30 answers

13-Year Old Boy with Blackheads- Need Suggestions for Getting Rid of Them

My 13 year old has a heavy concentration of blackheads with some pimples on his temples, nose and forehead. He has used some over-the counter products, washes his face twice a day, doesn't eat alot of junk/fried foods. What products/routines have successfully worked for your children? Is it time to see a dermatologist?

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This problem is so awful... I suggest that you get a facial steamer, and show him how to steam open his pores and squeeze the blackheads out without scarring himself. The pimples will probably come and go regardless of what he does.

1 mom found this helpful

A dermatologist is probably overkill.

You could treat him to the "Gentleman's Facial" at Argania Salon. ###-###-####. Miriam (the owner, and mother of a teen) would steam his face and then clean all of that out for him. I've sent my husband (a manly man) for this treatment. He looked great with all of those pores cleaned out!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.. First, the soap may be exacerbating the problem, depending on what it is. There are some great options: Cetaphil if you want to go the medical route, or I use a really great Castille soap called Desert Essence with tea tree oil and awapuhi, but the key is to rinse it ALL off. I know I haven't rinsed well when I get something popping up on the edge of my face. I also use a Neutrogena brand Salicilic acid/Vitamin A cream that works great. IT's also important not to overdo it. Washing at night, and then applying the cream is probably enough. If you wash too much you overdry the skin and then it overcompensates with massive sebum production. Also eating sugar can cause breakouts, I don't know if that's an issue. Good luck! I know it can be frustrating!

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This problem is so awful... I suggest that you get a facial steamer, and show him how to steam open his pores and squeeze the blackheads out without scarring himself. The pimples will probably come and go regardless of what he does.

1 mom found this helpful

I highly recommend Unblemish by Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields. They are two of the most highly recognized dermatologists in the industry. Unblemsih is a mixture of medicines and soothing botanicals to calm skin and work from the inside out to reduce outbreaks. I recommended it to my nephew and he has been very happy with the results. Not alot of work is involved so these young boys can keep up with it. Check out
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This product was awarded best acne treatment by Allure Magazine’s Best of Beauty two years in a row
You can try it for 60 days risk free, the doctors are so sure that you will be satisfied they offer a full refund if you are not.

1 mom found this helpful

A dermatologist is probably overkill.

You could treat him to the "Gentleman's Facial" at Argania Salon. ###-###-####. Miriam (the owner, and mother of a teen) would steam his face and then clean all of that out for him. I've sent my husband (a manly man) for this treatment. He looked great with all of those pores cleaned out!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like he's already on the right track with a daily skincare regime as well as decent diet. You said he washes his face twice a day, but does he use a good moisturizer? Believe it or not, acne can be exacerbated by his skin being too dry. Mary Kay has a great line targeted specifically for teens and acne-prone adults with sensitive skin called Velocity. There's a face wash and a moisturizer, and at his age, that should be all he needs. However, what works for one may not work for another, so I suggest you try several different lines, including Mary Kay's Velocity, Neutrogena, etc, then stick with what works... even if it's a cheaper product you can find on a Walgreen's shelf. If you'd like to try Mary Kay, just email me at ____@____.com, and we'll see about getting you some samples to try. Good luck!!

Although I don't have blackheads, I get AWFUL huge cyst like pimples with 3-4 whiteheads in one big pimple! It's so horrible to my self esteem I can imagine how your son must feel. What do I use? Proactive! I've been using it for some time now and it works WONDERS! And although they say to use it day and night, I only use it in the morning. But for your son start by once in the morning and once at night. I know it's expensive, but you only have to use a tiny bit of the product each washing. I quit using it recently to try something different and I went back immediately because I got poor results from the other product.
Good luck!!!

The black in a blackhead is dirt. That is not to say he just needs to wash his face more. Over washing causes more oil, causing more breakouts. If you watch him, you may notice that he touches those areas (temples, nose, forehead)quite alot. He should stick to washing his face twice a day with something mild, but he should be washing his hands much more often. Hands carry all kinds of dirt and bacteria, especially teenage boy hands! (Sorry guys, but it's true!)

Another thing that worked for my girls is to start using a light moisturizer. I know this sounds like the last thing he needs, but washing strips all the natural oils from skin and if he doesn't replace it, his skin will compensate by producing even more oil.

