65 answers

Help for My Teen-age Son with Bad Acne

My son is 15 1/2 and has broken out with a very bad case of acne. We were using pro-active but his face starting getting severly dry. I also started using the acne treatment from Avon, that one makes his face burn really bad. I want advice on a more natural solution. My son is already starting to get a complex about his acne. I am just afraid he is going to scar before I find the right cure. Please help me!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi E.,
Take him to a really good dermatologist fast. I had severe acne as a teeneager, and my parents did nothing. Now at 44, I have terrible acne scars. I hate to look at myself in the mirror to this day. Don't let the acne scar him, because the scars don't just stay on his face. They end up scarring his self esteem. People, and other kids, are really mean about acne and acne scars. I still hear comments from adults about my face.


I have two suggestions for you. One is xango it is a very potent health drink that when you drink helps the acne from the inside out and them you either make a paste or just put the juice on a cotton ball on the affected areas. It has worked really well for a lot of people. The other is a company called sensaria. I have a friend who become a rep just because one of their products has taken away her acne. If you would like for info. please contact me and I can give you more information.

I help teens clear their acne by taking a closer look at their diet and putting them on a detox program that cleanses the system from the inside, cleanses the the blood and helps prevent break-outs. My website also carries a homeopathic product called ACNE that has worked well for teens.

M. Wright
Certified Herbalist

More Answers


I had terrible acne as a teenage too. Luckily, my family doctor caught it before it got too bad and left scars. I know thre are many skin medications out there that will help w/ acne. See you family doctor he can help. Also, I know that tanning beds and the sun can help too. I would see my doctor first though. I believe I used a cream prescribed by my doctor called T-stat. That is going way back, so I am sure they have better medications now. Good Luck!

i agree that a good dermatologist can help. in addition to topicals, the dr can do light therapy, chemical peels, & oral meds. i use bryan schultz in oak park.

you need to take him to a dermatologist

I am not sure where you live but I highly recommend my dermatologist. She will give him antibiotics that are specifically for acne with Retin A cream (at least that is what she prescribed for me.) My face is very clear now and I still go to her for other things she might recommend to keep my skin clear. Her name is Dr. Dillig in Hinsdale she also has an office in St. Charles. The number to Hinsdale is ###-###-####.

First things first: Go to a good dermatologist. Mine is Deborah Beaird in Hoffman Estates at Northwest Dermatology. I highly recommend her. I had cystic acne starting in high school. I could cover it up pretty well as I had make-up - something boys can't use. So they can't cover it up. I also did every treatment under the sun, including dietary restrictions -- I tried from the outside in and inside out and NOTHING worked. Three years ago (at age 42) I finally broke down and went on Accutane. It's not recommended for child-bearing-age women because it can cause birth defects. But I had just had a hysterectomy so no problem there. Yes, there are scary side effects and maybe even some unknowns, but I am acne free now for three years and it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. So, having said all that, I would find a good dermatologist who can tell you what kind of acne he has, and get him some good help for it. Try things, see what works, and use accutane as a last resort. I had two dermatologist tell me that pro-active was not good for your skin and one of them was my friend, not someone trying to make money off of me, so be careful about topical things he uses on his face. It might make things worse. (I used that too, and like I said, NOTHING worked for me.) Good luck! Acne is NO FUN!

I have a seventeen year old daughter who is going thru the same thing. We went to the dermatologist he prescibed Differen, plexon wipes and one other medication that I can't recall the name of right now. She used the medication dilegently for six weeks, nothing changed. We we back to the dermatologist and he told us that he thought things were proressing nicely in that she had no sign of an increased breakout. I'm not feeling like it's worth going back to the dermatologist to pay another co-pay and get new meds. So we have decided to try Proactive. I do know that it is very drying and arleardy warned my daughter about moisturing so we'll see what happens. Try reading one of Nicaulaus Perricone's books on the skin, however it may be difficutl to get a teenager to follow his guidelines.

Sorry, I couldn't be more helpful.

