Blackheads in Children

When your child's skin starts breaking out with pimples, whiteheads or blackheads, you're left wondering where her clear, smooth skin went. Blackheads are embarrassing for some kids as they grow and start to worry more about appearance. Each of these types of acne are caused by the same sorts of issues, according to .

Close-up of a child washing his face in a bathtub. Credit: petrograd99/iStock/Getty Images

Blackheads Explained

Blackheads are just one type of acne your child may have to deal with. Your child's pores can sometimes get clogged by things like dead skin, bacteria and oil, according to KidsHealth. If this happens and the clogged pore remains opened, the top of whatever is clogging her pores can darken, causing a blackhead to appear on her skin. If this pore were to close up on the top, it would cause a whitehead to form instead, notes the American Academy of Dermatology.

About Acne

Acne is very common, with 40 to 50 million American having acne at a time, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It mostly commonly begins during puberty, with eight in 10 preteens and teens dealing with acne, notes KidsHealth. Acne often appears during this stage of life because of the hormonal changes that are happening, causing the sebaceous glands to be more active, according to Boston Children's Hospital. These glands are located in the dermis and work to secrete oil into your child's skin. It's normal for younger children to get acne, too, whether it's because your child has inherited it; she wears clothing that's too tight; she takes certain medications, such as corticosteroids; or because of the oil from her scalp, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Blackhead Prevention

Prevent and minimize the severity of her acne or blackheads, to eliminate the problem. Your child should shower at least two times per day, especially after he's been sweating, advises the American Academy of Dermatology. Perspiration can increase the occurrence of acne. While in the shower, have your child wash his skin with a mild soap and warm water. He should use his hands to gently scrub instead of using a washcloth, notes KidsHealth. Your child should avoid touching his face with his hands, since this can cause breakouts. Tell your child to avoid getting hair gel or hair spray on his face, since these things can clog his pores.

How to Treat Blackheads

If your child already has blackheads, you can treat them a number of ways. Tell your child to avoid squeezing her blackheads, which can often make them worse, according to Buy your child an over-the-counter blackhead medication made with benzoyl peroxide, which can come in a gel, lotion or wash. Help your child use this medication as directed and keep at it, since it can sometimes take weeks or longer to see results. If these medications aren't helping, you may need to take your child to see a dermatologist, who can prescribe her stronger prescription acne medications, such as gels, creams and antibiotics, according to The course of treatment your child's dermatologist recommends will vary depending on her age.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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