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How can I help my son or daughter deal with acne, spots and pimples?

Almost all children will experience the occasional outbreak of spots or pimples as they move through puberty. However, some teenagers will be literally plagued by acne, whiteheads and blackheads.

One of a parent’s most important jobs is to help their child through this awkward and sometimes deeply distressing period.

With this in mind, the five key areas to remember are as follows:

Wash but not too much
Acne and spots are not caused by dirt but they can be caused by blocked pores. This is why children should wash their face twice a day with warm water and mild soap, once in the morning and once in the evening. This also thoroughly removes make-up. Thus giving the skin time to breath and heal itself during the night.

However, pimples can be aggravated by too much rubbing during washing or by using harsh products on the face. So remind your son or daughter to be gentle and stick to a simple twice a day routine.

Avoid oily make-up and sun cream
Facial products containing oil can block the pores,causing acne and blackheads to develop. Always choose oil-free cosmetics and sun protection.

Give treatments time to work
Acne creams and medication very rarely work right away. You need to use the treatment for approximately six weeks to see if it has the desired affect on your child’s skin.

When to pick and when not to
Ideally, spots should never be picked because they will often leave a permanent scar. However, teenagers will pick - just like you did at that age. It’s pointless telling them not to because ultimately it’s their face and they’ll do what they want with it. The best you can do as a parent is tell them which spots are better to pick than others. Blackheads and yellow tops can be gently squeezed but white heads and red, inflamed spots should always be left alone.

Although it may make little difference to how they feel, it is still important to constantly remind your child that she will grow out of her spots. Explain that it’s just a part of growing up and that everybody gets them. It can also be helpful if you tell your child that you had the same problem when you were younger, or even better tell her that your spots were much worse (even if they weren't). This is one of those situations where a little white lie is justifiable.

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