Hi E.,

I have had severe acne since I was 10 years old (I'm now 36). My best advice to you would be find a good dermatologist. Pro Active is usually a very good way to cure acne without a prescription and if it is not helpful then I think that he might be better off going to the dr before the scarring starts. I understand that you would prefer to handle this naturally, but as an acne sufferer I can tell you that there is not a lot out there for severe acne. I really wish that my mom had taken me to the dermatologost when I was a teenager but in my family you only went to the dr when you were sick. Sorry I couldn't give you more help!

I would recommend seeing a dermatologist. Retin-A has been a miracle for me. I also saw an ad the other day about a product by Clean & Clear. According to the ad, it's better than Pro-Activ. Here is the link.


I would definitely get him in to a dermatologist. Pro-active and other over the counter meds will not work on true acne... they may help with an occassional pimple, but real acne requires a more effective medication. They can give your son a stronger topical, like Differin, and will probably prescribe an oral antibiotic or oral vitamin supplement. My son is responding well to the vitamin. They will also recommend a good soap. I buy my son's cleanser right there at the office. He had been using Cetaphil, which is a great gentle cleanser, but they bumped him up to a stronger one recently, and it seems to really be helping. Glycolic peels are another option... he would still use the topical and take his oral med, but for a real deep clean and to help prevent scarring he could also do an occasional peel... which they probably offer in the dermatologists office, but is considered "cosmetic" and probably not covered by insurance. Acne can be really difficult to control, and not all kids will "grow out of it", so I would get him to a dermatologist before it gets worse and harder to manage.

Hi! My son is 15 and he struggles with acne also. The latest product that we have tried is the All Clear program made by Beauty Control. It works (when he uses it daily) but it has also left him a little dry. He freaked out when I suggested he use my moisturizer (it made me giggle). Good luck!

I would take him to a dermatologist. If tyou are in the south suburbs, I used to see Dr. Signore in Tinley Park. he is wonderful. In the city I see Dr. Horn and him and his wife are both great. I use benzyl peroxide wash and cream at night(both prescribed). It works wonders. During times of stress, he will also prescrive some pills, but I haven't taken those in awhile. Also tell him to moisturize everyday. My dermatologist recomended cetaphil with spf...i got it at cvs for about $15. Good luck!

Try tanning. You can purchase a face tanner that doesn't cost very much. Or go to a tanning place. He doesn't have to tan much. It will dry up his acne and he will enjoy the tan!

I would strongly suggest making an appointment with a dermatologist. My now 20 yo son had severe problems with acne in high school (he played a lot of sports). The dermatologist was able to prescribe medication that was able to clear it up. We tried proactive also and it did not work for him either.

Wow there are alot of responses on here for many different things! I do see a dermatolgist too for my acne, but they will prescribe antibiotics for acne too like minocycline along with creams and face washes, but I do not want to take the antiobiotics as they can cause birth control to not be 100% effective, so I asked my doctor for something else, she suggested I try taking a vitamin called niacinamide 500mg. I started taking these and they work great! Take 2 a day, once in the morning and 1 at night. These are only available at heath food stores, like the one in Flossmoor, IL Sunrise Healthfoods for only $7.99 for 100 pills. This could be the more natural solution you are looking for, I would suggest these vitamins along with some face wash too. Ps I have no side effects from these either. You could ask your local pharmacy to order these too, I am sure they can but you wont find them on the shelves at Wal-mart or Walgreens.

Good luck! Hope they work out for your son.

S. D.
Mom of 16 year old daughter.

I would advise you to stick with one line of products so you don't overdo one ingredient and not enough of another.
I recommend using *a gentle cleanser(Mary Kay Velocity is what I suggest)and *a toner only once a day in the begining(Mary Kay Blemish Control Toner 3)and increasing to twice a day if your son's skin can handle it *an on the spot acne treatment(Mary Kay Acne Treatment Gel)Give it a good 8 weeks for optimal results. Nothing is an instant overnight cure, but it will get better. Avoid facial scrubs at all costs because this will be too abrasive to the already sensitive skin and could lead to scarring.
If your toner has benzolyl peroxide, make sure your on the spot acne treatment has salicylic acid or vice versa.

