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How To Treat Teen Acne

Written by Kerry Benjamin

How To Treat Teen Acne

Acne isn’t fun for people of any age, but getting acne in your teen years makes an already difficult time of life so much harder. With so many physical changes already happening in adolescence, pimples and blackheads just add to the stress. Up to 85% of teenagers from every ethnic background and gender will experience acne, but treating it can be difficult--especially if it’s severe. Here are our top blemish-fighting insights and tips if you’re under 20.

Teen Acne Causes:

Hormones: Acne flares up in our teen years because of hormones and genetics that are far beyond our control. As hormone levels fluctuate, so does the skin’s oil production. More oil creates an ideal environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive.

Poor Hygiene: During your teen years, you learn to develop good hygiene; without this, acne-prone skin can get way worse before it gets better. Sweat and oil left behind on your skin after a day at school or a sports practice give bacteria a great place to hang out. If you’re not washing your face after gym class or before bed, that bacteria have all the time it needs to create pimples. Cleansing your skin at night will lessen the amount of oil on the skin and rinse away acne-causing bacteria, resulting in fewer blemishes.

Harsh Products: Other causes of teen acne include over-treating skin with the wrong skin products and not using moisturizer, which leads to the overproduction of oil. Avoid harsh acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide, which can exacerbate acne redness and inflammation, and be sure to use a daily moisturizer to support skin health.

How To Treat Teen Acne

Exfoliate with a Peel: Natural exfoliating acids like lactic and glycolic help shed dead skin cells that get trapped inside pores and cause breakouts. Using a weekly at-home peel like our TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel can help prevent pores from getting clogged. In addition to alpha-hydroxy acids, our formula also contains salicylic acid, which helps treat acne by dissolving the glue-like sebum inside blemishes.

Treat with EGF: Epidermal growth factor, or EGF, is a type of peptide that kicks skin cell turnover into overdrive. This helps prevent dead skin from clogging pores and can help clear up post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from old breakouts. While it can cause some purging initially, EGF is one of the best treatments for clearing stubborn breakouts, including cystic acne. Plus, because it’s non-irritating, it doesn't cause redness and flakiness like other acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. Look for it in our EGF Activating Serum.

Zap with High Frequency: When you need fast relief from a breakout, turn to a High-Frequency Device. It contains an argon electrode that generates oxygen within the pore when the device is applied to the skin. Since most acne-causing bacteria can’t live when exposed to oxygen, the device kills the infection within the pore from the inside. It can help reduce the size of your blemish and the associated redness in only an hour or two.

Remember Body Care: Many teens who experience acne on their faces also battle breakouts on their bodies. In addition to bathing right after working out, use a once-weekly body peel like our TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel to keep pores clear of dead skin and excess oil. Use it all over, or focus on breakout-prone areas like the shoulders, back, and chest. The peel self-neutralizes so there’s no need to wash it off.

The emotional cost of having acne at this young age is something that can affect teens for years. Luckily, most people see results by focusing on a strong at-home regimen. If your acne is very serious, you may want to consult a dermatologist about stronger prescription treatments. Remember: acne is very common and there are professionals specifically trained to help you get clearer, healthier, happier skin.

About the Author


Kerry Benjamin, a licensed aesthetician, has over 12 years of experience. Kerry is the driving force behind StackedSkincare. As the company's CEO, Kerry has dedicated her career to revolutionizing skincare. Her innovative approach combines peels, serums, and specialized tools toeffectively address a wide range of skin concerns. CA LE license number Z98459.