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Being a teenager usually means feeling self-conscious some (or most) of the time... it just comes with the territory. Nobody wants to get acne, but when you're already struggling to figure things out in middle school and high school, dealing with breakouts can be seriously frustrating.

Even though nearly 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience some type of acne, having blackheads, whiteheads, or red, inflamed pimples on your face or your body during these vulnerable teenage years can feel especially embarrassing and frustrating.

Whether you know the pain of acne first hand or you’re a parent trying to find the best acne treatment for your teens, we get it: Battling teenage acne doesn’t feel easy. The good news is, there’s an explanation — and acne treatments that work.


Causes of Teen Acne

Causes of Teen Acne

Hormones and genetics are two of the main contributing causes of teenage acne.

In both girls and boys, puberty triggers the production of androgens (male hormones including testosterone and DHT). This group of hormones tells your glands to enlarge and produce more oil, which is one of the main causes of acne. When that excess oil mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria, it can clog up your pores and lead to breakouts. The Proactiv Solution Teen Kit's Revitalizing Toner does a great job of removing excess oil, reducing the appearance of pores, and helping to balance your skin’s pH levels.

Did You Know?

Generally speaking, boys tend to have more severe teen acne than girls because they produce more androgens. Girls, on the other hand, may experience increased breakouts during certain times in their menstruation cycle.

Teenage acne often starts with a few blackheads or whiteheads, or some smaller pimples around the nose, cheeks, and forehead. Blackheads and whiteheads (also called clogged pores) will eventually turn into red, inflamed pimples if they aren’t treated properly. This is the case on your face and your body — acne can show up anywhere on your skin you have pores, which is everywhere! ProactivMD Essentials System + Teen Duo is recommended for all skin types and for teens with mild to moderate acne. The acne-treating retinoid Adapalene Gel 0.1% helps speed teen acne healing and prevents whiteheads and blackheads from coming back.

Tips for Managing Teen Acne

Although your hormones and genetics aren’t in your control, there are lots of ways that you can treat and take care of your skin that are in your control.

Here are some ways you can manage your acne and minimize your breakouts.

  • Avoid cosmetics, moisturizers, and other skincare products that are comedogenic, which means they have a greasy consistency or can clog pores. Instead, use oil-free or noncomedogenic products — they’ll help your skin breathe and limit clogged pores.
  • Friction or pressure on your skin can also lead to pimples or make teenage acne worse, so do your best to avoid touching your face and never, ever pick at your pimples! This will spread bacteria and lead to even more redness and irritation.
  • Sanitize and regularly wash things that touch your skin, like your cell phone, headphones, sweatbands, helmets, and backpack. Tight clothing (especially sweaty workout clothes) can also lead to clogged pores.
  • Stress alone won’t cause acne, but it can trigger acne or make breakouts worse. Look for ways to release stress, like exercising, deep breathing, spending time with loved ones, or meditating.
  • After sports practice or working out, do your best to shower as soon as possible. The sweat and bacteria on your skin can clog pores and lead to breakouts not just on your face, but also on your body.
  • You might be tempted to deal with your acne and oily skin by washing your face several times a day or scrubbing at your breakouts, but that can actually irritate and dry out your skin, which will only make your skin produce more oil. Instead, gently wash your face twice a day with the best acne treatment for teens: Proactiv.


Teen acne treatments that work

Teen Acne Treatments That Work

A consistent skincare routine and effective active ingredients are the best way to treat and prevent acne.

Benzoyl peroxide (also known as BP or BPO) is one of those star active ingredients. It delivers oxygen into your pores which kills the acne-causing bacteria because they can’t live in an oxygen-rich environment. BP is also an anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces the redness and inflammation (and sometimes pain!) that comes with your pimples. Benzoyl Peroxide is a star player in The Proactiv Solution Teen Kit’s Renewing Cleanser, Repairing Treatment, and Emergency Blemish Relief.

Salicylic acid is another extremely effective active ingredient that’s known as a beta hydroxy acid, or BHA. It’s an exfoliant that encourages dead skin cells to loosen and shed, which helps to clean out all that acne-causing debris inside your pores. With all those dead skin cells gone, your pores may look smaller and your skin can appear more radiant. Salicylic acid is a key ingredient in the Proactiv+ Teen Kit’s Cleansing Body Bar and Complexion Perfecting Hydrator.

Recommended Products

Whatever your skincare needs, each product line in the Proactiv family takes our unique Combination Therapy® approach to create an effective,
multi-step regimen to provide you with the healthy-looking skin you've always wanted.