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Teenage Skin Problems

(24 Posts)
NanaNina Tue 03-Sep-13 21:01:03

I wonder if anyone has any good advice. My DGD is 13 and has bad spots on her brow, around nose and chin, the T zone. I don't know whether this is acne or not. My DIL has taken her to the GP who first gave her antibiotic cream which didn't seem to help and now she is on antibiotics but they don't seem to be helping either. She is just getting to the stage where she really cares about how she looks and she would be so pretty without the spots.

I have bought her an expensive range of treatments, but I don't think she bothered too much to go through the stages of cleansing, toning, etc. There were 5 stages I think, but they didn't seem to help.

It's tricky for me as I am just a nanny (a very doting one!) but I so want to help. I am wondering about asking my DIL if she would be willing for me to pay for DGD to see a dermatologist. I have heard that there is one treatment (think it's medication ) that can cause severe depression in teenagers who take it for acne. Begins with R but can't remember what it's called.

Any ideas anyone?

NightScentedStock Tue 03-Sep-13 21:45:12

it's brilliant.
I have had 2 courses.
I wasn't put off by the risk of depression-having acne was awful though. It destroyed my confidence and self esteem.
Your GD should be able to see a dermatologist on the nhs if her gp accepts that current treatments aren't working, but that may take months as they ime tend to want to give other treatments time to work.
antibiotics made me very ill long term as they destroy gut flora so it's sensible to watch out for cramps/abdominal pain.
Roaccutane is a fairly expensive treatment and bloods need to be taken to check liver function during treatment.
You sound like a lovely grandma-my mother was very dismissive of my angst about my skin, so I could have done with a grandma like you when I was a teenager!

NightScentedStock Tue 03-Sep-13 21:46:14

Roaccutane comes in tablet form and dose is calculated by weight iirc.

NightScentedStock Tue 03-Sep-13 21:52:40

Also re skincare- I tried everything from tesco soap to clinique, nothing helped much.
Washing 2 x day with eg neutrogena facewash and an oil free moisturiser won't do any harm. There is a company called aknicare who do a range of products that do seem to give quite good results for a topical treatment. I used it for a while, it didn't exacerbate things, but it wasn't the cure I was hoping for. Might be worth looking into though.

emmelinelucas Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:07

Have you tried Quinoderm cream ? It comes in different strengths. The 2.5 would be best to start with. Apply in a really thin layer over the problem area for best results.
You can get it over the counter at the chemists.

Musicaltheatremum Tue 03-Sep-13 21:53:32

Roaccutane. Both my kids had it and both have beautiful skin now. It is really important she is taken seriously. I probably sat back a bit with mine but glad they got there in the end. She should stay on antibiotics while awaiting the appointment.

NanaNina Wed 04-Sep-13 12:56:54

Thanks for the replies folks. So some of you are ok about Roaccutane - that's interesting - assume it's by prescription? Will mention Quinoderm cream to my DIL but I'm in a tricky position really cus although we have a really good r/ship I think it could look like interfering. My DIL also suffered from skin problems as a teenager and her mother didn't do anything about it and it really upset her, so I think she's trying not to make it a big deal for DGD, so I suppose I should leave it to her really as she is doing her best. Aaaah just want everything to be right for my DGD............I love her so much.

NightScentedStock Wed 04-Sep-13 14:24:44

Yes it can only be prescribed by a dermatologist following consultation.

I had no side effects on it bar drier (sp?) skin, which was a good thing!

If you have a good relationship I dont think suggesting something is a bad thing at all. I would be pleased if mymother was trying to help in similar circumstances. You could always caveat your suggestion by saying feel free to ignore me etc etc.

I think if your gd is upset by it it's really important to act as her advocate, as ime gps dont often take the psychological effects of acne seriously enough, and antibiotics are not always helpful at all.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

I agree with the pp that quinoderm is good but I heard it was being taken off the market-i had to buy some on amazon a while ago as no local pharmacies stock it. It can be used alongside antibiotics.

NanaNina Wed 04-Sep-13 21:44:11

Thanks again NSS - I can imagine that GPs don't always think of the psychological effects of acne, as they are firmly ensconced in the medical model. We live in Birmingham and I have been googling Skin Clinics and there are several in Birmingham, so I will suggest that to my DIL and offer to pay! And I like your caveat - I will remember that!

Thing is DGD is very close to her mom and so I don't think she'd need me as an advocate. I did suggest buying her a face steamer as someone had mentioned it on another teenage thread, but my DIL just said "no thanks" so I think I have to bide my time.

NanaNina Wed 04-Sep-13 21:46:44

Thanks again NSS - I can imagine that GPs don't always think of the psychological effects of acne, as they are firmly ensconced in the medical model. We live in Birmingham and I have been googling Skin Clinics and there are several in Birmingham, so I will suggest that to my DIL and offer to pay! And I like your caveat - I will remember that!