I have two teenage step sons who both have trouble with acne. My husband took them to an dermatologist because nothing we tried worked, Avon,Stridex,Pro-Active, etc. He said its because of one ingredient. That these products all contain that don't work on teenage acne. The only acne medicine that works is one that contains the ingredient that does work on teens is Benzoyl Perioxide. We found Oxy. The daily wash works the best, better than the pads. It comes in Regular & Chill Factor. Chill Factor is getting hard to find.

Try using the pro active every two days, that might help the driness. My husband was using a medication from the dermo called acutain. That really worked. My husband has really bad acne too. What about the tanning booth. That usually clears skin too. Go like once or twice a week. I am not sure about what natural stuff to use. I would ask the dermo about acutain, It is a strong medication, but it works. It really cleared my husbands acne. Good luck

I help teens clear their acne by taking a closer look at their diet and putting them on a detox program that cleanses the system from the inside, cleanses the the blood and helps prevent break-outs. My website also carries a homeopathic product called ACNE that has worked well for teens.

M. Wright
Certified Herbalist

You may want to consider trying Arbonne's Clear Advantage line. I have used ProActive with similar results...it burned my skin horribly and left it very dry and scaley. Arbonne's line is botanically based, and does not over dry your skin. They are dermatologist and pediatrician tested and approved! It takes care of the acne and keeps your skin soft and moisturized at the same time. It is a really great product! Check it out at www.kristenstemple.myarbonne.com. You can browse the catalog by clicking on the shop online tab. Look for the "Clear Advantage" line. I have helped many mamasource moms with this issue and others. Let me know if you have any questions.
Take care and good luck! I know how frustrating and socially hurtful acne can be!

K. Stemple

Hi E.! I am an esthetician(skin care)and see a lot of these problems. Have you thought about taking him to get a facial? You may get some resistance from him, but if you can get him to go it could really help. A lot of my clients have had problems with Proactive drying them out as well. Dry skin is not good either because your skin is your first line of defense against infection. If the skin is to dry you can also still break out from bacteria, and also sometimes if the skin is dry his oil production could actually increase to try to compensate for the dryness. An esthetician could do a skin analysis, extractions to get rid of clogged pores, and recommend products for him to use. They could also do microdermabrasion or a light peel to help with the acne, and help with any scarring he may have or get. I really like Phytomer products. Phytomer's line for acne is Oligopur. It a natural product, but is sold mainly in spas. Their website is www.phytomer.fr/en/homephp. You can buy it online through other sites if you google it. Acne can be caused from a zinc deficiency. Phytomer has an Oligomer bath to soak in at home that helps replenish this. The oligopur products are gentle, and has a moisturizer that is meant for problem prone skin.

Whatever you do also discourage him from picking at his face it can make things a lot worse. I saw someone advise you to have your son tan...I would not recommend this it is not good for the skin, and could cause any scarring to become worse. Also make sure that when outdoors he wear a sunscreen. Good Luck!
BJ Grand Salon & Spa


My name is Heather Abbate. Would you consider trying Mary Kay products? Mary Kay has been in business for 45 years and her products are still keeping women happy with the skin results. If you would like to contact me please do. We also have a skin cleanser for teenagers (so to speak). If you would like to go to my webpage to inquire first that would be totally acceptable. Again, Heather Abbate ###-###-#### Heather ____@____.com

Let me know if I assist you.

Heather A.

I don't know if you've ever considered it but he may need tetracyln(don't know if Im spelling it correctly!) He's probably braking out do to stress and hormones. I went through a bout of this and my dermatologist prescribed it and it went away in a week!

I agree with most of the other respondents. See a dermatologist (I have a good one in Evanston, if you need) and change his diet. My brother, who also did Accutane, swore off pop as well, and swears that was part of his problem. In addition to a dermatologist, a nutritionist might be a good idea. By the way, my dermatologist says no moisturizer whatsoever, and discourages using ProActiv and other non-prescribed products. Severe acne should be treated by a personal doctor, who can do face-to-face exams and knows the patient.

