Do You Know Something That Works for Teen Acne?

Updated on April 06, 2012
S.B. asks from San Diego, CA
25 answers

Hi Mama's!

My daughter is 16 and recently started breaking out pretty bad, especially around the time of her cycle. She uses Neutrogena face wash and is very good about washing her face at least twice a day,

Thanks everyone!

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answers from Minneapolis on

It is probably hormones and no cleaning or scrubbing will work. I used retin A prescribed by my doc a lot in high school and I know a lot of people swear by the Proactiv. I finally went on Accutane in my 20's and it changed my life but it definitely is not for everyone so I would try the other routes first and talk to a dermatologist. I would get welt sized blemishes on my back and face but now have great clear skin and rarely get anything.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is great about keeping his face clean, but nothing OTC worked. We ended up taking him to the dermatologist, and are getting much better results. He's 14.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

Well I'm not 16...but I have the same problem.
I used ProActiv for years, but recently ditched it. Don't want the harsh chemicals and it just no longer works for me.
I do use this:
And it works great.
It's worth a try...

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

Go to a dermatologist. Acne can lead to permanent scarring; why mess around with drugstore remedies? I ended up going on Accutane in my early 20's and it worked wonders. However, it's pretty serious medication, so it's best to try other alternatives first. For your daughter, even oral antibiotics may do the trick.

That being said, does she have a Clairsonic? If not, I highly recommend getting one. No, they are not cheap, but WOW, I recently started using one and my skin has never looked better - never. I bought mine at Sephora, but I've seen them at Macy's and Nordstrom as well. Just simply washing your face doesn't remove nearly as much makeup/dirt/oil/gunk as using a Clairsonic. I have hyper-sensitive skin, but it is not irritated by the Clairsonic - if anything my skin seems less sensitive now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Retin A - insurance normally covers it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Try other products. I use Cetaphil currently. It sounds counter-intuitive, but maybe she's washing too much and making more oils? You can also take her to a dermatologist. My SD uses OTC products (Proactive and similar) but her brother's acne needed more help. He took antibiotics when he was in high school because it was really terrible and painful.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Drop the sugar and limit the breads. Then drink lots and lots of water and exercise. It works far better than any product you can purchase.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Turning 22 worked pretty good for me.
Until the hormones settle down nothing works very well for very long.
In the mean time, benzoil peroxide, Clearasil, Noxema, etc.
Rotate products - they'll work for awhile, then rotate again when they stop working.
Keep the makeup to a minimum and toss out all the makeup every few months and replace with new.
It's a bacteria breeding ground.
I know they say 'sun screen' at all times on the face these days, but when I was a teen, some sun on my face felt good and seemed to help clear me up for a little while.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

My brother had really bad acne in high school...he was using proactive...but then somebody recommended he go to a homeopathic dr. I don't know what they gave him...but it worked way better. Only problem there is that insurance doesn't generally cover it like it would a dermatologist. Also, sometimes 'overwashing' can be a problem - at least it was for me in HS - washing it so much or with harsh chemicals made my skin produce more oils.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Benzoil Peroxide spot treatment and salycilic acid moisturizer all over after it dries. Neutrogena makes one for around $7 and there are generic brands of it. SHe has to di it every morning and every night. Have her use anti-bacterial wipes or gel to clean her phone - the bacteria on phones make us break out along the jaw bone.

All this just treats the asne, not the cause, which is hormones. She can be prescibed certain birth control pills for acne or go to a dermatologist and get a prescription. They also use mitrogen to freeze the cysts and it really helps them go down fast.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Bad acne needs to be treated by a dermatologist. You want to fix this problem before your daughter is permanently scared. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

One thing most people are unaware of is that the skin is one of the body's biggest detoxification zones. If you put something into your body that your body doesn't like, what it doesn't like will "break" out when it detoxifies through the skin. If she suddenly has started breaking out when she really hasn't before (whether it is around her period time or not), that could indicate that something is off in her body. Could be too much sugar (sweets, pop (high fructose corn syrup), lots of processed foods have added sugar), it could be a food that her body is allergic to or intolerant to--any number of things.

A visit to a Naturopathic doctor and a simple test will let you know if she is allergic or intolerant to any food(s), preservatives, dyes, etc. Many women who have issues around their cycle time (acne or yeast infections) notice a dramatic improvement when they eliminate bread. Why bread? Because either the yeast or the gluten is causing issues/upsetting the delicate gut floral, which the raging hormones at this time are upsetting, causing the flare up in acne as the body works to "get rid" of the offending food.

Drinking lots of water will help cleanse/clean out her system and will help the detox process.

I went to a dermatologist when I was in my teens, twenties, and thirties. When I hit my forties, I started working with alternative healthcare. I discovered I had a lot of food allergies and intolerances--the worst being a casein allergy and severe gluten and soy intolerance--and once I quit eating the foods my body didn't like (or severely cut down on them), I noticed that my Rosacea, eczema on my elbows, and severe acne WENT AWAY! I haven't used anything for acne for the past four years. Not even anything from an alternative healthcare doctor, or over the counter. I mean nothing.

