What do we do about these small bumps/acne on my 14 yo daughters’ faces?

Mt twin daughters foreheads are covered in small bumps. They have them badly on their temples too and many more before their cycles. They are now getting them all over their cheeks as well, some turn into larger pimples and they just keep getting more. We have tried OTC products, Proactive and currently Murad. dermatologist advised an oil free wash and and Clindamycin Phosphate lotion 1percent!, but we are afraid to use it because they have IBS and side effects of Cdiff and Colitis sound too scary. This problem began when they were 12, they are now 14 and we don't know what to do. The problem is mainly these small bumps, but they cover so much skin! any advice?

These little bumps which are so pesky and errupt into larger pimples are called closed comedones and they are tiny plugs of oil and dead skin cells with a thin layer of skin over them  – a whitehead!  Then the bacteria start to work, the oils get digested and inflammation starts which causes the red bumps.

The key to this kind of acne is to try to unplug the pores and then fight the bacteria and the inflammation.  So…………  to unplug those pores you need things like the salicylic acid or glycolic washes or creams or things that are prescription like Retin A/tretinoin or mechanical things like microdermabrasion or peels which remove that outer dead layer of skin and help the plug slough off.  Microdermabrasion and light peels can be performed by aestheticians – just find one with experience and a good reputation.  Or, you might try ordering the PMD home microdermabrasion machine – it’s not too expensive.  I’ve tested this and it works well but you MUST follow the directions.  The pores are the first challenge.

Then you can work on the bacteria with the topical clindamycin.  When you put this on the skin it is not absorbed much if at all.  It’s different than taking a pill.  Ask your IBS doctor, but he/she will most likely approve the topical form and  it would help your daughters.

Usually, if the first two problems are solved the inflammation will go away on it’s own but if it doesn’t, ask your dermatologist for more help!    More on acne here.

Good luck!  Dr. I 

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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