My girls use skincare products from AVON's Mark line. They both like That's Deep cleanser. My 14 year old uses See Things Clearly moisturizer, but my 12 year old prefers For Goodness Face (which also has the benefit of SPF 30). Any AVON/Mark rep can get you samples. If you don't have anyone near you, send me a message and I will get samples to you. These are very popular, so I usually have samples on hand. If he likes them, you can order online with direct delivery, anytime at www.youravon.com/jselden

Remind him that washing his hands is just as important as washing his face when it comes to combatting breakouts! :o)

two really simple things you can try for blackheads are

1. a clay mask a couple times a week - draws out impurities and sometimes even the blackhead itself;

2. increase water intake by a few cups a day.

good luck!

Try a black tar soap- I think Burt's Bee's makes one for men. You can get it at Target. I would be very careful about dermatological medication. I started to get acne around that age as well as my sisters, and everything we tried from Proactiv to pills didn't do us much good. You can try Proactiv. It's only $20. I would suggest a skin care that allows for exfoliation (and maybe some of those biore strips to clean out his pores on his nose once in a while) but also treats the skin delicately- keeps it moisturized (oil free!). I have been using what I call old lady cream since I was 12, and would never do it any differently. Men need similar skin care, especially when their hormones kick in. Also make sure he eats plenty of fruits and veggies and drinks alot of water. It is great he doesn't eat alot of junk. His hormones are out of control and that will cause his acne to flare, but at least it is only blackheads and not those really deep purplish pimples. I really believe a little exfoliation and some of those strips will help.
I hope this helps
-E. Mc

My nephews use Neutrogena's Blackhead Eliminating Foaming Pads (Walmart). They have tried a number of things and that seems to do the trick. I think I facial would be a good idea to get a good deep cleaning. When it comes to acne, scaring is always a concern.

I think after trying the facial and trying to maintain the cleaning regiment. If that doesn't work, the dermatologist is the way to go.

Yea, the joys of teens! Stay away from the dermatologist - they are going to prescribe antibiotics, which in time will diminish the immune system. I suggest taking him to a skin care specialist. If you are in the elk grove or south sac area, try skin care by carol. If you are in the central part of sacramento, try Cezanne skin spa. Great people at both places and they will give him information as well as good product.
Good luck!
M. S

Dear L.,
I have a 13 year old son as well. Fortunately, we haven't had too much trouble with his skin. At least not yet.
The main thing is to be very careful not to over-dry his skin. It will actually produce more oil and it just becomes a vicious cycle. Also, make sure he never touches his face (except to wash it, etc) because he can transfer bacteria from his hands to his face. Good old fashioned Witch Hazel is a great astringent. We use it on a cotton ball for everything from pimples to bug bites. It's mild and doesn't sting. You can get a bottle of it at Walgreens for about a dollar. Strangely enough, rubbing some vitamin E oil on a pimple that's "upset" will help heal it and keep it from scarring.
Being a teenage boy, he may not be thrilled by the idea, but take him to get a facial. They can cleanse his skin without irritating the areas where he's broken out and they can remove the blackheads. They have a little tool that they use and it doesn't damage the surrounding skin. That way, he can start with a clean slate, so to speak.
I hope you'll find what works for him to keep his skin clear. What works for one person may not work for another. Just don't try too many things all at once.

Best of wishes!

The only real cure for a 13-year-old's pimples is probably time. You can use different products, whether over the counter or prescription from the dermatologist, but the real cause is most likely the hormone swings of puberty. When the hormones settle down, so will the blackheads. It's just like pregnancy--certain problems are caused by hormones & all you really can do is ride them out.

LOL at chauffeur - me too.

My daughter's doctore prescribed a topical antibiotic to deal with the bacteria that can cause the problem. It has helped my duaghter's skin quite a bit.

I am a licensed Aesthetician and have had blackheads my entire life. Black heads are most have said do not ever really go away but can be reduced by exfoliation. The mentioned below about not drying out the skin it produces more oil is actually true, when you dry your your skin the surface sends a message to your sebaceous glands, "Help we're dry send more moisture" thus producing more oil. People with oil or combo skin need a light moisturizer and need to wash twice a day, night time being the most important from all the toxins in the air, pullution, dust, etc..you don't want that ground into your skin from your pillow at night.

My solution:
#1-Clean twice a day
#2- Use a gentle exfoliant such as glycolic, NO scrubs!
#3- after cleaning and exfoliating, extract the black heads.
#4 if there is other acne present though this wasn't taught to me in school, go to a Dermatologist becuase the sooner they are given a topical like Retin-A and minimize the size of pores the sooner you stop future scaring.

