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  • Select from over 100 symptoms to read more about managing your child's illness.

    Is Your Child Sick? TM


    Acne

    Is this your child's symptom?

    • Pimples and blackheads on the face caused by blocked oil glands

    Symptoms of Acne

    • Whiteheads (pimples) are plugged oil glands that are closed.
    • Blackheads are plugged oil glands that are open. Reason: The oil turns black when it is exposed to air.
    • Whiteheads and blackheads are also called "zits."
    • Red bumps are from blocked oil glands that have leaked oil. This causes irritation in the skin around them. Larger red bumps can be quite painful.
    • Acne mainly appears on your face, neck, and shoulders

    Causes of Acne

    • Acne skin changes are from plugged oil glands. Acne has several causes.
    • Increased levels of hormones during puberty have a part. Heredity also plays an important role.
    • Some skin bacteria can make it worse.
    • Acne is not caused by diet. You do not need to avoid eating fried foods, chocolate, or any other food.
    • Acne is not caused by dirt or by not washing your face often enough.

    When to Call for Acne

    When to Call for Acne

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Spreading red area around the acne with fever
    • Spreading red area or streak that's very large
    • Your child looks or acts very sick

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Spreading red area or streak around the acne, but no fever
    • You think your child needs to be seen

    Call Doctor During Office Hours

    • Tender red lumps that are large occur
    • Yellow soft scab that drains pus or gets bigger occurs
    • After treating with Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) for 2 months, acne not improved
    • BP makes the face itchy or swollen
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Self Care at Home

    • Mild acne

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Spreading red area around the acne with fever
    • Spreading red area or streak that's very large
    • Your child looks or acts very sick

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Spreading red area or streak around the acne, but no fever
    • You think your child needs to be seen

    Call Doctor During Office Hours

    • Tender red lumps that are large occur
    • Yellow soft scab that drains pus or gets bigger occurs
    • After treating with Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) for 2 months, acne not improved
    • BP makes the face itchy or swollen
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Self Care at Home

    • Mild acne

    Care Advice for Acne

    1. What You Should Know About Acne:
      • More than 90% of teenagers have some acne. Acne is a normal part of the teen years.
      • There is no medicine at this time that will cure acne.
      • However, good skin care can keep acne under control and at a mild level.
      • Here is some care advice that should help.
    2. Benzoyl Peroxide Gel:
      • Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) is the best OTC medicine for bringing acne under control. Use a Benzoyl Peroxide 5% gel product (such as the store brand). OTC means no prescription is needed.
      • It helps to open pimples and to unplug blackheads. It also kills bacteria.
      • Apply the lotion once a day at bedtime to the area with acne. Redheads and blonds should apply it every other day for the first 2 weeks. Reason: More sensitive skin.
      • Use an amount of lotion the size of a pea. This should be enough to cover most of the acne.
      • If the skin becomes red or peels, use less of it. Other option: You can use it less often.
      • Caution: Avoid the corners of the eyes, nose and mouth. Reason: These areas are very sensitive.
      • Caution: Benzoyl Peroxide bleaches clothing, towels, blankets, etc. Apply it only at bedtime and put it on sparingly. Use a plain white pillowcase.
    3. Antibiotics for Red Bumps:
      • Large red bumps mean the infection has spread beyond the oil gland. If you have several red bumps, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
      • Antibiotics come as solutions for the skin or as pills.
      • The antibiotic will kill the bacteria that are causing the infection.
      • Give the antibiotic as directed.
    4. Washing the Face:
      • Wash your skin twice a day. The most important time to wash is bedtime. Just use warm water or you can use a mild soap (such as Dove).
      • Shampoo your hair daily.
      • Avoid scrubbing your skin. Reason: Hard scrubbing of the skin irritates the openings of the oil glands. This causes them to close off even more tightly.
    5. Pimple Opening:
      • Opening (popping) pimples is not advised by many doctors. But, most teens and adults do it anyway.
      • So, here's how to open a pimple safely without any squeezing.
      • Never open a pimple before it has come to a head.
      • Wash your face and hands first.
      • Use a sterile needle (cleaned with rubbing alcohol). Nick the surface of the yellow pimple with the tip of the needle. The pus should run out without squeezing.
      • Wipe away the pus and wash the area with soap and water.
      • Opening small pimples in this way will not cause skin damage.
    6. Avoid Picking or Squeezing Acne:
      • Many young people pick at their acne when they are not thinking about it. Picking makes acne worse.
      • Try not to touch the face at all during the day.
      • Squeezing blackheads causes bleeding into the skin. The bleeding turns into brownish blotches on the skin. They can take 1 or 2 months to fade.
      • Squeezing red lumps can force bacteria into the skin. This too leaves blotches. It can also cause a serious face infection.
    7. Prevention - Avoid Triggers of Acne:
      • Avoid putting any oily or greasy substances on your face. Reason: They block oil glands and make acne worse. If you use cosmetics, use water-based cosmetics.
      • Avoid hair tonics or hair creams (especially greasy ones). When you sweat, they will get on the face and irritate the acne.
    8. What to Expect:
      • With treatment, new whiteheads and blackheads will decrease. But, it takes 6 to 8 weeks.
      • Acne usually lasts until age 20 or 25.
      • So, you will need to continue the treatment for several years.
      • You don't need to worry about scarring. It is very rare for acne to leave any scars.
    9. Call Your Doctor If:
      • With treatment, the acne has not improved after 2 months
      • It looks infected (large, red, tender bumps)
      • You think your child needs to be seen
      • Your child becomes worse

    And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

    Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

    Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

    Baby Acne

    This shows baby (neonatal) acne on the cheeks and side of the face. There are red and white raised bumps.