Best Acne Treatment for Teens – 2024 Guide

Updated on December 8, 2022
Boshika Gupta By Boshika Gupta
Boshika Gupta

Writer, Beauty & Wellness Enthusiast

Table Of Contents

    Best Acne Treatment for TeensPIN

    Best Acne Treatment for Teens – 2024 Guide

    If you’ve found yourself staring in despair at your reflection in the mirror after a good night’s sleep as you examine a new pimple, know that you’re not alone. Acne is widespread among teenagers and is often associated with several causes like hormonal changes, a poor diet, high-stress levels, the absence of a basic skincare routine, and more.

    According to a 2018 study from The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, several research studies have established that 81 to 95 percent of male teenagers struggle with acne while 79 to 82 percent of female adolescents experience breakouts. While it’s common to see your skin going through unexpected changes, it can be understandably difficult to cope with angry blemishes day after day as you try to find cost-effective solutions that aren’t too time-consuming. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s possible to access acne treatment for teens without investing too much money in high-end skincare products.

    But also, it’s important to remind yourself that your acne problems don’t define you. Additionally, it’s perfectly okay to feel a little frustrated or demotivated while looking for ways to banish pimples from your life.

    Here’s a helpful guide that deconstructs the expansive world of acne treatment for teens. Read on for the full lowdown.

    Best Acne Treatment for Teenage Males

    Establish a Basic Skincare Routine

    This is one of the essential steps that may seem evident at first but is often overlooked. Don’t forget that one of the key steps to keeping acne at bay begins with a good skincare routine that includes essential steps such as cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.

    Make sure to clean your face with a cleanser that works well for your skin type, and add non-comedogenic (they don’t block your pores!) products such as toners and moisturizers based on your needs. For instance, if your skin type is dry, you’ll need a hydrating toner that feels gentle and soothing for your parched skin. You should also avoid products that aren’t compatible with your skin type and can potentially irritate your skin further. Most skincare products mention the skin type they’re most suitable for – check the front of the box, tube, bottle, or jar for details.

    Following an effective skincare routine is important to protect your skin barrier. Remember: teenage acne treatment doesn’t have to be complicated, and discipline will go a long way in helping your skin recover from breakouts.

    Use OTC Products with Caution

    When it comes to choosing the best acne treatment for teenage males, it’s tempting to experiment with several OTC products that promise to treat acne without much effort. Some examples include Differin gel and skincare products formulated with a much-loved ingredient called benzoyl peroxide, known for its ability to target acne.


    While benzoyl peroxide can be helpful, it’s also known for causing irritation and drying out skin in certain cases. When in doubt, test a new product on an inconspicuous section of your skin (not on your face!) and check for any allergic or adverse reactions. Remember to rinse off the product if it does irritate your skin. This is a good tip and can be helpful for teens with sensitive skin who may be wary of new products.

    Zohna Tip

    Don't forget to patch-test your products before using them to avoid irritation and breakouts.

    Ask for Help if Needed

    There’s no shame in consulting a dermatologist for teen acne treatment options if you’re confused by what’s available in the market and would like an expert to take a look at your skin. More often than not, a skincare consultation can help ease your worries and allow you to pick a treatment plan that works best for you. You can talk to your parents about scheduling an appointment with a reputed dermatologist in your area.

    It would be helpful to make a list of your questions for the consultation. Maybe you’d like your dermatologist to talk to you about preventive measures and set realistic timelines for your acne treatment plan. An expert can also dig deeper into specific topics, such as the best skincare products, diet, and tips for teenage acne.

    Best Acne Treatment for Teenage Girl

    Pick the Right Treatment Option

    Well, the internet is filled with advice on the best acne treatment for teens, demonstrating how to get rid of those pesky pimples in different ways. You must spend some time getting to know your skin instead of hastily experimenting with a trend that’s gone viral on TikTok. Everyone is different, and what works for others may not be good for your needs. That’s okay – the goal is to carefully sift through the best acne products for teens and find something that’s good for your skin type.