My acne was severe since high school. It never went away until I stopped eating wheat, dairy and soy and now comes back with a vengence as soon as I eat one of those ingredients. Hard to do with a teenager I know but diet plays a crucial role in how we look and feel. Before my wedding my last resort (before I figured out it was diet related) was to try the blue light....I can't remember what it's real name is but I saw decent results with that in combination with ProActive. Also, try not to keep switching and combining products. That will irritate his skin even more. I would definitely look into a dermatologist as well. They can atleast perscribe something that will help alleviate his symptoms quickly.

Origins have a great line for people with acne problems. I know cause I work for them. They have cleansers treatments and the best facial masks. the best products of all is "spot remover" you put it on the spot it burns for a bit but that's the way it suppose to be. you wake up in the morning and it's pretty much gone.
I don't know where you live but I work at the free standing origins store at oak brook and will be happy to make you samples so your son can try. Since they are natural products I would say to give products about 2 weeks. I could make you sample of each product that we would discuss in this way you will see if it works or not.

I would give Arbonne products a try - they are all natural. I use the "anti aging" line and love it. It is pricy. Another GREAT line of products is the LUSH line found at the LUSH counter of Macy's. Go on-line to LUSH.com and find the stores - I know there is one in Oakbrook, but not in Orland. Lush is all natural and I haven't tried a product that I didn't like. A trip to the dermatoligist might also be a solution. It may be something that requires oral medication - my girlfriends son had to do this just to get it all under control. They also do hot ice treatments that really help.

Try using honey.....cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing.


I can help. I rep for a product that uses salysilic acid rather than alpha hydroxy. We also treat from the inside, with supplements that help slow down the production of oil. (Vit. A) We are also less expensive than pro-active.

I can have a kit at your door within 3 days. please call me at ###-###-#### and i will give you everything you need.

You may consider going to see a Dr. that specializes in allergies. It should be a doctor who will test for food allergies. Believe it or not some acne is allergies to certain food. One of the biggest problems is certain grains. If you are interested and live out in the Northern part of Illinois (McHenry County or near by). I can get a couple names from my girlfriend. Her daughters have this problem and they are working on this problem.

Hi E.,
Take him to a really good dermatologist fast. I had severe acne as a teeneager, and my parents did nothing. Now at 44, I have terrible acne scars. I hate to look at myself in the mirror to this day. Don't let the acne scar him, because the scars don't just stay on his face. They end up scarring his self esteem. People, and other kids, are really mean about acne and acne scars. I still hear comments from adults about my face.


One thing that I have heard that works is Velocity face cleaner by Mary Kay. It was made just for teen skin to help prevent acne, I believe that they also have a moisturizer as well to help the skin from getting too dry. It is also fairly inexpensive as well.

I am 25, so we are talking about maybe 8-10 years ago. I know you said natural solution, but what my parents did was to take me to our regular doctor. She gave me this roll-on medication. I was supposed to put it on the troubled spots, I believe, twice a day, and the lesser affected areas once a day. I had terrible acne and it was GONE within a week or two. I would really see a doctor. Its 2008, and there are great treatments out there. Your son doesnt need life-long scars, or to be any more insecure than is expected for a 15 year old.

Take him to a dermatologist before it is too late. Take it from me, sometimes we can't do it on our own. It will be worth the money.

We had the same problem with my step daughter. She was allergic to something in the pro active. We took her to a dermatologist and she gave her some new medicine that seems to be helping when she actually uses it.

I had some stubborn breakouts in college, and I have REALLY sensitive skin. I used proactiv, and after I would put on the cleanser, astringent, and repairing lotin, I would put on some of the oil-free moisturizer (it also contains SPF protection which is important when using proactiv). I would also use their refining mask a couple of times a week, and my face clear up in days....it worked well and my skin did not get dry! Hope this helps him!

My husband suffers from Rosacea, as well as having had bad acne in his teenage years, he had told me that pro active never worked for him, but he had some success with the Murad products, also if he has not gone to a dermatologist, it may benefit him.. Hope this helped. B. S.