You can scar for life from acne and i have a couple tiny ones. They tend to get worse with age as we lose collagen in our skin they become more pronounced.

Really starting skin care and even a facial to get him on the right path is a great start. I use a number of different products but i am sure you don't want to spend the money on a teen ager. They now sell Dermalogica at Beauty Supplies and they are an excellent over the counter brand to use!!! REally my dad had Cystic Acne (deep ice pick scaring, and huge boil type zits) and my early use of Dermalogica prevented much of that happening to me.

Email me if you need any more specifics, i kind of know what i am talking about.

Try Pro-Active. It's the greatest acne product around. I know of several people that have used it and it works great!

Our doctor told us to use the face cleanser called Purpose, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Target all sell it. It works better than anything else we've tried. If his acne gets worse talk to your doctor about some prescription creams, they work pretty well, and get a referral to a dermatologist for the best results. Acne doesn't seem like a big deal but it is to a teenager. Good luck!

I have not read all of your posts, but I suffered from acne and found that all of the products EXTREMELY dried out my face AND my acne. I also went to a Dermatologist and it was successful, but too many antibiotics and an immunity to them later in life.

I wanted a different approach for my kids. My son is 12 and has acne and blackheads around the hair line as well. Black heads are on the nose. We used Tea Tree Oil around the hairline, and found it successful. So much so that he asked for it again a few weeks later when an outbreak was getting bad. I got it at Rite Aid.

Regular face washing and a light moisturizer (maybe a baby lotion or organic/natural product) works wonders, too.

Good Luck!

Mom of 4: 19, 12, 7 and 7mos

Hi L. C!

ProActive is an amazing line of products for acne. Long before I became a doctor of psychology, I was a licensed esthetician. You need to make sure that whatever he puts on his face is lanolin and isopropyl myristate free. Even some acne creams will have comedogenic ingredients, which is truly odd.

At 13, so much is going on in your son's body. Acne is a normal result from all the hormonal changes. If he is botherd by his looks, and OTC products aren't helping it would be good to check in with a doctor. Please use care in deciding how to treat his acne. Some acne meds that one takes in pill form, are very potent, serious meds. Make sure you know exactly what he is being treated with, and what are possible side effects. I wish you both the best. Zits are no fun!

My first suggestion would be to take him to a Dermatolgist they will recommend the best over the counter wash or give him a prescription. I use proactive and love it - another thing he might try is to take 2 showers a day. A lot of times the oil from hair gets to the face and casues blackheads etc and the steam in the shower can help open the poores so the face wash can get that seebum layer off. If you do try proactive make sure and use the reapiring lotion AND one of the moisturisers they have - or else the skin will get to dry and you will have more problems.

Jafra's Malibu Miracle Mask works miracles on acne. I've personally seen it clear up scarred, black and white head infested skin, as well as "plateaus" formed by pools of sebum under the skin (this was on a college student who had been on Pro Active for 6 months). This product works better than anything short of prescription meds. I've used it successfully on all 3 of my boys when they hit their teens and developed breakout issues and I have over a dozen clients who now use it themselves or on their teens. I would not suggest "squeezing" anything. That can lead to scarring and is not recommended by most physicians. A blackhead is nothing more than a whitehead with dirt in it, so proper cleansing is very important. While it works extremely well on its own, I recommend getting your son on a daily skin care regimen (if he's not already)to maintain healthy clear skin. Malibu is $15 and Jafra teen products are $27 (cleanser, toner, moisturizer). I love Jafra products so much, I became a consultant in 1994. Email me directly if you are interested or want more information at ____@____.com.

L., I don't know why other responders don't recommend seeing a dermatologist. Really, I think you should take him in right away. Some people get really bad acne and the earlier the dermatologist can diagnose it, the earlier it gets under control. My son has been using acne medication for 12 years now, and he rarely has the big breakouts anymore. Take care, E.

L.,
Here is what our dr. recomended.
1. Wash your face with an antibacterial soap once a day,
in the sink with cool water (pm)
2. Wash your face the second time with a mild soap in the sink with cool water. (am)
3. change the pillow case once a week or more
4. Wearing hats will make it worse.
5. use an oil free moisturizer at least once a day
6. use acne treatment medication (over the counter) only once per day. We prefer the salacylic acid treatments.
I hope this helps clear him up.
W. M.

