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Controlling Teen Acne

Teen applying acne medicine to his face

Your acne treatment will work best if you follow your treatment plan. Acne often takes months to improve, so you will need to be patient. The first sign of improvement may be when it flares or briefly gets worse after starting treatment. This often means it is about to clear up, so don’t stop your treatment. Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect your skin to look better. If your skin does not improve by your goal date, call your provider. They may want to try some other type of treatment. Many teens with moderately severe acne will need to take a combination of medicine by mouth and medicine you put on your skin.

The right stuff for your face

Besides sticking with your treatment plan, you need to use the right skin care products and cosmetics on your face. Follow these tips:

  • Choose gentle, oil-free soaps and facial cleansers.

  • Don't use harsh acne scrubs, cleansers, or astringents. They can irritate your skin and make acne worse.

  • Ask your healthcare provider before buying over-the-counter acne treatments, such as those containing benzoyl peroxide. These products can be part of your treatment regimen. But like any acne medicine, they can irritate your skin if the dose is too strong.

  • Look for the term noncomedogenic on the label of any product you buy. This means that the product won’t clog your pores. Always choose water-based and oil-free makeup and moisturizers.

Learning more about acne is the first step toward controlling this common problem. Know that with proper treatment and skin care, you can manage your acne and feel better about your skin.

Caring for your skin

The right skin care routine can help keep your skin healthy and looking good. Follow these tips when caring for your skin:

  • Gently wash your face or other affected skin twice a day with a mild cleanser. Don’t scrub your skin. Smooth the cleanser over your skin with your fingertips. Rinse your skin well with lukewarm water, then pat it dry.

  • If your healthcare provider has approved any over-the-counter acne medicine, use it after you wash your skin. Apply the medicine to all skin areas where you get blemishes.

  • Don’t squeeze pimples or pick blemishes. Doing so can make them look worse and can cause scars. Your acne may heal more quickly on its own if you don't pop pimples and use medicines correctly.

  • Don't use abrasive tools, such as sponges and brushes. They can irritate the skin and make your acne worse.

  • If you use soft sponges or cloths to apply your makeup, keep them clean.

  • Use skin moisturizers as directed by your healthcare provider to prevent dryness and peeling.

  • Limit your time in the sun and use sun block. Some acne treatments make you more sensitive to the sun and lead to easy sunburn. Don’t use tanning beds.

  • Don't touch your face with your hands. This can lead to acne flares.

  • Shampoo regularly, especially if you have oily hair.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2020
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