I had severe acne from age 11 through high school. I saw a dermatologist throughout that time as well and tried everything. All of the topical products dried out my skin and burned and I never managed to used them long enough to help. I was on antibiotics for years, which helped greatly at first but didn't clear up my face. The only thing that truly cleared my face was Accutane. However, it is a very strong medicine. As a result of using Accutane, the skin on my face peels all day, every day. It is noticeable, but I don't care. The acne was painful and embarassing. I'd rather have a peeling face for the rest of my life (I did one course of Accutane ten years ago). I would recommend your son see a dermatologist and discuss his options.

Hi E.,
I've been a Melaleuca Preferred Customer for almost 4 years. They have a product called Zap-it. Would you like to try it? It comes with a 100% money back guarantee. It's actually on sale now for $15.99pc and it's a 4 piece set. You asked for something natural. Zap-it contains T36-C5 Melaleuca oil which is the pure essential oil commonly known as tea tree oil.

Zap-it! Facial Wash: Lifts away dirt, oil and makeup for fresh, clean skin.
Zap-it! Deep Cleaning Astringent: Lifts away dirt and oil residue on the skin’s surface and works deep down in pores to clear acne.
Zap-it! Pore Clarifying Cream: Long-lasting encapsulated technology slowly medicates skin and keeps oil from clogging pores.
Zap-it! Quick Stick: Zap zits with an instant dose of defense in a portable package.

I can send you a ebrochure or you can look it up at www.melaleuca.com.


My son had the same problem. Started when he was 15 and got worse. I started my Mary Kay business and had him try a sensitive cleanser and our acne cream. Within a week, his face looked great!! He has a girlfriend who borrows it when she gets her breakouts. He is so thrilled that mom forced her "girly stuff" on him. If I can help, I have a website you can go to and look at Velocity Cleanser and the acne cream.
go to www.marykay.com/jshaffer41.
hope I was some help

This is actually a very common complaint about proactive. The key is to treat the acne/oil while still maintaining moisture. Most often, teens will try to dry up the oil with alcohol or peroxide products but then the skin over reacts with pumping out more oil which results in more acne--if the solution they are using sufficiently blocks the body's production of its natural moisture, then, if they keep it up, that can result in finally drying out too much and further damaging the skin.

I recommend to my clients a product called Velocity which has a gentle, yet effective cleanser and very fine exfoliant that removes dead skin, dirt and oil while not rupturing current whiteheads (which only makes them spread) and then using the Velocity moisturizer which has an oil mattefier--which turns excess oil into an invisible matte finish on the skin so that it's not going back into the pores making more acne problems but also not drying out the skin.

Now the skin is moisturized so that it can repair itself but not oily and the acne will go away.

Additionally, when starting this therapy, they can also add in an acne treatment cream for trouble spots that's just going to dry out each pimple--not all the skin.

These products are 100% guaranteed--or your money back AND, since you are a mamasource member, I can actually let you try it before you buy it--so it's completely risk-free. The price is so affordable too! $22 for the Velocity Cleaser and Moisturizer Set and $7 for the Acne Treatment Gel. Usually the product lasts about 6-8 weeks, so that's about $0.50-0.75 a day for clear skin!

My number is ###-###-####. You can also find Velocity on my Mary Kay website www.marykay.com/angela_haggar


My girls had acne really bad & we tried everything and out of the blue they both started using my noxezema and little by little their faces started clearing up, they still use noxezema.

I have two suggestions for you. One is xango it is a very potent health drink that when you drink helps the acne from the inside out and them you either make a paste or just put the juice on a cotton ball on the affected areas. It has worked really well for a lot of people. The other is a company called sensaria. I have a friend who become a rep just because one of their products has taken away her acne. If you would like for info. please contact me and I can give you more information.

