Skin problems are no longer the exclusive worries of teenagers. More and more pre-teens are seeking treatment for acne. This trend may have many possible causes like air pollution and poor nutrition. However, the most likely cause is simply that, as the society grow more and more affluent, more and more pre-teens are becoming aware of how they look and want to do something about it.
First, let’s sort out the terminology. Acne is a general term for all kinds of skin problems which are related to the pores in our skin. All over our skin, there are pores which need to breathe to be healthy. When they become clogged by dirt, oil or dead skin, it becomes a problem.
If the pore is closed by a layer of skin, the sebum or oil accumulated under the skin will form what is called a whitehead. When the clogged pore is not covered by skin, it is called a blackhead.
Don’t squeeze blackheads. This will break the skin and make it worse. Make sure the child understands this. Keep the nails of the child constantly well-trimmed to make it harder to squeeze the blackheads.
It is important to keep the skin clean with regular washing. Very oily skin should be washed many times a day. Don’t use soap to wash the skin. Soap will make the skin dry and easy to break, inviting germs.
Use a cleansing lotion instead. After washing, use another lotion to improve the condition of the skin. Two common lotions are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which have antibacterial properties. Children with sensitive skin should use tea tree oil which is milder.
After that, a warm compress can be applied to open the pores. Just cover the skin with a warm, damp towel for a few minutes to open the pores. Then, use a soft cotton swap to wipe over the skin to remove any dead skin and accumulated sebum.
Close the pores
The next thing to do is to close the pores again. The simplest way is to use a cold compress. Just soak a soft towel in ice water, wring it dry and use it to cover the skin. There are also lotions which can do the same thing. Some are called astringent lotions. Others are called skin fresheners. They all work in about the same way as a cold compress. The main point is to close the pores to prevent dust and dirt from getting into them.
The last part of the treatment may involve a moisturiser. This depends on the condition of the skin. If the child has an oily skin, it is not necessary to use a moisturiser. Apply a moisturiser only to dry skin. There are many commercial preparations available. A simple moisturiser would be olive oil.
This blackhead treatment should be carried out daily. The blackheads will eventually be reduced. Always remember not to squeeze them, Squeezing the blackheads can break the skin and lead to infection which can leave scars.