By Dr. Kathy Fields
Because acne can have such a strong effect on self-esteem, any mom hates to see her child battle breakouts. But for someone who has made a name for herself helping others combat acne and reclaim their sense of self-worth, watching my own son battle acne is especially painful. When the stress of watching him struggle started to show on my own skin, I realized that while battling breakouts usually is all about controlling the acne cycle, in the case of my son’s skin, and mine, I would try a lot less nagging and become more strategic to get him to easily use his meds.
My son is great at homework, sports and finding time for his girlfriend and even the bands on his braces. But the early morning rush out the door and the late night studying leave no energy for his skincare routine. Miraculously, as soon as I surrendered to this realization, I was able to stop forcing a regimen on him and start subtly slipping the regimen into his routine.
Step one: I took his entire regimen out of hiding in the bathroom medicine cabinet and placed things strategically where he was most likely to see them and use them. The acne face wash went in the shower where I knew he’d be likely to use it at least once a day. The toner was placed next to his toothbrush. And the treatment product became un-ignorable when placed next to his computer.
Step two: Knowing he has an easy plan of action, I backed off and watched the transformation. It was a reminder for me to pay attention to my own skin needs and be more consistent with my routine despite all my travel and long days.
Sure he went to school with a zit or two but I had learned to accept it was his choice and not my character defect. And in the end both our skin and our stress cleared. All it took was some consistent compliance to a regimen and giving myself and my son the freedom to fight our own battles – our own way!