Hi, I'm a 35 yr old mom of two boys and I've always suffered from acne - but very badly in high school. First - DIET! look at what your son is eating - if he's not getting enough fruits and veggies then he won't be able to clear his skin (the meds and things like proactive will be short term solutions). Also - even if he does eat plenty of fruits and veggies - be sure to cut out the fried stuff and junk food (or at least limit it). It's hard for kids but you can tell him that he should try experimenting with it - keep a journal of what he eats and how his face is looking during that time and he can see for himself if it has any impact. Also - digestive enzymes are great for the skin (I'm on them now and my skin has never looked better ) you can google digestive enzyme on the internet to learn all about them and can always check with a doctor to make sure they are right for your son - Whole foods carries all different brands. And of course - plenty of water. Also - I had a dermatologist tell me that if I ever ate a food and then noticed a breakout then stay away from that particular food - he also said stay away from acidic things like fresh tomatoes/orange juice. Hope it helps - good luck.

Hi E.,

I'm sorry that your son has experienced such a bad bout with acne. I would like to recommend a product line from my company. I'm a USANA Associate and we have a skin care line called Sense. It's dermatologist approved and recommended. One major major benefit of our skin care line is there are no chemical preservatives or parabens in the product whatsoever. Regina Hamlin, M.D., has been a dermatologist for over 30 years. She is Chief of Dermatology at four major hospitals in California and a clinical professor of medicine at UCSF Fresno. She states uses our skin care regimine in her practice and recommends them to her clients. She states that "For my own patients, I recommend Sensé skin care products. Not only are they free from any added chemical preservatives, they combine the most advanced skin care technologies with advanced nutrition for dramatic results that I have seen again and again."

I would like to send you a free sample product kit that includes the cleanser, toner, daytime moisturizer and nighttime moisturizer. I have a friend who for many years had problems with her skin and was even on medications from her doctor to try and clear her skin. My friend is not a fan of medications, so when she was introduced to the Sense skincare line, she tried it, loved the results, and has been using them ever since...I'd say it's been a few years now. To hear more about the skin care line, please copy and paste this link into a browser window to hear from Dr. Regina Hamlin: http://www.usana.com/dotCom/mediaCenter/video?category=Pr...

Let me know if you would be interested in receiving the sample kit for your son to try. Good luck!

Have you considered taking your son to a dermatologist? I feel sure that he could help him. Check the yellow pages.

Take him to the doctor

You need to take him to a dermatologist. My daughter had bad acne at 11. She was put on a cream for the day time and a cream at night along with an antibiotic and her face cleared up literally within 10 days. Sometimes it is just something that can't be treated with over the counter acne products.

I came across this website www.smartskincare.com that discusses how nutrition can affect our skin, either lack of good foods, essential fatty acids, or vitamin deficiencies, you may find it helpful. Good luck

My daughter also suffers from acne. Here is what has helped her tremendously:

md formulations I get it at a spa. They recommended it for my daughter. It is distributed by BIOCEUTIX in San Francisco, CA. I checked on the internet. If you type in md formulations, it brings up sites where you can order it from.
We have tried ProActive and all types of products. This is less harsh and more effective than anything we have tried. I will pray for your son and for the effectiveness of this product.

A little bit about me. I am 45, married to an amazing man for 20 years and have one child who is 16. I am the Children's Ministry Director at our church and love my life!

God Bless, M.

Have you ever heard of Beauticontrol products? They have a great line for acne skin that has been proven to be much better than Proactive. It is also very affordable.

I am a consultant for Beauticontrol part-time, but a college counselor full-time. I became a consultant just to get the products at discount because I use them so much.

It is a high quality product that is tested continuously for sensitivity and allergies. The acne-prone skin care line is called All-Clear. They also have a product called Microderm Abraision. I have a co-worker that only uses this for her son's acne and says it does wonders.

If you would like more info go to beauticontrol.com. If you would like to look at the products, you can enter my name: L. Ohnesorge, and I live in Illinois.

These products are awesome. I only sell enough products to stay a consultant so I can get them at discount. It is the only cosmetics, spa and bath products that I use now. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. ____@____.com

I hope you find some sort of solution for your son:)

Hang in there! I had bad acne too and turned to Pro-Activ Solution. My skin did get very dry in the beginning but it didn't last long, only a few weeks. I started to see results shortly after and have been very happily using Pro-Activ for 3 years now. Have your son stick with it for a few more weeks and see what happens.
Good Luck!

