It’s a simple fact: pre-teens and teenagers are going through changes. And sometimes, those changes result in acne. If you’re one of the many teenagers who deal with acne during puberty, this is for you! Let’s talk about what causes teen acne, how to prevent it from forming, and what to do when pimples show up anyway.

Why Do Teens Get Acne?

Teens get acne for a number of reasons, but the most common reason is puberty. Your hormone levels are going through changes, which can lead to increased oil production in the skin’s pores and hair follicles. This increased oil, along with dead skin cells and bacteria, can clog your pores and cause acne. You might see acne in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples.

Acne can also run in the family; if one or both of your parents dealt with acne growing up, you are likely to as well. Additionally, stress is another common source of acne in pre-teens and teenagers.

How Can I Prevent Acne?

The best way to get rid of acne is to not let it form in the first place. While it’s impossible to guarantee a pimple won’t form, here are some good practices that should significantly help your skin:

– Wash your face once or twice a day with water and a gentle cleanser made for your skin type (normal, dry, oily, or combination skin)

– Do NOT scrub your face with a washcloth or shower loofah; they will irritate your skin and are prone to bacteria if not washed regularly

– If you wear makeup, be sure to remove all of it at the end of the day with an oil-free makeup remover

– Wash your face after exercising to cleanse your pores of sweat

– Keep your hair off of your face and avoid low-brim hats if you tend to see acne on your forehead

– Avoid touching or picking at your skin or existing acne to limit irritation and the spread of bacteria from your hands

Teenage boy at the doctor's office

I Already Have Acne—How Do I Make It Go Away?

Washing your face regularly is something everyone should do, acne or no acne. However, if you do notice new acne, there are a few things you can do to treat it. First and foremost: do not touch it! Oils and other bacteria from your hands can make acne worse, and popping or picking at pimples can lead to scarring. Instead, try spot treatments, creams, or “pimple patches.” Make sure to do your research on the ingredients to find the best fit for your skin and avoid products that contain unnecessary chemicals or fragrances.

If over-the-counter treatments aren’t working, talk with your health care provider or dermatologist about prescription treatments. Dermatologists can prescribe a specific medicine, antibiotic, or cream to help you target the specifics of your acne and get you more helpful results.

If you want to keep your skin clear, we recommend these tips. However, at the end of the day, acne is a normal occurrence and nearly everyone experiences it at some point in their lives—so don’t sweat it too much.

Do you have more questions about your teen’s health in Salem Oregon?  Contact our staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!