Being a teenager is difficult enough… even without acne. Acne treatments for teens are available over the counter and from the pharmacy. Here is my overall treatment plan with ingredients that can all be bought over the counter.
I want a treatment that the teen can do. This means it should not be expensive and should be able to be incorporated into their overall skin care regimen. Easy and inexpensive; that’s my plan.
Depending on your acne (is it whiteheads? blackheads? cystic? scarring?) your treatment may need to be individualized. The following acne treatment for teens is a good place to start.
What are you doing now for your skin? Is it working? Are you diligent and do it daily? What has worked in the past? Are you a female and acne is worse before your menstrual period? If so, oral contraceptives may help your skin greatly. See your physician for contraceptive prescription.
Back to your skin, the facial skin does not like to be roughed up. So, I urge patients to start with washing morning and night with a facial cleanser. Inexpensive ones are Dove, Basis, or Cetaphil. Then, pat the face dry. No roughing it up with a buff-puff or abrasive sponge.
Benzoyl peroxide (BP) is available over the counter in 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. The stronger it is the more likely your skin will turn red, dry, and scaly before it becomes accustomed to it. BP helps kill the bacteria on your skin that causes acne. BP also helps your skin not become resistant to other topical medications for acne. BP can bleach your hair, clothing, towels, and bedding: so be aware of that. Often skin is sensitive to BP (and gets red, dry, and scaly), so consider using it every other day or every third day for a few weeks, until your skin is used to it and then you can increase the frequency to every day.
A topical retinoic acid derivative, adapalene, is also available over the counter. This can be used nightly (after your face is washed and patted dry). I suggest you use adapalene every other night and BP the nights you do not use adapalene.
Acne treatment for teens is great, but also it is important to wear sunscreen. Acne treatments can make the face more sensitive to light and more likely to burn. Pick a noncomedogenic sunscreen that is meant for the face. Neutrogena and Eucerin make a facial sunscreen that feels and smells good (and is also available without a prescription!).
Your teenager may be seeing acne advertisements. Most of these contain the ingredients above, but in a much more expensive format.
As always, see your physician for more individualized skin care help. Most primary care physicians can easily take care of acne. There are 1000 ways to help acne, this is just my routine first step: easy and inexpensive.
I hope this helps.