Thing is DGD is very close to her mom and so I don't think she'd need me as an advocate. I did suggest buying her a face steamer as someone had mentioned it on another teenage thread, but my DIL just said "no thanks" so I think I have to bide my time.

NanaNina Wed 04-Sep-13 21:51:23

Sorry didn't mean to post twice. NSS can I ask if you are a teenager or looking back to the time when you were younger. Just wondered. I've looked at the aknicare website but it's difficult to know if it would work or not. Think I'm going to suggest to my DIL that DGD goes to one of the skin clinics for a proper assessment and treatment.

NightScentedStock Wed 04-Sep-13 21:58:36

I am nearly 40 nana but had acne from 14 years right up until my mid 30s. Still get a few blemishes every now and then, which i use quinoderm for, but mostly ok now. It's been a real curse! Your gd is very lucky to have you waiting in the wings to help.

longingforsomesleep Thu 05-Sep-13 00:46:54

Nana - please tread very carefully with your dgd and dil. I know all about the misery of acne having suffered from it very badly from my teens to my thirties and even now, at the ripe old age of 54 I'm sitting here with a couple of spots on my chin!

I don't think you should initiate any discussion about this but should respond supportively when/if your dgd or dil raise the subject. If you start offering to pay for dermatologists or talking about what you've gleaned from the internet you are effectively saying to them both that you think it's a real problem. This might make your dgd feel worse and your dil might think you are interfering - especially if she suffered herself so understands the problem better than you.

Roaccutane is heavy duty stuff (I took it three times in my twenties/thirties) but, as mentioned upthread, must be prescribed by a dermatologist (and they will want to try other things first) and can have side effects.

Are you sure your dgd is as bothered by this as you? You say she didn't bother with the 'expensive treatements' you bought. My 16 year old ds spends ages in the bathroom at bedtime cleaning and applying lotions as he is quite anxious about his spots. They're not that bad but I'm careful only to offer advice when consulted as I don't want him to think that I think it's a problem. He's been using an antibiotic lotion which isn't as effective as it was. I've been biting my tongue all summer wanting to ask him if I should make him another dr's appointment. Finally his current prescription ran out and he asked me to renew it for him. He commented himself that it wasn't working as well and I said I hadn't noticed but we could always ask the dr to suggest something different. We're going tomorrow!

NightScentedStock Thu 05-Sep-13 08:19:54

But acne generally is a real problem to most sufferers longing so although I think it needs to be handled with great sensitivity I disagree that waiting for a child to take the lead or pretending one hasn't noticed it not improving is necessarily a good option. I would argue that sensitive discussion and other treatment options are not harmful-i think one runs the risk of minimising a potentially very distressing situation otherwise. Also, if the acne isn't improving, swift assertive action is sometimes needed to avoid lifelong scarring.

longingforsomesleep Thu 05-Sep-13 10:26:22

Nightscented - there isn't anything you can tell me about the problems and pain of acne! I'm not by any means suggesting the dismissive approach your mother took with you or that the OP should minimise her DGD's condition.

I'm interested in the fact that the OP says her GDG has spots on her T zone and she's not sure if this is acne or not. If she has to ask the question it makes me wonder if the problem is severe enough to warrant something like roaccutane. If it isn't too severe then wading in with offers to pay for consultants/skin clinics; gifts of expensive lotions etc is giving the OP's DGD the message "your skin must be really bad - look at the lengths I'm prepared to go to to try and solve this horrendous problem".

Of course be supportive. Of course if the person with the problem opens up then take the opportunity to offer help and advice. My 16 year old ds is hugely self-conscious of his really not very bad skin. He has looked at me as if he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him on occasions when I have broached the subject with him. When he has broached the subject with me I always try to reassure him (not in a dismissive way) and tell him that if ever HE feels it's getting worse and he wants me to look into further treatment for him he only has to say.

I also think the OP needs to be careful with her DIL who has, unlike the OP, suffered from skin problems herself so probably understands better what her daughter does and doesn't need.

I'm not saying at all that the OP shouldn't try and help. She may already be taking the approach I have suggested.

NightScentedStock Thu 05-Sep-13 15:53:09

I am not trying to tell you anything about acne longing, but you seem to be saying you know it all already

Op never suggested wading in with anything. From her posts she sounds like she would offer help sensitively and has said she will bide her time so I don't think that's a problem in this scenario.

My pov is that i think acne affects people in different ways, and just because you have had it long term, it doesn't mean you are an expert on other people's experiences, or how to manage it, any more than I am.

You said "I don't want him (ds) to think that I think it's a problem" and you told him that you hadn't noticed his treatment wasn't working despite saying above that you were aware that it wasn't as effective as it was.

Personally I wouldn't do that or recommend others do that. And it doesn't matter imo how bad or not others think the problem is, it's up to a doctor/dermatologist to decide on treatment based on his/her assessment of the physical and psychological problems the acne is causing.He/she can reassure th4e patient if appropriate based on clinical expertise. Far too often gps provide poor treatment for acne, people arent referred in time to prevent life long scarring, and teenagers are not always able to easily access the help they need and deserve if their family arent supportive in the right way. Perhaps your approach is the best one in your circumstances but it doesn't follow it is best in all,

I really don't want to get into an argument about this, but I wanted the op to have another perspective from a long term acne sufferer.