    Whether you end up opting for an acne spot treatment option such as tea tree oil or buy a gel with exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid, do your research and go through the reviews to find out what other customers have written about the product. Be especially careful with an ingredient like salicylic acid because it can lead to irritation if used incorrectly and may not suit all skin types.

    Your specific acne concerns are important too. For example, maybe you’re trying to treat a breakout all over your face or have prominent acne in certain areas. The idea is to find something that works for you – but don’t worry if a popular product doesn’t do anything for your skin. Be patient and keep looking until you zero down on the right teen acne treatment products.

    Be Consistent with Your Acne Treatment Plan

    This is a big one – if you want to see results, it’s a good idea to stay disciplined and not underestimate the value of staying consistent. For example, after you’ve explored the best acne treatment for teens, you end up liking a specific lotion that keeps your breakouts under control. The next step is to be persistent with your routine. Using your favorite products as directed will keep those breakouts under control.


    Being inconsistent with your skincare routine may make those breakouts worse. Don’t be scared, though. All you need to do is stay patient and trust the process. And remember, consistency and discipline will give you the results you’re looking for. As popular dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting explains, consistency also means that you’re using a product in the recommended quantities instead of skimping on something or overdoing it. It’s also wise to give a product some time to work instead of immediately switching over to something else just because you didn’t see impressive results overnight.

    Get Advice From Someone You Trust

    It can be super overwhelming to try and understand the best acne treatment for teens all by yourself. You need someone else to weigh in with a few helpful tips when you’re confused or need to hear more perspectives before deciding how to proceed. You could speak to your parents, a dermatologist, or a knowledgeable source in your network.

    It’s likely that others have experienced what you have and know how draining it can be to hunt for the best options for teen acne treatment. Also, a word of caution: while it’s great to get varied perspectives and enlightening anecdotes from those you know and trust, don’t think twice before paying a visit to the dermatologist’s office if things start to feel overwhelming. A professional will be able to examine your skin and recommend a list of teen acne treatment options that could work for you.

    How to Get Rid of Teenage Pimples Naturally

    It’s acceptable to feel uncomfortable using commercial skincare products and conventional acne treatment options. Maybe you’d like to give natural methods a shot first before you sample teen acne products. Or perhaps, you need to find more cost-effective solutions that you can experiment with at home. You do have a few alternative solutions that you could try to see whether they’re effective in keeping your acne under control.

    Revamp Your Skincare Routine

    You may want to check your existing routine to check if any of your products have potentially irritating ingredients like alcohol, strong exfoliating agents such as AHAs and BHAs, exfoliating scrubs, and more. The best skincare for teenage acne is simple and fuss-free. Sometimes, adopting a simple and effective skincare regimen can control acne and even help get rid of existing zits.

    Try Using a Kitchen Staple like Turmeric

    A common home remedy for acne is a spice that’s often found in kitchens: turmeric. You may see some benefits from applying a turmeric paste (mixed with turmeric powder and water) for a few minutes if your breakout isn’t too severe. However, be careful before using this ingredient, and don’t forget to check for allergies before applying it to your face. Turmeric doesn’t work for everyone and can cause redness and irritation in some people. Remember to always do a patch test!

    Add Manuka Honey to Your DIY Masks

    Honey is a skincare superhero that many skincare enthusiasts love. In fact, using an ingredient like manuka honey can help soothe your skin and hydrate it at the same time. Putting on a facemask with ingredients like manuka honey and yogurt for just 15 minutes can make your skin feel a lot better. Again, remember to check for any allergies before using it on your face. It’s also wise not to expect instant results while trying to figure out whether something is right for you. When in doubt, consult your dermatologist for advice, who will always have valuable insights on the best acne treatment for teens as well as adults. Also, here’s something worth remembering – while it may feel tempting to try options such as baking soda and apple cider vinegar to treat acne, it’s best to avoid them because they can irritate your skin.