You need to find the ROOT CAUSE for why she is breaking out and attack it from that end. Allopathic doctors will always give you perscriptions and tell you to use over-the-counter meds--it's what they're taught in med school. They aren't taught to get to the root of the problem and cure it. Why? Because they don't make any money that way; you won't be a repeat customer if you take care of the problem, because then the problem goes away! Naturopathic doctors ARE trained to find the root cause of a problem, and then they teach you how to GET RID of the problem by attacking the cause that is manifesting as the problem/issue.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

My sister noticed when her daughter started doing that. She had not had any serious issues and didn't really have acne problems, just occasional breakouts.

She got the skin care stuff for break outs from Mellaluca. It would work overnight. She dabbed a bit on the zit at night and by morning it would be reduced and not red anymore. The mask is all tingling and yummy feeling and leaves the skin feeling wonderful. The skin care for break outs has the same ingredients plus a few more.

It can't hurt to try it....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Perhaps a change in diet will help as well. Cutting out fried foods and oily foods and even dairy products. The main food that caused my breakouts was peanut butter.

Before trying more topical solutions for acne, check out modifying her diet to treat her acne.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Stephanie, acne comes from the inside out, not the outside in. Putting stuff on her skin is not the answer. Acne is about toxicity levels in the body, it's just trying to get them out. Cleansing the inside of the body is the only way to get it under control. Feed the body properly and you will get the results you are looking for, in more than just ridding it of acne...better sleep, more energy, more mental clarity. Wanna chat about it?

Family Success Coach



answers from Los Angeles on

Proactiv works well on acne (even for adults).

Good Luck!



answers from Reno on

Hi. I know many parents do not want their children on prescribed medications, but for us, it was our last resort for my daughter. She has been on Minocycline 100MG one capsule, once a day. It's amazing how quickly it started to work! We saw great improvements within one week and now she barely has any at all. My husband was on this when he was trying to quit smoking, and they learned that it works remarkably well for acne! She has trouble all over her face and it was making her so self-conscious.

There has been no side affects and her outlook is much better. It may be something you want to look into. With our insurance, it's only $10 for a month's supply.



answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter had it pretty bad and I took her to a dermatologist.

They recommended Cetaphil face wash and face lotion.

Also, changing her pillow case frequently, nightly if necessary.


answers from San Diego on

For non-prescription, Proactive is great! For a prescription, ask your Dr. to prescripe topical clindamycin for her. I use the gel, but I use it mostly for spot treatment. I believe the lotion is a little more 'heavy duty' if she is breaking out pretty badly. I don't think it will be an issue for the Dr. to prescribe -it's fairly common and works great.

How is her diet? I know I hated hearing that as a teen. Sometimes it makes a difference, but sometimes it's just those darn hormones and the only thing that will help is a prescription. Start with a topical prescription first though.


answers from San Diego on

I buy a face soap from Trader Joe's that has tea tree oil in it. It works so well! It's inexpensive as well. Limit cosmetics as that can clog pours and make things worse.



answers from Los Angeles on

I sell for Rodan + Fields demotologists (creators of Proactiv) and their "Unblemish" Regimen works wonderfully for my teen daughter. (I also have a few friends who suffer from adult acne who use it). She used many other products before that and none of them helped very much. Also, your daughter shouldn't wash her face more than twice a day. If she gets oily in between washes, have her use face blotting papers to absorb the oil.

If you're at all interested in the R+F products, visit http// for more information.



answers from San Diego on

Proactive worked for me after trying several products! It might help!



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes! I had developed pretty bad acne in my early 30's and went to all the usual places (dermatologists office, expensive skin care lines, etc.) and it only seemed to make the problem worse. Then I decided to start doing my own research online and found
I started using the starter kit which is only about $40 and it cleared up the problem in about a weeks time.
The guy that created the line had the same problem your daughter and I have except his was so bad the doctors had put him on accutane along with all the other abrasive creams and such. He ended up doing his research and created a line of his own stuff which is a lot milder than the stuff the doctors recommend. He concluded that people with acneic skin all have pretty sensitive skin therefore using products that exacerbate the problem only serves to make it worse. He figured out the right percentage of benzoyl peroxide that would clear the problem and came up with a line of gentle non abrasive products (very basic at that) that actually fix the problem. I swear I'm not a rep for this guys company but only like to tell people about what worked for me and many others I've met and told about this along the way.
Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Proactive worked on my friends teens. Now they are 16 and their faces are flawless.



answers from Los Angeles on

Before putting her on medicine try a simple elimination of dairy in her diet. Dairy is heavily linked to acne. It doesn't cost a thing to take it out for a month and doesn't subject her body to harsh chemicals or drugs. If she doesn't show improvement then try go to the next level. Just a side note eggs aren't dairy. To view a list of hidden dairy ingredients visit I had acne as a teenager and used acutane. It came back just as bad around age 25. It wasn't until we eliminated dairy two years ago (I'm 31) to rid our then 18 month old of reactive airway disease that my acne went away. It did cure her reactive airway disease which is preasthma, her chronic pneumonia, as well as my acne. If I do eat and ice cream cone I have a couple blemishes is that chin area that doctors say is hormonal within a couple days.

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