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8 Acne Treatments That Actually Work for Teenagers


If you have cystic acne, you’re not alone, it’s the most common type of acne in the United States, affecting between 40 and 50 million people over the age of 12.

Fortunately, there are plenty of safe and effective acne treatments out there that can help reduce your acne symptoms, even better, many are inexpensive and can be found right at your local drugstore. Here are 8 acne treatments that actually work for teenagers.

8 Acne Treatments That Actually Work for Teenagers

1- Change your diet

  • Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and make your diet low in refined sugars, processed foods, and dairy products. These things can all exacerbate acne by causing hormonal changes within your body. 
  • Get lots of sleep: Getting enough restful sleep is incredibly important to keep skin healthy, so don't skimp on shut-eye.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise helps both prevent and treat acne, especially when done outdoors in the fresh air; be sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 if you go outside.


2- Use a Blemish Control Face Wash

If a certain face wash gives you clear skin, blemish control face washes that include salicylic acid can prevent acne formation. These products help to open pores and remove excess oil and dead skin cells, which is a primary cause of acne. Facial washes containing these ingredients are also less likely to dry out your skin. 

For an effective blemish control face wash, check out Neutrogena’s Ultra-Sensitive Skin Facial Cleanser. With a salicylic acid concentration of 1 percent, its formula works by gently exfoliating dead cells from your skin’s surface while keeping sensitive areas moisturized with aloe extract and chamomile flower water.


3- Try Proactiv+

Proactiv+ is a great choice if you’re a teenager looking to treat your acne. It’s similar to Oxy10 in that it features benzoyl peroxide, but it also has salicylic acid. One of these ingredients can be irritating on its own, but together they make an effective combo that works to clear up skin and prevent future breakouts.

According to Proactiv+, using their treatment will result in clearer skin by day 2 or 3, and by week 4 you should see 90% better results. 


4- Eat Yogurt Instead of Ice Cream

Studies have shown that people who eat at least one serving of yogurt a day are less likely to be overweight than those who don’t eat yogurt. Yogurt is a natural probiotic, meaning it contains healthy bacteria (good for your gut and therefore good for your skin). 

Pick Greek-style or plain varieties without artificial sweeteners. Your best bet is to choose organic as well since conventional yogurt tends to have far fewer probiotics. Eat low-fat versions if you want; just be sure to check labels so they don’t pack in too many extra calories.

Put it on your face: Yogurt makes an excellent facial mask because of its soothing effects and moisturizing benefits.


5- Use Tea Tree Oil to Reduce Redness

Natural Remedies The next time you have a pimple, dab a little tea tree oil onto it. Tea tree oil is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory substance that can help calm your acne down in no time flat. Just mix one or two drops of tea tree oil with three or four drops of jojoba oil, then apply to your face with a cotton swab.

Don't worry if your skin starts looking red at first; it will eventually go back to normal as the medicine works its magic on your pimples.

A word of caution: Tea tree oil has been known to cause rashes and irritation in people who are allergic to plants in the botanical family Myrtaceae.

6- Get Professional Help

If you're having a hard time with cystic acne, it might be best to get professional help. A dermatologist can evaluate your skin and give you advice on what treatment is right for you, whether that's antibiotics or other medications. They can also prescribe creams that work well and provide relief from cystic acne.

The point of seeing a doctor is so you can figure out which course of action will work best for your skin over time, not just in the short term.

Also, if you have an underlying health condition causing your acne, it’s important to treat that as well rather than just try to clear up your breakouts through topical treatments.


7- Stop Doing These Five Things

If you’re a teenager with cystic acne, it might feel like nothing helps. But dermatologists say that if your acne is hormonal, these five treatments can often help:

  1.  Benzoyl peroxide. 
  2.  Topical retinoids.
  3.  Antibiotics. 
  4.  Accutane or other oral medication. 
  5.  Birth control pills.

If you have whiteheads, blackheads, or, pimples, start by cleaning your skin well. Never pop a pimple because doing so can spread bacteria to nearby pores and cause scarring. Also, avoid squeezing spots because it will only irritate your skin further.

Instead of fighting blemishes, look for products that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid to reduce oil production in pores.


8- Don’t Overdo It with the Makeup

When acne is on your face and in other noticeable places, it’s tempting to go overboard with makeup. But think about how heavy or thick makeup feels in other parts of your body, like on your feet, or your legs after shaving. It makes sense that it would be uncomfortable to put on too much foundation or concealer all over. 

In addition to not feeling great, makeup can block pores, which can make acne worse. A professional aesthetician will help you find out what kind of products work best with your skin type (dry vs oily) and give you tips that are specific to your unique situation.



The best acne treatments for teenagers are likely to be those that tackle pimples on all fronts: both drying up blemishes and preventing breakouts from happening in the first place.

If you’re dealing with hormonal breakouts, prescription topical medications might be a good option. Another option is to try an over-the-counter acne wash with salicylic acid.

Benzoyl peroxide has been used in acne treatments since it was introduced in 1959, but there are some dangers to using benzoyl peroxide products too regularly and if you’re pregnant, speak with your doctor before using any acne treatment containing benzoyl peroxide. Lastly, it’s important to take proper care of your skin while treating teen acne.


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