Helping Your Teenager Fight Acne

Acne is a medical concern that seems to affect thousands of teenagers and can do more damage physically and emotionally than many parents tend to realize. Teenagers already feel as if everyone is watching them, but with acne, their self-conscious behavior worsens. Acne has many alternative treatments and is the most universally-known skin disease. Therefore, it is important to remind teenagers that they are not alone in their fight against acne and that it can be treated.


  • Don’t encourage your teenager to pick pimples, especially around inflamed areas: Picking your face will cause an infected area to become more irritated. Picking may release the pressure off the pimple and cause the blackhead or whitehead to temporarily go away, but dirt will also be forced into deeper levels of the skin. 

  • Don’t make the acne the focus of your concern: Be aware of your teenager’s concerns regarding the acne, but do not make it the central topic of your conversations with your teenager. Continue to notice her accomplishments and engage in meaningful discussion with her. Do not become overly concerned.

  • Don’t treat your teenager’s acne as a character flaw: Your teenager’s acne is not a characteristic and should not be treated as one. Do not associate his acne as an unfortunate attribute, but treat it as a temporary problem that will eventually go away.


  • Encourage good diet and skin-care habits: Eating a clean diet can help with skin conditions, and it's important to keep skin clean and moisturized. 

  • Over-the-counter creams will cut back on oil build-up: “Over-the-counter preparations containing benzoyl peroxide, applied each night, can prevent oil from building up overnight and reduce the number of blackheads or whiteheads. Benzoyl peroxide creams do not work quickly; to be effective, they must be used steadily” (Steinberg and Levine, You and Your Adolescent).

  • If the case is severe enough, take your teenager to a dermatologist: The dermatologist is the only one who can prescribe medication strong enough to treat a severe case of acne. Before accepting a prescription, make sure that you are aware of any known side effects and that you understand the proper procedure that should be used in its daily use.

  • Remain positive with your teenager: Your child’s emotional scars may be even more severe than his physical ones. Continually remind your teenager of the importance of his self-confidence, and encourage him to focus his efforts into worthwhile clubs and organizations. It is also important to compliment your teenager as much as possible so that he still feels accepted.