How to deal with persistent teenage acne

When you’re a teenager, persistent acne can feel like the end of the world.

Between school, activities, friends and homework, you’ve got a ton to focus on, but all you can think about is how to cover up what’s happening on your face.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12-24 experience at least minor acne. In fact, it’s the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting 50 million people every year.

Which may lead you to wonder, if it’s so common, why is it so hard to treat in certain kids?

A lot of it has to do with your genetics (gee, thanks Mom and Dad) but it also could be related to changing hormones, emotional stress, medication, and even the food you eat.

It helps to take good care of your skin by washing once or twice a day with a mild cleanser. And making sure you don’t pick at any acne on your face!

But if you need more serious treatment, you should visit a dermatologist to talk about acne treatments for teenagers.

So, what are some of the best treatments out there? Let’s take a closer look.

Medical facials

 A medical facial is a treatment that uses medical-grade products including glycolic acid. It helps to deep clean the pores, which releases dirt and oil as well as allows a fresh layer of skin to reveal itself. In older adults, medical facials help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but you won’t have to worry about that for a long time to come.

After a medical facial, your dermatologist will recommend avoiding any direct exposure to the sun or using a tanning bed (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway!) But you can get right back to your schedule after leaving the office.

Chemical peels

Many teenage girls don’t realize that they have makeup and dirt trapped in places that cleansers and exfoliators just can’t reach. A chemical peel is a corrective skin treatment designed to remove dead and damaged skin. Because of its small molecule size and ability to penetrate the skin, glycolic acid is a popular ingredient in chemical peels.

And don’t worry, a peel won’t hurt- just tingle- and you won’t leave the office with a super red face. The actual “peeling” time varies but most medium-strength peels take about a week.


So, what if your skin needs the kind of help that only a prescription can provide?  That’s ok. This is where your dermatologist will make a recommendation on what he or she thinks will work best for you. Whether it’s a topical prescription medication, which means a cream or gel you can apply on your face, or an oral medication, there are many different treatments to get your acne under control. 

So now that you’ve made it this far, we hope that you understand teenage acne (and what you can do about it) a little bit better. If you’re stressed about your acne, talk to your dermatologist. Treatments have come so far in the last few years, it’s time to take advantage!