Puberty and acne

Puberty can come quickly for children and it can seem for parents that one day a child is wonderful and the next they have been transformed into a moody teenager. All parents blame puberty for the change in their child’s behaviour, the bodies increased production of hormones leads them to sudden mood changes.

As well as the change in behaviour, some teenagers will find that they will suffer from acne. This has been found to be caused by this increased production of sex hormones among other factors. Specifically, the hormones responsible for causing this acne are called androgens.

Although androgens are a male hormone they are produced by both men and women. This means that both sexes have androgens in their bodies and are susceptible to acne. Studies have shown that those teenagers with a greater number of androgens will have a greater problem with acne.

The reason androgens cause acne is because some teenagers bodies respond to them in a strange way. The response is to increase the production of oil by glands that are present in the face as well as the neck and back. The pores that produce this oil can become blocked by dirt and other substances. When this happens the pore does not stop producing oil and it builds up behind the blockage and cannot escape. This causes a spot to appear on the skin.

This is a theory that is backed up with evidence that girls who are taking birth control pills, which contain the female hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, tend to have less androgens in their system and therefore less breakouts of acne.

Androgens are just one of the causes of acne, there are also other factors that can increase the number of breakouts that a teenager will suffer. Some of the most well-known triggers for acne breakouts are too much stress and eating an unbalanced diet. To remedy these, the teenager must make efforts to adjust their lifestyle. Research has also suggested another factor that is not in the sufferer’s control;  that there is a genetic link. If parents suffered from acne as a teenager then it is likely that their children will as well.

Acne is not something that will last a lifetime and as teenagers approach adulthood the number of hormones in their bodies will stabilise. This will mean that there will be less outbreaks of acne and as they leave their teenage years behind, acne will disappear completely. Teenagers must be patient and in the meantime, wash their face twice a day and if necessary consult a dermatologist.