Treating Teenage Acne: A Complete Guide

Treating Teenage Acne: A Complete Guide

Acne is the most common skin condition that people experience worldwide. Research estimates that most people are affected by some form of acne during the course of their lives, and 80% of the population between the ages of 11 to 30 will have at least a mild version of it. Although acne is more common among teenagers and young adults experiencing hormonal changes, many people in their 20s, 30s and beyond continue to struggle with acne, and, in some cases, people develop acne for the first time as adults. Let’s understand more about acne, its common occurrence in teens and the best skincare treatment for teenage acne.

In This Article

    What is acne?

    Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples. Your skin has tiny pores that blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt. When this occurs, you may develop a pimple, also called a zit or blemish. If you get pimples often, especially several at once repeatedly, you may have acne. Typically the pimples and bumps heal slowly, and when one begins to go away, new ones will crop up. Although acne doesn’t pose a serious risk to your health, depending on its severity, it can cause emotional distress and scarring. However, acne is very treatable, there are a number of effective treatments that can help reduce the density pimples and reduce the chances of scarring.

    What is teenage acne?

    Almost all teens get acne once in their and can appear on the face, neck, shoulders, back and chest. This happens when the sebaceous glands concentrated in these areas of the body make sebum, the oil that lubricates and protects your hair and skin. The amount of sebum produced is primarily influenced by certain hormones in your body, such as testosterone. Though acne is determined by our genetics and family history, it’s usually triggered by the hormonal changes caused by puberty. Pores can become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells, which leads to increased levels of certain bacteria in your skin. This bacteria is typically harmless and helps ward off other more harmful bacteria, at higher levels, however, they can cause irritation and inflammation.

    Why is acne more common among teenagers, and how long does it last?

    Teenage acne is so prolific that it’s considered to be a normal side effect of puberty. The reason why acne is more common among teenagers is that your skin is affected by the hormones that are circulating in your body. Significant changes that occur during adolescence is linked to these hormones, including the changes in your skin, and the main culprit is testosterone.

    Testosterone is the male hormone that we all produce to a certain extent in our bodies, and the amount of testosterone produced increases during puberty, particularly for boys. This is why acne is more common in teenage boys than in girls. The boost in testosterone levels makes the oil glands in your skin grow bigger leading to an increased production of sebum which blocks the pores in your skin. When the oil gets trapped inside, it can attract bacteria that can trigger acne breakouts.

    Teenage acne can last anywhere between 5 to 10 years (without treatment) usually disappearing by your early 20s. While everyone experiences hormonal changes during puberty, the severity of your acne and how long it will last can vary based various factors such as differences in testosterone levels, the way your skin responds to acne breakouts, your genetics, types of bacteria present on your skin, certain medications and the amount of stress you’re feeling.

    How to avoid or reduce or control teenage acne?

    Changing the way you interact with your skin and understanding what it needs is the best way to avoid or reduce or control acne breakouts. To prevent or treat acne, the first step is to build a good skin care routine that is gentle on your skin. You can start by keeping your skin clean, washing your face and neck twice a day with mild soap and warm water this helps remove excess surface oils and dead skin cells that clog your pores but never scrub your face as this can irritate your skin and worsen your acne.

    Remember to wash your face and other acne-prone areas as soon as possible after exercising or after stepping out on a hot day as the sweat can clog your pores and make your acne worse. When picking out skin care products for yourself, look out for lotions or makeup that are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic, as they won't clog pores. There are some over the counter acne treatment products that include Benzoyl, Adalene, and Salicylic acid are able to kill bacteria on your skin and help reduce breakouts of bacteria-based acne, while also helping with skin cell regeneration without including oils.

    If incase you do use hair products such as hair spray or styling gel, it is recommended that you try to keep them away from your face and use water-based products as the oil in these products can make your acne worse. Another way to prevent spots from appearing on areas such as your chest or back is by avoiding pressure or friction against your skin as this can cause irritation. Acne often appears under collars, helmets, or backpacks, or in areas where we lean on our skin, try wearing breathable and comfortable fabrics, avoid wearing tight clothing and have protective material before you wear a helmet or cap.

    Lastly, picking at your acne spots or squeezing them should be completely avoided, as tempting as it may be it would only worsen the irritation on your skin and spread the infection further. While all these tips are a great start to managing your acne, you must understand the severity of your acne.

    What is the best skincare treatment for teenage acne?

    Acne, while completely treatable, can be persistent and will take much longer to clear and heal without the proper care and treatment. And the first step in treating acne is speaking to your dermatologist and understanding the severity of your acne, whether it is mild (a few occasional pimples), moderate (inflammatory papules) or severe (nodules and cysts) and working with them to figure out the best course of treatments.

    If you are looking for the best product to help you with your acne, we recommend you try the SkinQ’s Acne & Oil Control Wonder Mask, India’s first dermatologist formulated active skincare. A study was conducted by Mascot Labs in September 2022, to test the effectiveness of SkinQ’s Acne & Oil Control Wonder Mask on 36 participants both male and female between 18 to 30 years with acne and oily/combination skin types with 3 applications over 3 days for 15 mins each.

    It was found that 72% of the participants saw instantly reduced sebum (oil) content in skin and continued reduction even after 24 hours. More than half of the participants saw a decrease in size of acne pustules and redness, reduction in blackheads and whiteheads, and an overall reduction of acne breakouts. Lastly, all the participants of the study reported visible reduction in pore sizes and that the product is gentle on the skin.


    While acne can be a difficult skin condition to deal with that may cause a lot of emotional distress, social anxiety and loss of confidence, please know that you are not alone in this, it is absolutely treatable, and with the right care you too can be acne-free.

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