Teen Helps Younger Brother With Autism Deal With Acne by Turning to the Internet

Alec, 16, is non-verbal and doesn't tolerate water or creams on his face due to sensory sensitivities.

When a non-verbal teen with autism began developing painful acne, his caring sister turned to the internet for skin care advice, and they delivered.

Alec, 16, of California, has autism-related sensory sensitivities and can’t tolerate water or soggy face masks touching his face.

As he began developing acne in his teen years, exacerbated by medications he takes and a specific diet once administered through a GI tube, his family began seeking different ways to help make the acne more manageable.

“We tried out a lot of things including going to a dermatologist on a regular basis, but none of his recommendations were really cutting it,” his sister, 19-year-old Callie Ross-Smith, told InsideEdition.com. “That’s not to say that the dermatologist didn’t know what he was doing, it’s just he didn’t really know what to do with my brother.”

That’s when she decided to reach out to a community on Reddit, /r/SkincareAddiction.

“I’ve been reading [the thread] for close to [a year and a half] now and I thought anything at this point would be worth a shot, so I posted the original post,” Callie said.

She wrote about the different medications Alec was taking and why certain medications or creams didn’t help.

The thread took off, garnering more than 100 detailed responses in just days.

“Got such a huge variety of answers, and everyone was just so excited to make suggestions,” she said.

Eventually, they settled on a simple routine of washing his face with a gentle cleanser in the morning, using a deep cleanser and salicylic acid pad at night and moisturizing with a light cream.

While Callie said they’re hoping to see results over the next couple of months, she’s most inspired by how quickly the internet jumped in to support her brother.

“We’re closer than close. He’s my world. We’re in tune with each other,” Callie explained. “Not going to lie, he’s a pain sometimes, but at the end of the day when I come home from school or work, I love seeing how well he is thriving right now and how far he has come. He’s the person I miss the most now that I’ve moved for school.”