How to Control Acne in Your Teen


Teenagers are famously unkind to each other, and having an acne problem is like having a target on your back. Cruel comments and resulting poor self-image come with the territory. Try these acne-control strategies to help your teen clear up his skin and regain his self-confidence.

It’s been theorized that acne is caused by eating too much fried food or chocolate, but we now know that this is not the case. Acne is caused, plain and simple, from clogged oil glands. The culprit behind the clogging? The buildup of a mixture of dead skin cells, extra oil, hair follicles, and sometimes bacteria.

Your teenager’s acne may be made worse by any of the following:

  • Stress
  • Hard scrubbing of the face
  • Oil-based makeup, lotions, suntan oil, or hair products
  • Hormonal changes, especially during menstruation
  • Picking or squeezing acne

You can purchase over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, resorcinol, and sulfur. These medications are found in a variety of products, so your teenager can choose from lotions, creams, soaps, gels, and cleansing pads.

Take your teen to a dermatologist. A doctor will advise him on the best route to take in terms of prescription medication. He may be prescribe retinoids, which require your teen to avoid the sun or use a very strong sunscreen while his skin is healing so that he doesn’t end up with a severe sunburn.

Adapalene is another topical prescription and must be applied with care. Keep the medication away from the eyes, mouth, and under the nose. Another option is isotretinoin, which comes in pill form and is for severe cystic acne.

Try non-medication treatment options. Healthy eating nourishes the body, and consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can do wonders for skin. It is also recommended that teenagers drink 6-8 glasses of water daily and get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Taking fish oil supplements has been shown to improve skin health, as well.

Encourage your teenager to keep their hands away from their face as much as possible. Cell phones pressing up against the skin can also have detrimental effects, due to the oil and grime they collect from hands touching them and from their habitat at the bottom of purses or showed in pants pockets.

Related: Acne in Adolescents

Clean and fresh skin is not unattainable! No matter the severity of their acne, with enough time and effort your teenager can live acne-free.