Acne and Bullying: Kids and Skincare

While acne is predominantly a problem faced by older teens, teaching children of all ages about proper skin care may help to avoid many of the problems teenagers face due to skin problems as they get older.

Acne: Nothing strikes fear in an adolescent heart quite like it. Whether it’s just a little bump, or a face covered by them, acne is no joke for those who deal with it. Even worse, those with moderate to severe acne are often the butt of jokes and bullying from other kids. This can take a real toll on self-esteem during a time when younger kids are enjoying social functions, learning the ropes of dating for older teens, and generally finding their places in the world. Acne shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of all that, and it doesn’t have to.

This can lead to distressed kids when left unaddressed. Schools teach our youth history, language arts, and mathematics – why should skin care be any less important? Teaching kids how to properly take care of their skin at a young age can help to promote healthy habits as they transition to their teenage years. Many will have a chance to combat these negative effects of acne before their first outbreak even occurs, negating instances of harassment or bullying before it begins.

What Causes Acne?

Acne can be caused by numerous things, but the most common causes are clogged pores, bacteria, and hormonal fluctuations. The latter of these is why teens tend to have the hardest time with breakouts: their hormones are going insane, and there’s not much you can do about that.

Despite the fact that hormones are out of your control, there are things young ones can do to combat Mother Nature’s havoc on their skin. Hormonal fluctuations contribute to oily skin: one of the reasons they lead to breakouts. Although you can’t stop the hormonal swings, you can stop the oil they create to some extent, according to Kids’ Health.

Treatments for Acne

While genetics will play some role in whether or not a child develops acne, there are ways to help prevent or treat it once it appears.

Wash Your Face Daily: This is a must for everyone, acne or not. Avoid harsh cleansers, and make sure one is found that is made for oily skin.

Use an OTC Acne Cream: There are numerous creams, gels, and ointments available to help with acne. They most often work by killing bacteria on the skin, and by drying the excess oils which often lead to acne. Use just a small amount to start, says WebMD. Once they know how their skin will react, apply as needed based on the skin type.

Apply Moisturizer: What? Yes. Even oily skin needs to be moisturized. The moisturizers sold in stores do not contain the same type of oil found on your skin, and they’ll replenish moisture after washing and using acne products. Find one that has “non-comedogenic” on the label. This term means that the moisturizers used won’t cause acne.

Exfoliate: Use an exfoliating face wash once or twice a week to remove excessive dead skin cells, as these can contribute to clogged pores and acne. Do not use them more often than that, though, as this could over dry the skin and lead to inflammation and even more acne.

Drink Enough Water: This will help keep skin hydrated and give your skin a more radiant look.

Watch Your Hair Care Products: Avoid using oils and other harsh products on hair. Your hair often touches your face, and will spread the oil around. If they have to use hair products, do so carefully and dry the hair quickly to avoid spreading oil, gel, or creams to the face.

Talk to Your Doctor: In some cases of severe acne, a prescription medication may be given. These include those developed specifically for acne treatment, as well as some as some oral contraceptives.

Dealing with Bullies

Nobody likes a bully. Unfortunately, they are a part of life for many kids. There is advice and steps that can be given to students, however, that may help. Remind them that there are a few steps they can take to fight back (without actually fighting back).

Ignore: This is the first course of action you should try. Most bullies are just looking for a response, and will eventually give up if they don’t get the reaction they were looking for. If that doesn’t work…

Confront: This doesn’t mean punching the bully in the nose. Calmly tell him/her that you don’t care for the things being said to you. Ask the bully to stop. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get things done. Most bullies are not used to being confronted, so they don’t always know how to respond. Other times, bullies may not even realize what they are saying is really hurtful. If that still doesn’t work…

Talk to an Authority Figure you Trust: Bullies need to be dealt with to prevent other kids from being bullied as well. Talk to a teacher or parent about what’s going on. This is especially important if the bully threatens you physically.

Know That you are Normal: Most people deal with acne at some point, including the people bullying you for it. In most cases, this is something you will grow out of as you age and mature. Until then, keep your head up and know that acne is a normal part of growing up for many kids.

Gain Perspective: You never know what might be going on in a bully’s life. He may be dealing with trauma or difficult home situations. While this isn’t your fault, know that most bullying has nothing to do with the victim and everything to do with the bully. The bully is the one with the problem.

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