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Coping with acne: A teen's guide to clear skin

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Updated: 12/13/2012 12:27 pm

(BPT) - Teenagers across the country experience excitement, anxiety and stress as they get ready to head back to the classroom. This mix of emotions can shift teens' hormones into overdrive, aggravating the symptoms that cause acne. A breakout is the last thing any teen wants to deal with on the first day of school.

Teens look forward to greeting classmates for the first time after summer break, but it also comes with some pressure as they want to look and feel their best. While 90 percent of teenagers develop acne at some point, a breakout can lower self confidence, particularly during special times like the start of school.

No teen should have to feel like he or she needs to hide. Here are some acne treatment tips to help avoid breakouts so skin can look its best today and in the future:

* Reduce stress

Even though going back to school is stressful, it's important to relax. Remember, acne starts inside hair follicles, where glands produce the protective oil that keeps skin soft and supple. Stress affects the hormones that control these glands. Teens might consider doing calming activities, such as taking a bath, doing yoga or walking the dog.

* Prevent acne with a daily routine

To maintain clear skin, stick to a daily acne-fighting skin care routine. One popular treatment is the Proactiv 3-Step System. Use the Renewing Cleanser with prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide to cleanse skin. Then use the Revitalizing Toner to hydrate and remove dead skin cells. Finally, use the Repairing Treatment to help heal existing blemishes and kill bacteria that can cause new blemishes.

* Remove makeup before physical activity

Many teens participate in afterschool sports, meaning they likely will work their bodies and break a sweat. For females, combining sweat and makeup can be the ultimate pore-clogger. It's wise to remove makeup prior to physical activities with a quick face wash or cleansing wipes that can easily be stowed in a backpack.

* Always wear sunscreen

The sun dries out skin, causing it to produce more oil and dead skin cells, the ideal combination for breakouts. Furthermore, sun damage to skin can happen at any age, and even though the effects may not be apparent for many years, it's wise for teens to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen each day now. Smart teens will avoid excess sun exposure and wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen every day, even when it's cloudy.

* Treat body breakouts

Acne doesn't just affect the face - it can appear anywhere on the body, and many teens experience breakouts on their chest or back. A medicated cleansing bar is perfect for in the bath or shower to help prevent body breakouts. For example, the Proactiv Medicated Cleansing Bar is a convenient, soap-free bar that lathers with 1 percent salicylic acid to gently wash away dirt, impurities, excess oil and layers of dead skin.

* Eat the right foods

Do french fries and chocolate cause breakouts? While indulging in these foods from time to time does not cause pimples, eating an unbalanced diet may trigger acne flare-ups. Keep in mind there is some evidence that teenagers who eat more vegetables have fewer breakouts. In general, choose fresh, unprocessed foods from all four food groups and drink eight glasses of water a day.

* Rest up each night

A good night's rest has many health benefits. Besides helping teens concentrate better in the classroom, sleeping seven to eight hours each night will boost the immune system, helping to fight infection and clear acne so skin can look its best.

* Spot treat when needed

When a pimple does occur, spot treating the issue can help resolve it quickly. The Proactiv Advanced Blemish Treatment provides an emergency dose of concentrated benzoyl peroxide (6 percent) to help kill the blemish fast. Additional ingredients help absorb excess oil, sooth irritation, and moisturize skin.

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