This almost sounds too simple to work but I know a lady who's daughter started having acne trouble when she was about 14. She went to a dematologist and he said to wash her face with a simple anti-bacterial soap. Just something like dial. Do it twice a day and use an oil free moisturizer if it starts drying his skin. I don't know how well it works because this is someone that I only see a couple of times a year but it would be very inexpensive to try. Hope it helps

Hi E.,

I am a consultant with L'Bri Pure n' Natural. The first ingredient in L'Bri' skin care is aloe. It does not contain any mineral oils, waxes, lanolin's, drying alcohols or artificial colors or fragrances. These are pore clogging agents that confuse the skin, cause dry skin, and clog the pores causing white and black heads. You can obtain a free 6 piece sample set at http://www.judyalders.lbri.com. You can try it for free and see the results for yourself($5.75 Shipping) The aloe in the products is very healing and will help prevent new acne from forming. I have many happy customers! There is also a 30 day money back guarantee.

J. Alders

I had a dermatologist prescribe antibiotics for me, and they worked wonders! (tetracycline) At first I was against it, since as a society we use antibiotics too much, but the acne was making me want to hide inside all the time, and it interrupted my daily activities. I'd suggest (and I'm sure the dermatologist will too) that he use the antibiotics for a while to get rid of the worst of the acne, and use proactiv with an oil-free moisturizer like neutrogena. Anything a dermatologist prescribes topically will probably dry his skin more than the proactiv does. Also, make sure he washes his hands a lot, and doesn't touch his face. Eating more fruits and veggies and drinking tons of water may help as well. Best of luck!

E., have you ever tried Mary Kay it isn't just for women. They have an Acen Treatment Gel and a Blemish control toner.

as a mom of a now 24 year old son..when my son was a teen he went through a difficult stage with his complexion, and though i am a huge proponent of all natural treatments, when it comes to children and self esteem i believe in doing whatever we can to help our teens through those difficult years. i did take my son to a dermatologist, and prescription medication coupled with his getting older and more balanced in the hormone department helped his skin improve greatly. today he has beautiful skin...much better than mine!

Arbonne's products work great! They have a great skin care line. The before and after pictures show the great results.

Follow four simple steps to help treat and prevent acne with the Arbonne Clear Advantage System, including two products formulated with salicylic acid.

Try cutting out dairy and see if that helps at all. As a teen I felt this helped my acne. I too found my skin dried out and got worse with the high-drying treatments. My skin seemed to get better when I started using plain old SoftSoap or Cetaphil Clenser and an oil-free moisterizer. It seemed the gentle gentle approach worked better than the harsh approach for my skin.

Also, visit www.alcat.com, they have testing that can discover sensitivities to foods that may not show up with a scratch test done by an alergist. My girlfriend's alergist scoffed at the ALCAT test but when she cuts out the foods recommended by her ALCAT bloodwork it's like magic, her eczema and rashes go away.

Good luck with the teen years!!!

Hi E.,
Nutrition is the big key especially with the hormone issues. Avoid junk food, sodas, etc. does he take supplements? I have had great success with "Plus", from Mannatech. Our office massage therapist does esthetics as well. The drying of his skin from the Proactive will only cause more breakouts. He has to moisturize. I know it sounds counterindicated but it is true. Use products that do not have any preservatives. email me and I will send you a sample packet of OPtimal Skin Care, made with Hunza water, no parabens. It is a Japanese product and we know that Japanese have the best skin in the world. P. RN

Stick with the proactive the dryness will subside. I'm 37 and still fight acne and proactive is the best product Ive found. been using it for 4 years now.

As a sufferer of extreme adult acne, I would recommend going to a dermatalogist. They will be able to help control the acne before it scars. I developed cystic acne when I was 20 years old and the only reason I have acne scars is because I had to stop the topical and oral medication the dermatologist had given me when I was trying to get pregnant. I tried every OTC I could think to find during that time, but nothing helped. I am very self-conscious of the scars in my face and it might be better to get him help from an expert before he does develop scars. Good luck!

