How to treat teenage acne

The best way to treat teenage acne


Acne affects more than 80% of teenagers. While it can seem like a "normal" thing to deal with, teenage acne should be taken seriously as it can significantly impact self-esteem, create excessive stress, and even interfere with a young person’s social life, dating, and school work.  

What is the best way to treat teenage acne? 

Advice for acne treatment online can be extremely confusing and often comes from biased resources. Most of the advice about the best acne treatment is generated from commercial companies trying to promote their products—paritcuarly targetted at teens. For teens struggling with acne and parents hoping to help them, this can lead to a lot of confusion about what to do. Should they book an appointment with a dermatologist? Should they get a facial? Should they use a standard over the counter acne treatment system? Benzoyl peroxide? Epiduo? Differin?... MDacne? Read on to learn more. 

How to start treating teenage acne

Before buying a bunch of products, jumping into a treatment plan, or spending lots of money on a dermatologist appointment, it’s important to first learn about acne, what causes acne in teenagers, and understand that it’s absolutely possible to improve the skin. Talk to your teen about what it takes to treat acne effectively and make sure they understand it will involve some work and commitment. One great, objective website to check out is the American Academy of Dermatology.

What are the best ingredients for teenage acne? 

The best single acne treatment ingredient for inflammatory teenage acne is benzoyl peroxide. As a gold standard in topical acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide provides the fastest results without the risk of bacterial resistance that is common for antibiotics (including topical antibiotics). Micronized forms of benzoyl peroxide used in the best acne products allow even better efficacy and less skin irritation than regular benzoyl peroxide and products containing the ingredient Dalmane (Differin and Epiduo).

The best ingredients for treatment comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) in teens is salicylic acid.  Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid derived from bark and leaves the Willow tree that is anti-inflammatory (reduces skin redness), keratolytic (helps remove dead skin cells), anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. As an oil-soluble acid, it penetrates easily into the keratin that clogs skin pores, softens them, and helps remove and prevent the build-up of oil, bacteria, and other debris that would otherwise cause new outbreaks.

What are the best acne treatment products for teens (2019 Update)? 

Teenager cleaning face with medicated cleanser from MDacne for acne treatment f

The best, most effective acne treatment routines will always include a 3 key products; 1. a medicated cleanser, 2. an anti-acne treatment cream, 3. an oil-free moisturizer. Mild to moderate cases of acne can typically be treated effectively with topical creams alone as long as they are personalized to the user’s skin. That being said, “one size fits all” products that can be found in drugstores or online are frequently irritating eth skin or simply ineffective. 

The MDacne app allows teens (and adults!) with acne, to get a full, medical-grade skin assessment from the comfort of their home. Based on their assessment, the app will recommend a full suite of products personalized to their skin. To achieve the best possible results, the app also provides ongoing progress monitoring, ongoing chat support with a board-certified dermatologist, and free fine-tuning of the products as needed.

Are home remedies effective for treating teenage acne? 

Home remedies and natural products sound appealing but unfortunately have very limited value on their own in treating acne. Having said that, recent scientific developments now allow us to combine plant-based botanicals with medical-grade anti-acne medications. When combined with specific, plant-based ingredients, anti-acne medications such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, are less irritating and easier to commit to. Check this link for more info on botanical ingredients that are helpful as acne treatment boosters. 

How to commit to acne treatment for teenage acne? 

For any topical acne treatment to be successful, there’s a need for commitment. For best results, the acne treatments should be used every day–preferably wtih a medicated cleanser with active anti-acne ingredients used twice a day (morning and evening). The best acne treatment for teens would be a treatment that they commit to for the long run. As with any new habit, it can be challenging to get into the routine of a new skincare regiment. With the MDacne app, users can set twice-daily treatment reminders to ensure they don't miss any critical steps. They can also track their progress over time, which has been shown to help with the commitment to the treatment plan. 

What to expect when your teen starts acne treatment? 

With any acne treatment plan, results take time. Teens who follow and commit to their treatment plan typically see some improvement within 4-6 weeks and significant improvement 8-12 weeks. Once there’s a significant improvement, long-term maintenance is needed. Even if the skin looks better, teens with acne need to continue a maintenance routine and also keep an eye on their diet and lifestyle including being mindful of using the right makeup and cosmetics.

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