    If you’re planning to use a DIY mask, refer to this short step-by-step guide.

    • Wash your face and cleanse it thoroughly before proceeding to the next step
    • Keep the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes at the most for the best results
    • Wash off the mask by rinsing your face and moisturizing as usual

    Best Acne Products for Teens

    If you’re wondering whether there are specific acne products that can be added to a teenage acne treatment plan, look no further! Here’s a helpful comparison between a few over-the-counter and prescription options for acne.

    Type of drug Details
    Over-the-counter Proactiv is an option that includes benzoyl peroxide and is specifically meant for those fighting acne. Available as a skincare kit.
    Prescription Accutane, also known as isotretinoin, is a prescription drug that’s only available to those with a valid prescription from a doctor. Especially useful for people struggling with cystic acne.
    Over-the-counter Differin gel is an accessible option for those fighting breakouts. The gel is considered to be safe for everyday use and contains a retinoid called adapalene.
    Prescription Antibiotics are usually available in different forms, and doctors prescribe a product or medication based on the severity of acne. For someone with a mild case of acne, a topical option may suffice.

    Proactiv for Teens

    Proactiv is a three-step skincare kit that promises to eliminate acne and is formulated to work on different skin types. The kit’s star ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, which helps fight bacteria and restore skin to its natural state. The kit includes a cleanser, a toner, and the Proactiv Solution Repairing Treatment. If you decide to try Proactiv for teens, you may find that your skin feels dry, which is a common side-effect (make sure to moisturize your skin). Individuals are also advised to use sunscreen regularly if they use Proactiv.

    Features & benefits

    • Formulated to work on all skin types
    • Can be used by individuals from different age groups
    • Available as an easy-to-use skincare kit


    Accutane is a strong prescription retinoid that claims to work on severe acne and is touted as an effective solution for those who haven’t had a lot of luck with other anti-acne solutions. Many anecdotes accentuate how Accutane successfully cleared the skin when nothing else worked. Accutane aims to reduce oil production and ensures that your pores aren’t clogged, making it likely that your skin will start to clear up.

    Accutane can also work as a powerful acne treatment for teens. However, you can only buy Accutane at pharmacies after you’re cleared by a doctor to do so. The medicine could have several side effects, such as mood swings and depression, dry skin and lips, skin that’s overly sensitive to the sun, itchiness, and more. Also, Accutane is not suitable for pregnant individuals and has been associated with multiple risks. It’s essential to discuss your options with your doctor to understand whether this is the right choice for you.

    Features & benefits

    • May work better than other anti-acne solutions
    • Needs a prescription from your doctor
    • Is anti-inflammatory and targets bacteria on the skin

    Differin Gel

    Differin gel is an accessible, over-the-counter teenage acne treatment option that claims to act as a multi-purpose product. It focuses on improving skin texture and claims to target zits, blackheads, and other skin concerns through its primary ingredient, a retinoid known as adapalene. It’s recommended for use once every day for the best results.

    Features & benefits

    • An accessible, over-the-counter gel for acne treatment
    • Contains a retinoid that is formulated to directly target acne
    • Helps avoid future breakouts by keeping skin clear


    Antibiotics are one of those teen acne products that can help if you’re looking for an option to help you fight painful pimples and soothe your skin. Note that you need to pay a visit to your physician to get a prescription for antibiotics. In all likelihood, a doctor will focus on recommending a round of antibiotics for a brief period. Antibiotics will decrease pain and potentially reduce acne by targeting bacteria and reducing skin irritation.

    Features & Benefits

    • Helps decrease pain caused by stubborn breakouts
    • Needs a prescription and examination by a qualified physician
    • Can potentially reduce skin inflammation and clear up skin

    Teenage Acne In-office Treatments

    Blue Light Therapy

    As far as teen acne treatment goes, blue light therapy is an option that could be worth considering for those who’d like to choose a professional treatment at a dermatologist’s office. Blue light therapy may be able to clear the skin and eliminate acne scars while regulating oil production.

