How to Get Rid of Teenage Acne
Our teenage years can be tough, as anyone who’s made it through will tell you. Surging hormones, exams, starting college or university are all part and parcel. All the new found freedoms and exploring who we are, our sexuality, new relationships, what we want and how we’re going to get there are all difficult enough.
Often, coupled with all these new, unknown and interesting (sometimes daunting and frightening) thoughts, experiences and feelings, come changes in our bodies that can really send us off kilter.
Puberty means that we develop hair where we’ve never had it before. We might perhaps develop a different voice and we’ll see changes in parts of our bodies we’d barely even noticed were there before.
For some, these bodily changes also mean changes in our skin, which can signal the start of many years of struggles with acne spots and breakouts.
So what is teenage acne and is there anything we can do about it? Is there a best acne treatment for teens? Let's find out.
What Causes Teenage Acne?
Teenage acne is usually caused by the surges in hormones that we all experience as we go through puberty. These surges are responsible for all the changes we experience at this time in our lives including changes in our skin.
In both teenage males and females, it’s all down to hormones called androgens. These are male hormones, but they’re also present in the bodies of females, to a much lesser extent.
Either way, during puberty, levels of these androgen hormones increase, which stimulates the production of sebum. Sebum is a substance that’s naturally produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It’s a wax like, oily substance that keeps the skin nourished, supple and hydrated.
However, when sebum is produced in excess, it can clog the pores, trapping in dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria which can then lead to the formation of acne spots.
Other factors can also contribute to teenage acne, including genetic factors (if either or both parents experienced teenage acne, then you’re more likely to also suffer). The use of heavy, oily, pore blocking skincare products and makeup may also contribute to congested skin. (Always opt for non pore blocking or non comedogenic products.)
What Teen Acne Treatments Are Available?
Just like our thoughts and feelings can be when we’re going through our teenage years, often we’re not in control of the way our skin behaves when we’re teenagers. Those hormone surges are just too difficult to predict and manage. Meaning teen acne treatments can be tricky - but not impossible.
There are some things we can do to help prevent acne. For all of us, using the right skincare designed to support acne prone and oily skin types will help to support the health of the skin. Our alkalising skin care products are specifically designed for that purpose.
We can all also benefit from using a gentle exfoliating product such as salicylic acid, a type of fruit acid. Salicylic acid gently removes the top layers of skin, helping to rid the skin of dead skin cells and dirt, and unclogging the pores.
An accumulation of dirt, oil, dead skin cells and skin bacteria can lead to clogged pores and acne spots.
Probiotic supplements can be useful for helping to manage teenage acne. Probiotics are the good bacteria that reside in our guts, helping to keep our immune system strong and our overall health in good condition.
Our probiotic gut bacteria (collectively known as our microbiome) can also help to support healthy skin, especially if we’re taking antibiotics to help control our acne.
Antibiotics can help to control the skin bacteria that can cause acne, but they can also kill off the beneficial bacteria. Taking a probiotic supplement can, therefore, help to top up our levels of these friendly bacteria and help to support the skin.
Retinol and Retinoids
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and can help to make the skin appear younger (it’s often found in anti ageing skincare products).
Retinoids, on the other hand, can be useful in treating acne scarring and areas of skin hyperpigmentation.
They’re best used by skincare professionals who can advise you further on how they might benefit your skin. They can also be prescribed by healthcare professionals as gels and creams that help to unclog blocked pores that can lead to teenage acne spots.
Best Acne Treatment for Teens
Here at Sönd, we advocate for a holistic approach to skin care, using skin supporting skincare products, eating a healthy balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercise and avoiding stress where possible.
But there are times when this isn’t quite enough, and other options may need to be considered that may involve speaking to your pharmacist or GP. The best acne treatment for teens will however, depend on your skin and personal circumstances.
How to Treat Teenage Acne
As we mentioned above, antibiotics can be useful in treating teenage acne in both females and males and are available as either oral tablets or as topical creams and ointments.
Teenage, and other types of acne, is often caused by an overgrowth of a normal skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. When this bacterium colonises the skin, it can infect the pores that can already be blocked by excess sebum and cause acne breakouts.
Antibiotics help to kill this bacterium and help to clear up acne, but often, antibiotic oral tablets or topical creams will need to be used long term in order to keep the bacteria from over colonising the skin. Your GP or skin specialist can give you more information when considering how to treat teenage acne.
Teenage girls also have another option for helping to clear up their acne, and that’s taking the oral contraceptive pill. This will also work to help prevent pregnancy if you’re sexually active.
The oral contraceptive pill works by helping to regulate the hormones that can be responsible for teenage acne, and will also help to regulate irregular periods. Your GP can prescribe the pill for you, and give you more information. You may need parental consent if you’re below the age of 16.
Skincare Tips for Managing Acne Breakouts
As well as using the right skincare for your skin type (see more on this in the section below), and following the advice given here, there are also some skincare tips that may help you manage your acne prone skin…
- Wash your face twice a day to remove makeup, dirt, bacteria, oil, sweat and environmental pollutants using a gentle cream cleanser
- Always use oil free skincare products and makeup
- Try to avoid touching your face as this can transfer oil and dirt, and keep anything that does touch your face clean, such as glasses, sunglasses and face coverings
- If you shave your face, make sure you use a sharp, clean razor and warm, not hot, water
- Keep your hair brushed , styled or clipped back from your face as much as possible, especially if it’s oily or you use oily hair care products
- Allow your skin to breathe by avoiding wearing caps, hats and headbands as much as possible
- Avoid exposing your skin to the sun for long periods of time as this can cause irritation which can make acne prone skin worse
- Try to avoid being in hot, humid, sweaty environments, and if you do, such as at the gym, wash your face as soon as possible afterwards to remove sweat from your pores
- Don't be tempted to pop any spots or pick at your skin - this will ultimately cause scarring and could cause your skin to appear more red and inflamed
Routine Skincare and Teenage Acne Treatment
We’re not here to just sell you our skincare products - we generally care about the health of people’s skin, not least because we’re acne sufferers ourselves. Teenage acne treatment is top of our list of priorities because we know how it can affect your confidence.
That’s why we developed our range of skincare products made from plant botanicals and alkalising silica salts that help to nourish and support non conformist skin types.
You just need to read our testimonials to hear how they can improve the skin of those with stressful skin conditions such as acne, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
If you’re reading this as a teenager who perhaps isn’t earning your own money yet, or you’re cautious of what you spend your money on, you could try our Discovery Trio which includes a generously sized sample pot of our cleanser, day cream and night cream. That way you can trial our products without committing. Also, if you sign up to subscribe to our products on a monthly basis, you’ll receive this sample trio for free.
We’ve been there with acne prone skin and we totally understand what it’s like to not love the skin you’re in, teenage acne treatment is no different.
But we promise, our products transform the lives of people with skin just like yours, so don’t suffer in silence. Try our products and see how they can transform your skin.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.