Horrible Teenage Acne

Updated on February 10, 2014
E.B. asks from Sour Lake, TX
19 answers

Anyone have any success stories with teenage acne? I mean BAD teenage acne. The Dr. gave us some meds that didn't touch it. Next step was Accutane which I will not give him. Wondered what your experience was and hopefully you can help us find a solution. Thank you!

We have tried Proactive. Also, it is primarily on his chin and forehead area. Was anyone able to manage it without prescription drugs?

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So What Happened?

I tried "the regimen" at acne.org and it worked like a charm!! So happy! It's been only a week and it's at least 1/2 better. The full program lasts several weeks so hang in there! Just follow it exactly as it says. We are thrilled.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Acne comes from the inside out, I have seem many skin conditions improve dramatically when the diet has changed. I will send you a couple links in a PM as a recommendation.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Don't put him on accutane! I had horrible acne as a teenager and took Accutane for a few months. Yes it seemed like a miracle drug, it totally cleared up my acne. Then it came back a year later just as bad as ever so I took it for another few months and it cleared up again. Well now 7 years later I am suffering with irritable bowel syndrome that has been linked to the drug. I would never put my child on accutane! I know you said you weren't going that route, but I had to say something incase you were persuaded by the "miracle drug" post.

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answers from Detroit on

sorry but if you have tried rx drugs and it did nto work.. the next step is Accutane.. there is no danger to your boy from taking Accutane.. if he was a girl.. and she got pregnant the baby could have birth defects.. there is not issue with boys taking it..

It took 2 rounds of Accutane.. and it is kind of annoying while you are taking it.. once you are done.. your skin is so much better and it is worth it..

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would go to a dermatologist . If that's where you say you've been, then call them and tell them that the meds are not helping. The only way a Dr can properly diagnose is to communicate with you.

I don't know about Accutane and other RX products because we have not been in your shoes. I would do anything my dr recommended if my teen had a bad case if acne.

Also... It's not just topical applications you need. You also need to address what he eats.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My dermatologist told me that Proactive is the worst thing you can put on your skin. It might appear to clear things up for awhile, but in the end it will just make things worse. That was my experience.

I had acne problems my entire life until I went on accutane at age 40. Honestly next to my hysterectomy that was the best thing I ever did for myself. I had no side effects, I haven't had any problems since, and I have had clear skin (maybe a pimple or two here and there but no cystic acne) for the past 10 years. I know you're probably afraid of it, but it's worth looking into if his acne is that bad.

A good friend tried almost everything with her daughter a few years ago, and after several dermatologists, she finally let her go on accutane. Her skin is beautiful and clear now and she's a sophomore in high school. She won't have the ugly scars I have because she's done with it and her skin can heal.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Accutane is a miracle drug. It is so sad to me that you will not let him try it. Have you talked to your son's dermatologist as well as his pediatricians about the drug and your fears? Everyone of my daughter's docs said what a miracle drug it is and they were right.

I know it is scary. The book they give you is actually terrifying but I followed the advice of my daughter's dermatologist and listened to the advice of her pediatrician. As a result my daughter has beautiful, flawless skin. It was truly a miracle and I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend it or to use it again if need be.

FYI... My daughter's dermatologist put her own son on Accutane and my daughter was only 10 years old when she was on it for severe acne.

PM me if you want any more details but I strongly recommend for your sons sake that you follow his doctors advice and use Accutane. Talk to medical professionals and do not rely on antidotal horror stories. I have yet to meet a medical professional or a user of Accutane who did not consider Accutane a miracle drug.

Edit- there are lots of people who have irritable bowel syndrome that never took Accutane!!! To attribute a drug to a condition that you developed seven years after taking the drug is irresponsible IMO.
I guess the poster that proved seven years later she developed IBS as a direct result of taking Accutane won a huge settlement.
Once again, I urge you to discuss your fears with your son's dermatologist. The docs prescribe this drug to multiple people everyday of the week.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

TF is correct, a Dermatologist is your best hope.

If you do not like or believe the one you are seeing, go to another.

Acne is painful and can really cause some emotional problems. It is like having any other health problem. Sometimes, we have to try things we never thought we would try, to be able to see if it works.

What does your child want to do about it?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have to tell you that Accutane may be your only choice. If your son doesn't have a history of depression, give it a chance. My nephew has SCARS on his face because his mom waited too long to try the Accutane. She was very sorry that she did.

Another thing for you to do is find a dermatologist who has an Esthetician on staff. Have her do microderm abrasion. There's a sticky substance on your face that holds in bacteria and oils. The microderm abrasion removes that along with the dead skill cells so that the topical medicine works better. Between this and the dermatologist's medicines, it should help. My sons' esthetician also removed the blackheads and whiteheads with a curette so that there was no scarring. I took them every 4 weeks. It really made a difference. HOWEVER, they did not have the acne that your son has. I would do this AND use the accutane.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

There are a few natural methods that I've been successful with; but my acne would probably be considered slightly moderate.

I've done the whole washing the face with oil, and that helped for a bit.....then I got a facial (from a gift certificate) and it threw my skin into a tailspin. What I did was gently massage a mixture of castor oil and olive oil (about a 3-1 ratio) onto my skin and then steam it off using a rather hot wash cloth.

