. McPherson recommends teens stick to an easy and achievable skin care routine, washing their face with a non-alkaline or PH-neutral face wash once or twice a day, exposing yourself to the sun – “which can be helpful for inflammation” – and wearing sunscreen and non-oil-based makeup.
“Picking and scratching at spots can scar, but in many cases acne can scar without doing any of that, so that’s not always the reason,” she says.
After experimenting with many remedies, Aimee’s skin finally started to improve after she started using Skin:Genius skin care brand products, which use 100% organic and natural botanicals to target the Acne-prone skin.
But persistent skin problems, according to Dr. McPherson, should always be referred for specialist help.
“GPs can prescribe various anti-inflammatory antibiotics and the oral hormonal drug spironolactone, which has been shown to be effective, especially if taken with the combined contraceptive pill,” she says. “But a dermatologist will be able to prescribe isotretinoin for up to four to six months and the majority of people tend to have less acne after one treatment.”
Accutane has side effects, as mentioned earlier, but if your teen is in pain, dermatologists can lower the dosage for weaker effects.
When it comes to lifestyle changes, while there are plenty of reasons for eating a healthy diet to positively impact your teen’s mood and overall health, Dr. is not a key factor in the treatment of acne and should not be part of the story.
“People use diet to make people with acne feel guilty as if they were doing something wrong to cause acne, which then makes them feel ashamed. But even if a diet high in fats, sugars and dairy products can make people more prone to acne, that’s certainly not a given,” she says.
“The most important treatment is to take your teen and their skin issues seriously. They’re looking at all those airbrushed, unobtainable images on social media and it’s only going to make their minds worse. So don’t blame them; listen to them. Take their concerns seriously and ask for help.