Hi L.,
My son also had acne as a teen and we tried everything. We decided that just plain old witch hazel worked the best, you can find it at any pharmacy store, like Longs, RiteAide ect. I really think he had to grow out of it. He is now almost 20 and his face is just now clear, and started clearing up about 8 months ago. He did have to go through the embarrassement, but there were lots of his friends that had the same problem and again I say, they just grow out of it. I wish your son the best.

Zap-It Acne Treatment System from Melaleuca. Email me for info on how to get this and other products directly from the manufacturer, or visit my website for information. www.SwitchingStores.info or www.HealthyFamilyBiz.com

I haven't read all the other posts, but you should try
Zap-It! from Melaleuca, it is 4 step system that only cost $16.96. Teenagers and adults both love it! they have a 60 day challenge. try it for 60 and if you aren't satisfied with tresults you can get a refund, credit or exchange.

The proven 4-step Zap-it! Acne Defense System is the only acne-fighting to combine pore cleansing, bacteria-fighting salicylic acid to clear awasy exisiting acne and fight future breakouts, and Melaleuca Oil to soothe the skin.

You can buy the 4 products seperatly but you svae $5.80 if you buy them together. Let me know if you have any questions, i'd be happy to help you out. Hoe that helps! good luck
S.

we had a lot of luck using the biore pore strips to help get rid of the blackheads. Have you looked into ProActive? it works, as well as Murad (www.murad.com, also available at Sephora).

I also heard that if you are contantly changing cleansers, it can actually "confuse" your skin and cause more breakouts.

Good luck!

Hi L. -

I haven't read every response, but wow do we all have a lot of experience with this topic!! :-)

For me, I solved my blackhead problem by using a facial steamer 2-3 times a week, and washing my face last thing before going to bed (and using good night-time products appropriate for my skin). As the aestheticians who have responded have noted, the skin breathes at night, and if there's 'stuff' on the surface from the wind, car fumes, air conditioners, food (even juice), etc., it's all going to sink deepr in to the skin if it's not removed at night.

I use the Kaz steamer, it was about $25 on Amazon - there are others but after reading the reviews on Amazon, I chose this tried-and-true model. And wow am I happy with it. Every once in a while I'll get a blackhead that must be extracted, but really now it's non-issue for me. And my skin is sooooo soft! I do not look 43!

I have a 14 year old daughter and her pediatrician as well as a dermatologist on TV told her to leave her cleansing gel (Neutrogena acne face wash with salicylic acid) on for two minutes while showering before washing it off. They said that the sebum layer needs to be reached to get rid of the blackhead dirt and a quick wash won't do it. Our pediatrician also gave my daughter some topical things to try before going prescription. Of the three samples she has tried, the NEO BENZ Micro (benzoyl peroxide cream 3.5%) and the DUAC Topical Gel (clindamycin, 1% and benzoyl peroxide 5% ) have helped the most. I also have her change her pillowcases every other day to keep the oils from transferring back and forth. I have noticed an improvement of her complexion since the doctor's visit a month ago.

Hi L.. First, the soap may be exacerbating the problem, depending on what it is. There are some great options: Cetaphil if you want to go the medical route, or I use a really great Castille soap called Desert Essence with tea tree oil and awapuhi, but the key is to rinse it ALL off. I know I haven't rinsed well when I get something popping up on the edge of my face. I also use a Neutrogena brand Salicilic acid/Vitamin A cream that works great. IT's also important not to overdo it. Washing at night, and then applying the cream is probably enough. If you wash too much you overdry the skin and then it overcompensates with massive sebum production. Also eating sugar can cause breakouts, I don't know if that's an issue. Good luck! I know it can be frustrating!

Hello Lee-AnnC: Yes it is time to see the doctor!! One thing that we were advised to do for our son was to have him use Peroxide after cleaning his face. This is very hard on a young man with the teasing they face. Please don't waste your money on the products that say " put this suction product on your face and it will suck the blackheads and the pimples out ", all they did was bruise my son's face and cost him money.
To address your second issue of" being the family chauffeur" this to will pass and you will be amazed by how much your family appreciated what you did for them. We spent so much time in our full size van that my husband installed a table for a cutting board and a great ice chest so that I could do dinner prep while I spent hours at baseball, wrestling, cross country, music, and dance practices. My children really laughed when we started decorating the van for holidays since we spent so much time in the van. I think the last straw was when I asked for an ironing board and portable iron for the van for Christmas one year. But my 5 children have great stories to tell and wonderful memories that we share now. So I hope you can survive the great adventue of parenthood and know it is all worth it: Nana G

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