Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Earlier Acne Outbreaks May Be Caused by Earlier Puberty: Experts

TUESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Though acne has long been viewed as a teen phenomenon, dermatologists have been tending to an ever-younger patient pool, a new preadolescent reality that many experts link to a trend toward an earlier onset of puberty.

Now, a team of physicians has put together a new list of treatment recommendations that they hope will lead to a better age-appropriate standard of care for children as young as 7.

The guidelines address issues such as when over-the-counter creams should be used versus prescription medicines (including antibiotics, retinoids and, for girls in some cases, hormone therapy). They also discuss how to help young patients stick with their treatments and deal with the emotional effects of acne.

"As the initial start of puberty is occurring earlier than in the past, we needed to define the age ranges and concerns regarding the different groups that make up pediatric acne," said guideline co-author Dr. Andrea Zaenglein, a pediatric dermatologist and professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Penn State/Hershey Medical Center.

She said the goal is "to provide pediatricians and anyone who cares for children with acne with specific guidelines for the care of their patients."

Zaenglein and her colleagues presented their recommendations, which have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and published in Pediatrics, at the recent American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in New York City.

The team defines preadolescent acne as cases occurring among children aged 7 to 12.

The guideline authors pointed out that preadolescent acne is not usually a cause for undue alarm, typically involving the onset of whiteheads and blackheads in the forehead, nose and chin region. More serious inflammatory lesions are not commonly seen among these younger patients, and scarring -- though a concern -- is rare.

The new recommendations advise doctors to first treat cases of preadolescent mild acne with over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide. Only when such products fail to do the trick -- or when children are afflicted with larger-than-usual acne zones -- are age-appropriate oral antibiotics or retinoids to be added to the treatment.

Children should also be instructed to adopt good cleansing protocols, such as washing acne-prone areas twice daily with a nonabrasive pH-balanced cleanser.

Consistent monitoring alongside treatment is also suggested even once acne is brought under control, as the onset of preadolescent acne can be an early sign of more serious acne problems as a child ages into a teen and young adult.

While acknowledging the need to identify the problem and seek appropriate treatment, Zaenglein stressed that "it is important that parents do not panic" because preadolescent acne is readily controllable.

"Acne is very unlikely to be a sign of a hormonal abnormality in that age range," she said, "although your doctor should confirm with a thorough history and physical exam."

But what explains the preadolescent acne phenomenon in the first place?

The jury is still out, said Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield, chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and himself a member of the guideline team.

"There are many ideas as to why this is happening," he said. "It is true that while back in the 1990s it was not that uncommon to see the onset of puberty among 8- or 9-year-olds, there is good data that children are, in fact, going into puberty now about one year earlier than was the case 20 years ago," Eichenfield explained.

"So it could be about hormones, about nutrition, about the obesity epidemic," he suggested. "But I would call these ideas, not even theories. We really just don't know what the reason is. But what we do know is that it's not happening just in the U.S. This is a worldwide phenomenon," he added.

"Which is why I'm very pleased that now, for the first time, we have evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of pediatric care," Eichenfield said. "And that means that parents should feel comfortable that their pediatricians and dermatologists will now have consistent and reliable ways to treat children, and minimize the negative physical and psychological impact that acne can come to have over a patient's lifetime."

For her part, Dr. Sheila Friedlander, a pediatric dermatologist and clinical professor of pediatrics and medicine at UCSD, expressed hope that the new recommendations will help caregivers guide parents away from the "perfect storm of anxiety" that can arise when confronted with preadolescent acne.

"As long as no other signs of a problem exist, such as significant armpit/groin hair or breast development, we consider this 'early acne' a normal event," she said.

"Therefore, health care givers must be prepared to provide parents with an appropriate approach to acne," Friedlander added, agreeing that most cases are eminently treatable when handled properly.

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for fast facts about acne.

SOURCES: Andrea Zaenglein, M.D., FAAD, pediatric dermatologist, and professor, dermatology and pediatrics, Penn State/Hershey Medical Center; Sheila Friedlander, M.D., pediatric dermatologist, and clinical professor, pediatrics and medicine, department of medicine, University of California, San Diego; Lawrence Eichenfield, M.D., chief, pediatric and adolescent dermatology, University of California, San Diego; July 31-Aug. 4, 2013, American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting, New York City; May 2013 Pediatrics

Reviewed Date: --

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

Find a pediatrician
Helpful Information
Mid-Atlantic Womens's Care
Sports Medicine and Adolescent Medicine
Joel Brenner, MD
Aisha Joyce, MD
David Smith, MD
Dermatology
Judith Williams, MD
Infectious Diseases
Kenji Cunnion, MD
Randall Fisher, MD
Laura Sass, MD
Health Tips
A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Child Care
Baby’s Emotional, Intellectual Development
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
For Kids, Games Can Build Strong Minds
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Help Your Babysitter Prepare for Anything
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
Is It Time for Toilet Training?
Is Your Child Too Sick for Day Care or School?
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Letting Kids Grow Up…At Their Own Pace
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
New Parents...Sore Backs
Over-The-Counter Medicines for Infants and Children
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teen Suicide: Learning to Recognize the Warning Signs
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
The Do's and Don’ts for Children's Meds
Treat Children's OTC Drugs With Care
Treating Teen Acne
TV vs. Activity: Key Choice for Kids
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
Weight Room No Longer Off-Limits to Kids
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Your Child's Imaginary Friend…What It Means
Your Child's Social and Emotional Development
Quizzes
Acne Quiz
Child Development Quiz
Teen Health Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Acne in Children
Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
Adolescent Health Problems and Injuries
Adolescent Mental Health Overview
Adolescents and Diabetes Mellitus
AIDS/HIV in Children
Amenorrhea in Teens
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Breast Conditions
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Child Care
Common Skin Disorders in Children
Describing a Child's Skin Condition
Diphtheria in Children
Discipline
During an Asthma Attack
Dysmenorrhea in Adolescents
Ewing Sarcoma
Female Growth and Development
Female Physical Development
Firearms
Gynecological and Menstrual Conditions
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents
Home Page - Adolescent Medicine
Infectious Mononucleosis in Adolescents
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Major Depression in Adolescents
Male Growth and Development
Male Physical Development
Meningitis in Children
Menstrual Disorders
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Noninfectious Skin Conditions
Normal Breast Development
Obesity in Adolescents
Oral Health
Osteosarcoma in Children
Overview of Adolescent Health Problems
Pap Test for Adolescents
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Problems in Puberty
Puberty: Adolescent Female
Puberty: Adolescent Male
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months
The Growing Child: 10 to 12 Months
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 4 to 6 Months
The Growing Child: 7 to 9 Months
The Growing Child: Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
The Growing Child: Newborn
The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Topic Index - Adolescent Medicine
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
Wisdom Teeth Extraction in Children

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.