I recently saw an 11-year-old girl, whose mom brought her to my office for treatment of breakouts on her face. Believe it or not, early onset acne is not an uncommon occurrence. With the onset of puberty increasingly beginning at an earlier age, children as young as eight are battling breakouts. And the “skinpact” is enormous.
According to two large-scale clinical studies conducted by renowned pediatric dermatologist Anne W. Lucky, the earlier acne starts, the greater the likelihood it will become severe with age. Fortunately, Dr. Lucky also found that effective recognition and treatment of early onset acne would help prevent and lessen its severity and reduce chances of scarring.
This is why I gave my patient’s mom a big thumbs-up for bringing her daughter to see me sooner rather than later. Unlike years ago when acne was a condition you just “had to live with,” today there are many options to successfully treat, control and prevent breakouts.
Skin aside, parents should also be aware of the heavy emotional toll acne can take on their child. Several studies have shown that when people have acne, they also experience low self-esteem, social withdrawal and depression. Some carry this negative emotional baggage with them throughout their lives.
If you’re the parent of a child with acne, it’s important to open up the lines of communication and let your child know you’re there to help them get the treatment they need. Treating your child’s acne as soon as it begins can prevent more severe acne, reduce the risk of acne scarring and perhaps most important, deter lifelong stress. Keep in mind that a healthy dollop of empathy and reassurance from you will go a long way toward relieving your child of this burden and improving their self esteem as they enter the teenage years.