I've found better success with a natural clarifying toner. I mix about 3T apple cider vinegar, 1T STRONG green tea, 1T witch hazel and about 5 drops of pure lavender oil. I apply it 2-3 times per day and have noticed a great decrease in the amount and severity of my acne.

I agree with seeing a dermatologist and a nutritionist though. Another good resource may be a naturopath.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My acne was so severe that my dermatologist used me as a before/after example for Accutane. I was one of the first patients to take Accutane when it was first approved, and it honestly changed my life. I do understand your decision not to put your son on the medication, though.

Unfortunately our oldest son inherited my acne. We took him to a dermatologist who is also a nutritionist. Our son is extremely healthy, but he did have a soda now and then. She took him off of all dark sodas (clear sodas are fine, but he's given up all sodas, now), and had him try to go gluten free. He didn't go entirely gluten free, but does limit gluten. He also eats very little sugar. This helped his acne, but it was still awful.

We did opt to put him on Accutane after trying many other options. She told us that as long as he drinks a TON of water and his blood work came back fine each month, then he would be fine. She has treated hundreds of patients, and none of them have had any issues, and I didn't have any trouble either. My son has nosebleeds, while taking it, and I did too. Other than that, he has beautiful skin.

I hope you find something that works for your son. Acne is such a nightmare.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

The only thing that really worked for me was the regiment at acne.org. Not only because of the products, but because of the way you are to clean and apply it.

Also, look at food sensitivities. Dairy issues can be a cause of acne.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

See a new dermatologist. Also have him take a probiotic. A healthy gut is important too.

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answers from Hartford on

You really need to find a good Dermatologist that can work with a Nutritionist.

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answers from Lancaster on

My daughter had what I'd consider moderate acne (mostly hormonal, but it was there all the time to one degree or another). We tried Proactive and several other "sure" things. Dermatologist's stuff did nothing and nothing really made a difference. After a little research, we found Dr. Bronners Tea Tree oil soap liquid. We got it on Amazon.com and it was under $20 for a huge bottle that needs to be diluted so it will last a LONG time. It cleared her skin almost immediately. We dilute it about 50/50 with plain water and use it to wash our faces (keep it out of your eyes). So soothing and it really did the job. She still has small break outs when she gets her period, but they're minor and are cleared pretty quickly with this soap.

I had acne as a young adult and after many years on lots of meds, I finally did Accutane. It wasn't pleasant and I couldn't tolerate much of it. I'd avoid it unless absolutely necessary. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New London on

Go to a quality healthy food store and get a high quality probiotic.

Absolutely no fried foods--French fries, donuts, many junk foods... When I go off wheat my skin clears up, too.
Most wheat is genetically altered today. It's not the same wheat it used to be. I also go easy on acidic foods.

I love Burt Bee's face cleanser.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

HI E.,

I'm glad your smart enough to stay away from Accutane! Acne is simply toxicity. Your son is ridden with it. Acne has to be healed from the inside. Clean water, diet and an absorbable multivitamin will start the healing process. Does he take any prescriptions for anything now? How old is he? Digestive issues? Headaches? The chin and forehead is common. I have helped young kids get rid of their acne and the other issues that are related to it. If you want to PM me with more info, Ill be glad to help.

God bless,

PS Accutane has been linked to digestive diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's. Side effects range from kidney problems, psychiatric problems, severe birth defects, cardiovascular issues, central nervous system damage and autoimmune deficiencies. Roche AG, the original makers of this drug, put the strongest warning of all warnings required in this country.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We've found that the most important thing you can do is to work from inside, not from the outside. The skin is the largest organ, and most of the problems originate inside, which is why topical treatments don't do much but drain the bank account. They are just dealing with the top surface of the skin.

I too have reservations about the medications. Usually, nourishing the cells of the body (skin, muscle, brain, nerve, anything) has a much greater success rate because you're giving the cells what they need to thrive instead of just treating a problem after it occurs.

With proper supplementation, your teen could see results in a few weeks. It takes a while for the top few layers of unhealthy cells to die off and slough away naturally, and for the toxins in the body to release. Remember that the body only has a few ways to get rid of stuff it doesn't want: mucus membranes (particularly nasal), elimination (urine, feces) and…TA DA… the skin! Almost all of the skin problems (acne, eczema, psoriasis, hives) you see are from things on the inside coming out, not from something that occurred on the surface to begin with (such as, say, poison ivy).

My teen had terrific results using this approach, and I no longer have any of those middle-aged breakouts. An added boost is improved immunity from everything else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't blame you for being unwilling to try Accutane. I remember my mom and myself opting against me taking that 30 years ago.
Severe acne does need prescription medication, whether topical, oral or a combination. Over the counter creams, cleansers and treatments are meant for those who have the occasional pimple, not chronic acne.
Did the dermatologist try several medications?



answers from Washington DC on

Increase his water intake.

Has he tried using products like Simple, or Aveeno? Aveeno works for me. I'm almost 40 and still get breakouts along my chin and hairline.

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