My sister had the exact same problem as well as several friends kids. They have all found results from the acne skin care line from Arbonne. It is 100% natural and has no chemicals or fragrances that can increase irritation. They also include a vitamin supplement. This is important because acne is an infection under the skin that grows out to where you can see it. You need to treat the acne from the inside as well as out to truly combat the breakouts. All of the topical treatment will not get rid of the bacteria under the surface. Also keep in mind that many of these producst contain mineral oil whcih forms a seal over the skin trapping all the bacteria in the pores. Your products must be mineral oil free so that the skin can breathe and dirt and bacteria can be kept out of the pores. Another thing to keep in mind is that the skin needs moisture to be healthy but not a heavy moisturizer. Many of the acne lines are very drying which will temporarily help to decrease the outer acne. As your skin struggles to find a balance and combat the drying it will naturally produce more oil to compensate for the dryness. This will now cause worse acne than you originally experienced and now you are in a terribly frustrating cycle. I feel for children and adults who struggle with this condition. I would love to help your son. We have a 45 day money back gaurantee. My sister saw an improvemnet in the surface acne within a couple of days and then saw dramitc differences and minimal breakouts after using the acne line for 1 month. Please email me or call me if you would like me to discuss anything further or if you would like to try it out. My contact information is ###-###-#### and ____@____.com.

Hi E.-

I hope this will help your son out. I was a teenager with really clear skin- After I had my first son my skin became awful. I had cystic acne, roscea etc. It WAS terrible. I went to a dermatologist who prescribed medication and medicated face wash etc. That barely made a dent in my skin. My face was STILL terrible.

My sister had given me a little bottle of the product she was using and told me to try it. I did and OH MY GOSH! Within two days I noticed my skin becomeing smoother and less red.

I would HIGHLY recommened the Continuously Clear products from HSN.com. You can buy the small pack which comes with the face wash, the moisturizer, and a spot treatment. It's about $39 (plus shipping). It seems a little expensive, but the moisturizer and spot treatment have lasted me over a year now and the face wash lasted about two months. Once I needed more face wash I just ordered that in the "jumbo" bottle. That alone is about $29, but the larger bottle lasts several months. You only need one good pumpful to wash your face.

The face wash has little exfoliating beads in it. I have to tell you that I am convinced that the exfoliant is the one thing that is keeping my skin clear. I even use (once a week) St. Ives exfoliant (you can buy this at Walmart or Target). That helps too.

I really hope you find the right combo for your son- Being an adult with acne is bad, but I can't imagine being a teen with it. Give your son a hug and tell him he's handsome- He probably needs to hear that right about now.

I looked online for you (hsn.com) and the item is Continuously Clear Deep Clean and Clear Trio Item: 317-979 - I was wrong on the price it's $32.50 plus $5.95 for shipping. I would try this, I bet your son sees an improvement within a few days. My face was horrible and it improved quickly.

Good luck!
MV :)

E.- I didn't know this- Continously Clear offers a "Youth" line of products too! The items number is Continuously Clear Youth Regimen KitItem: 691-622, the price on this is $39.80 plus $5.95 for shipping. I really hope you try one of these products! They helped me so much. :)

Hey there E.,
I think I can help. I have a product line called BeautiControl and I have been selling it for 22 years. We have 2 lines that work with Acne. We have one that is like proactive which strong. I would recommend you use our line called Skinlogics it has some of the same properties but not as harsh, we can then tweek it just for him. Our products are botanically based and are all guaranteed, so you will get your money back if you are unsatisfied. I would also recommend our Microderm Abrasion (it was written up in Good Housekeeping as one of the best in home versions - O magazine liked it too!)
I have a starter kit that is only $16 for him to try and if it works then I will take $10 off the full set.
Here is my website www.beautipage.com/katrinabusse or you can reach me at ###-###-#### I am in the Libertyville area.

E., try going back to pro active and have him use a moisturizer this is about the best product on the market short of a dermatologist. I hope this helps

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