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Now’s the Time To Clear Your Teen's Acne

As acne specialists, Smita Tandon, MD, and her team at Dr 2 Kids in Fountain Valley, California, know the impact that blackheads and pimples can have on your teen as they struggle through the challenges of adolescence. Acne often hits just as maturing children start to focus on their appearance, and few teens escape the condition. An estimated 85% of teens experience acne at some point on the road to adulthood.

While a single pimple can go through its cycle without causing lasting damage, severe acne cases could see new pimples developing before previous outbreaks heal. This overlap can lead to the pitting and redness typical of permanent acne scarring.

Early action is the key in helping your teen stay ahead of acne damage. Even if there’s no sign that their acne is severe, the time to act is when the first few pimples appear. There’s no single approach that works for everyone, so an effective routine for your child might take trial and error. Here’s what you need to know to help.

The causes of teen acne

When a young person hits their teen years, their sebaceous glands may start to overproduce an oily substance called sebum, which can make their skin oilier than it once was. This stickiness can trap dead skin cells inside pores, and this debris can build up. Whiteheads and blackheads can then form and irritate the skin around the pores.

This kind of acne is called noninflammatory acne. However, noninflammatory acne can create conditions where bacteria can thrive. If bacteria enter the picture, this can lead to inflammatory acne, which can cause nodules and cysts to form and increase the likelihood of scarring. Finding an effective anti-acne skin care routine can help minimize the extent of outbreaks.

Daily acne treatment

A common myth about acne is that it’s due to dirty skin or poor personal hygiene. Your teen is more likely to make their acne worse if they wash too often, scrub excessively, or use harsh soaps. Though overproduction of sebum is an acne contributor, it’s still necessary to create a layer that protects the skin. Aggressive washing can strip the skin of its first line of defence against the bacteria that cause inflammatory acne.

Instead, try these skin care products that can help reduce the intensity of acne outbreaks:

Salicylic acid

Found in face and body washes as well as in over-the-counter astringents, salicylic acid can help reduce the dead skin cells that contribute to the pore-clogging cycle.

Benzoyl peroxide

Also available over the counter, benzoyl peroxide can dry up excess sebum. It can also act as an antibacterial agent, killing the infecting agents that cause inflammation.


These prescription medications can help unplug clogged pores, typically the next step if benzoyl peroxide doesn’t give the desired results. Some retinoids have potential side effects, so they’re not a first-step solution.

There are many other potential solutions to teen acne, including small lifestyle changes and other medications. If you want to learn more about helping your teen battle acne, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr 2 Kids today.

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