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Acne Kills Teen Self-Esteem: Page 2

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Over-the-counter treatments, like Neutrogena or Proactiv.
"These would be recommended for mild cases of acne, or occasional breakouts," Dr. Cara says. If they don't work, the doctor may recommend a prescription.

Oral antibiotics
"Most pediatricians don't prescribe them because there's a chance that a child will develop resistance to antibiotics over time -- ultimately, this could create a new medical problem," she explains. "Some dermatologists disagree with this philosophy and prescribe them anyway, so there's a bit of a turf war over that one."

Topical antibiotics
"These are creams that you put directly on the skin," Dr. Cara explains. "They don't have the same issues that oral antibiotics do, because people don't build a resistance to them."

Retinals, like Retin-A
"The main problem with these is that these creams can make the skin dry and red, which most teens aren't a big fan of," Dr. Cara warns. "They take away one problem but cause another."

Birth control pills
"This is often prescribed to teen and tween girls -- even those who aren't sexually active, because the low-dose hormone often clears complexions," she says.

Accutane
"I have never prescribed and would never prescribe this because there are so many side effects, including significant depression, liver enzyme elevation, severe birth defects, and reports of thoughts of suicide," Dr. Cara warns. "Anyone who's on Accutane should be closely monitored by the prescribing doctor." The FDA hasconfirmed167 cases of suicide in people taking Accutane. Child actor Jonathon Brandis committed suicide while on the drug.

The bottom line on acne, says Dr. Cara, is that it can be debilitating to a child's self-esteem, and is thankfully treatable. "It's not something moms should just brush off as something all teens have to go through, or something your child will just have to deal with," she warns. "If it's having a very damaging effect on your teen or tween's self-confidence and outlook, and causing social withdrawal, it's a good idea to seek treatment and get help sooner rather than later."

Does your teen or tween suffer from acne?

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Cara NattersonDr. Cara Natterson, author ofYour Toddler: Head To Toe, is a pediatrician and mother of 2. To buy a copy, clickhere.She is currently working on the forthcoming book entitledDangerous or Safe?


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