Also, i would add that my mother had acne as a teenager, it didnt make her better qualified to understand mine. Quite the opposite

longingforsomesleep Thu 05-Sep-13 17:39:33

I also wanted the OP to have a different perspective. If she doesn't know whether or not her DGD has acne then I suspect it is not severe enough to cause long-term scarring - anymore than my son's is.

I also think I am a million times better placed than a dr or dermatologist to assess the psychological effects on my own child - and indeed from my own experiences, whether or not scarring is likely to occur.

I have a good relationship with my MIL but I would be horrified if she started asking my son if she would like her to arrange to see a specialist or buying skin products for him. You obviously had a bad experience with your mother but there is a middle ground to be trod here.

cathyandclaire Thu 05-Sep-13 17:51:41

I had acne and so does one of my dds, I understand how it can be difficult to tell how bad your DGD's skin is. I am amazed at the efficiency that dd covers up her spots, she used to set the alarm an hour early to give her time to clean, allow the redness to fade and then apply concealer etc etc, bless her. She also avoided some cleansers/toners as although they may have worked in the long term, in the short term they made her spots look red and angry and hard to hide. Maybe your DGD feels the same?

She has had roaccutane now ( as I did), which was just fantastic. However it sounds like DGD's GP has things under control, there's a ladder of treatment including two failed courses of different oral antibiotics THEN referral to a derm, so she's on the pathway. Good luck to her smile

NanaNina Fri 06-Sep-13 13:20:05

Hmm I didn't mean to cause any dissent on this thread! I think you both LFSS and NSS have valid points to make. However can I just mention LFSS that I have no intention of asking my DGD anything about her skin, or any treatments. I wouldn't dream of doing that as she would be embarrassed and I would be definitely be an interfering MIL! I take great care about this with my DILs as I had an interfering MIL many years ago and vowed that if ever I was a MIL I would not make the same mistakes!! I asked my DIL what she thought about the skin treatments before I bought them, and she said she thought they were worth a try.

The issue of whether DGD has acne or not, is because the spots are only on the T zone on her face and none anywhere else, but I don't know whether this is acne or not.

CandC thanks for your post. Oh your lovely girl setting the alarm early to do all the skin stuff......not sure if my DGD is at that stage yet though she has definitely started caring so much more about her appearance lately. She was 13 in April and puberty has hit big time - she is in a 36" bra (!) sorry didn't mean there to be a pun. Obviously the hormone surge she is undergoing are the cause of the skin problems, and her mom suffered in the same way, and even now she doesn't have particularly good skin, but of course make up is a great help. My DGD has some compressed powder from MAC which I bought for one of her birthday presents (and YES she asked me for it!) and that helps a bit.

So another one for the R stuff......thanks for explaining about the pathway that a GP is likely to follow.

In the meantime I should just be grateful that my DGD is healthy and happy, as I'm sure all of your teenagers are too.

NightScentedStock Sun 08-Sep-13 19:26:05

You sound so lovely nana, I hope your gd's skin settles down soon

NanaNina Sun 08-Sep-13 21:18:39

Oh thanks NSS and yes I hope so too. Maybe this rouccetane will eventually be the answer, though the side effects seem pretty scary. Oh dear I just want everything to be right for her. That's what comes of loving someone so much!

ItsDecisionTime Tue 10-Sep-13 12:30:48

My DD, 12, went through a period of about 4 months with an extreme case of acne which resulted in her having some scaring on her face and back. The doctor prescribed antibiotics tablets which didn't help but the antibiotic cream was very effective. I also bought her some Dead Sea Mineral soap - it's black and very messy - which just soaks up the oil in her skin and has helped the situation a lot. She also uses the Dermalogica Clean Start range of products but as you say OP, getting them to religiously use products at such a young age is a nightmare.

Make up wise, whilst you won't want her to be plastered in foundation, I found that Clinique's CC cream is excellent at neutralising the redness from blemishes and certainly gives DD a little boost when she is going out.

NanaNina Tue 10-Sep-13 20:30:25

Hi thanks for your reply IDT - my DGD's skin problems started when she was 12 and I bought the dermalogical clean start range but I don't think she used them properly at the time. The antibiotic cream didn't really help nor are the oral ABs, so hope she can be referred to a dermatologist.

Not sure about the Dead sea mineral soap and as you know I am only the nan not the mum! Interested in Clinique's CC cream and I will have a look at it. DGD uses some MAC powder (not a lot) and as you say this gives her a boost when she is going out.

Gilbertus Wed 11-Sep-13 16:19:32

Google the regimen at

Cheap, easy and effective. My dd is doing it and her skin is now almost completely clear.

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