    The advantage of going down this route is that you won't have to worry about trying different teen acne products that suit your skin.

    Laser Treatment

    If you’re trying hard to find ways to remove acne scars, laser therapy could be the right option. Several options exist for those who need laser therapy to get rid of scars left behind by breakouts and blemishes. If you opt for laser therapy, go to a licensed dermatologist instead of trusting an inexperienced professional at a local skincare spa.

    Acne in Teen Prevention Tips

    Don’t Sleep with Makeup On

    This is a standard skincare tip that’s popular for a good reason. Makeup tends to clog pores if you don’t cleanse your skin correctly before calling it a day. Even if you’re exhausted, always remove makeup and moisturize your skin before heading to bed.

    Stick to a Solid Skincare Routine

    This is an essential tip. Take a few minutes to cleanse your skin twice a day and use moisturizer and SPF to protect your skin. Remember that you don’t need to add a plethora of products to your routine and will benefit from simply cleansing, toning, and moisturizing your skin.

    Here’s a simple but effective routine that can keep your skin barrier protected.

    • Listen to your skin type. If your skin feels overly dry, use a hydrating cream cleanser or a cleansing balm to wash your face before applying any products to your skin.
    • Use a toner right before moisturizing your skin. Before using a moisturizer, you can also add a serum or essence if required. However, if you’re using a spot treatment for acne, get that done first before applying any serums.
    • During the day, don’t forget to use adequate amounts of sunscreen to protect your skin.

    Don’t Pop Pimples

    As tempting as it may be to pick at pimples as soon as you spot them. It’s actually a good idea to leave them alone. Popping pimples may lead to undesirable results, such as acne scars. Stick to some of the best acne products for teens and allow your pimple to vanish on its own (it will!).

    Clean Your Sheets

    Dirty bedsheets and towels can lead to breakouts. Always clean your sheets, pillowcases, and towels every week. Also, try not to touch your face often and wash your hands before applying any product to your face.

    Be Mindful

    Stress is known to cause acne, and it’s helpful to meditate and play a sport you enjoy to keep stress at bay. Also, be mindful that teen acne is often caused by puberty and hormonal changes. It’s normal and nothing to feel embarrassed about!


    • When Does Teen Acne Go Away?

      There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. The truth is that teen acne often goes away by the time you hit your 20s, but this may not be true for everyone. You may be able to banish breakouts earlier or later – it’s tough to be confident without a consultation from your doctor.

    • How Does Nutrition Affect Teen Acne?

      A lot of teens experience acne because of hormonal changes. A diet may or may not play a role, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution and stick to a healthy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich food items.

    • Should You Try Acne Treatment When You're a Teenager?

      You can try specific effective teen acne treatment options as a teenager but don’t feel like you absolutely must do this! It’s a personal choice, and it’s okay to wait it out instead of trying an aggressive, anti-acne treatment plan. To be safe, consult an expert who can prepare a customized treatment plan for you.

    • Which Antibiotics are Used for Teen Acne?

      Several antibiotics are prescribed to target teen acne, including oral and topical treatment options. It’s best to consult a physician to understand which option is the most effective choice.

    • Do Birth Control Pills Help with Acne?

      While birth control pills can help fight acne, it’s subjective, and there’s no way to know for sure unless you consult a qualified physician. Taking a birth control pill and using a topical anti-acne treatment product may work well for some individuals, but it’s important to talk to a doctor first.


    While searching for the best acne treatment for teens, remind yourself that this won’t last forever, and it’s okay to feel how you feel. Acne during your teen years is something that many of us experience and tracking down the best teen acne products can be a frustrating process. If you ever feel overwhelmed or confused, know that seeking professional help is always an option.