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Ask Rene: What Can I Do About My Son’s Terrible Acne?

Teen With Acne

 

Ask Rene:
What Can I Do About My Son’s Terrible Acne?

 

Dear Rene,

My son Keith has bad acne – and it’s really getting him down.

Keith is 15 years old and started getting spotty about 6 months ago. He now has bad acne over much of his face and neck and is really depressed. Kids at school tease him and he’s becoming withdrawn and moody. He thinks he’ll never get a girlfriend. Most worryingly his grades have also dropped.

We’ve tried face washes, scrubs and spot creams – but nothing is really working yet. I’m also worried that Keith is going to end up with acne scars for the rest of his life.

Did you ever have spots or acne Rene – and how did you handle them? And what about all the other GEMs out there? Have your kids had similar problems – and what did you do?

Yours

Tracey, Minnesota

 

Hi Tracey:

Glad you wrote. It’s like one of nature’s cruel jokes, isn’t it? As a teenager, first you grow like a daffodil on a spring day and just as you’re learning how to handle these arms and legs with their added inches, your face gets in on the act. Angry red bumps, the occasional blackhead and if you’re really (un)lucky, cystic acne that can leave pits and pock marks. Ugh. I know the feeling because I’ve been there before and am now going through it with my own kids. I have seen a dermatologist for more than 25 years now (not the same one but I always made sure I had one in whatever city I was working in) because people with darker skin tend to scar more easily. I also suffered from cystic acne, which would leave huge, painful bumps mostly on my chin and forehead NOT a good look for someone on TV. I have taken Retin A for more than 20 years and at one point had tried antibiotics and Accutane. So I have a soft spot in my heart for Keith and his plight. I took your question to my own dermatologist, Dr. Robyn Gmyrek and here’s what she suggested:

 

4. Lastly, Dr. Gmyreck Says: LEAVE THE BUMPS ALONE!

Image 4 of 4

No touching, squeezing poking, prodding, none of the stuff that she chides me for doing to myself.

I know this is hard on you too because we moms hate to see our kids suffer. But I think if you show Keith that you take seriously his concerns about his skin and by extension, his future, together you will be able to find a solution.

Good Luck mommy!

Rene

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(Editor's Note: This piece ran in its original format on 1/5/2011)

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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