Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ProActiv Sponsors A Back To School Giveaway

Well, most kids are back in school and the novelty of those first few days have worn off. Now, the hard work begins and the social aspects of school start to emerge.
This year I know 3 teens entering high school and they were all very nervous and concerned about their new surroundings and the elements of being the "new kids". As if school isn't hard enough for some, there is the social awkwardness and hormonal changes that a lot of youngsters have to deal with on a daily basis.

As parents, we want our children to have the best experience possible; to enjoy school, to make friends, to do well, to succeed and to always try their best. What happens when bad skin attributes to self dealt, and insecurities? Most of us know or can remember when having breakouts or the random pimple made us feel less than confident. Even as adults we stress about not looking our best. Imagine, how hard it is for a pre-teen or a teenager to deal with every day life and then feel insecure about their appearance?

While we can't help them make friends and their life in school is out of our hands so to speak, we can help them, feel as confident as possible in their appearance.

ProActiv is a name that quickly comes to mind when we think acne. With some of the biggest named celebrities speaking about ProActiv like, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber ProActiv has been in the forefront of self image in confidence among teens and young adults.

Did you know?
  • 66% of moms would feel worse if their teen had acne for an entire semester than if their teen didn’t have a date to the prom
  • 66% of moms think they know more about how their teen feels about school than their looks
  • 65% of moms believe their teens know more about algebra than how to prevent or treat their acne
  • 52% of moms who have acne-prone teens feel sad or helpless (49%) when their teens breakout
  • 49% of moms believe they are better suited to help with their teen’s homework than assist them in dealing with their acne
  • 46% of moms who experienced acne as a teen feel worse about their teens inheriting appearance problems than health issues
  • 41% of moms would give up an hour of sleep every night for a year to ensure that their teen has eternally clear skin
Recently I was able to interview Dr. Alyson Levine, a dermatologist from Chappaqua , NY who specializes in treating teenage acne. Here is the interview:

1.     Beside stress, hormones, bad hygiene, snack foods, what are the other contributing factors to acne?

In general, acne is caused when excess oil (sebum) and dead skin cells combine to plug the pore of a hair follicle.  At the same time, the normal bacteria in the follicle start to increase, feeding on the oil and further blocking the pore.  Our bodies tend to make more sebum when our hormones surge.  Therefore, most teenagers will have acne at some point, as it is the body’s natural response to changing hormones. 

Other well known contributing factors to acne are stress, genetics, certain oral medications, and exercise-induced friction and sweating.  Sweat can mix with dirt, oil, dead skin cells and bacteria to block your pores.  Additionally, athletic equipment such as headbands, chin straps, pads and helmets may all trap sweat and act as sources of repetitive friction against the skin, leading to a condition known as acne mechanica. 

The role of diet as a contributing factor to acne has been a controversial topic in dermatology for many years.  Beginning in the 1960’s, dietary restrictions were not recommended by most dermatologists as the association between food and acne had been dispelled as myth.  However, recently there has been a renewed interest in the possible role of diet as a causal factor of acne. Current studies are focusing on investigating the role of dairy products as well as high glycemic diets. The jury is still out on if and how these food products might contribute to acne.  However, if a patient reports a perceived connection between a particular food and their acne, I recommend avoiding that food as long as they are still able to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Finally, while “bad hygiene” is not a known cause of acne, certain topical preparations such as greasy ointments or pore clogging make-up may contribute to acne by physically obstructing the hair follicle and clogging the pore.  For this reason, it is important for acne prone patients to choose non-comedogenic facial products and to wash their face twice daily.  I commonly recommend a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient.  There are many over the counter acne products available.  Proactiv is a particularly effective and well tolerated option. 

2. Do boys or girls suffer more?

Teen acne usually begins around the time of onset of puberty. This is due to a surge in androgens (a type of hormone).  Androgens stimulate the sebaceous glands, leading to more sebum (oil) and potentially more acne.  Puberty, and therefore acne, occurs at a younger age in girls (age 12-13 years) than in boys (age 14-15 years).  However, despite its earlier onset in girls, teen acne is often times more severe in boys.  This is due in part to two factors.  First, teen boys have more acne-causing androgens than girls.  Second, teen boys can be less likely to comply with acne treatments.  In sum, both boys and girls suffer with teen acne.  The important point, however, is that they don’t have to.  Help is out there.  There are many easy and effective treatments for acne. While we can’t cure it, we can and should effectively control it so that teens can feel good about the appearance of their skin.

3. How can you help a teenager deal with their self esteem issues after you begin treatment with something like ProActiv?

There are several key messages that parents should share with their tweens and teens who are experiencing acne. First, it is important for parents to reassure their child that acne is normal. Approximately 85% of people will suffer with acne at some point in their lives. Second, teens should know that acne is not their fault. For the most part, their body will decide when to begin and when to stop making acne. Finally, parents should let their teens know that they don’t have to suffer and that help is out there. There are many easy and effective treatments for acne. While we can’t cure it, we can effectively control it so that teens can feel  good about the appearance of their skin.

Dr. Alyson Levine, believes that teens and their moms need some additional schooling when it comes to treating acne, and offers the tips below:
o   Know what to look for
o   Start treatment early
o   Don’t minimize acne insecurities
o   There are treatment options

Now for the really fun part!

The Giveaway: 1 Winner will receive a set of ProActiv Plus for Teens.

The Sponsor: ProActiv
To Win: Leave me a comment letting me know who you are entering for by Midnight, October 2, 2010

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