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The Truth about Teen Acne

As if being a teen trying to figure life out isn't hard enough, they sometimes have acne to deal with too. Teen acne usually makes them feel a little self-conscious about their skin. And as a parent, I'm sure it can be overwhelming knowing where to start to get your teen's skin clear. I created this handy teen acne guide to help you understand and navigate your teen's acne journey with ease. So let's jump in!

First things first, we have to address some rumors about teen acne:

Myth #1: Acne is caused by poor hygiene

Although having good hygiene and routine doesn't get to the root cause of acne. Dirt alone does not cause acne. But practicing good hygiene is essential for maintaining healthy, clear skin.

Myth #2: Only teenagers get acne

Although acne is more prevalent in teenagers because of the hormone surge in puberty, many adults also have acne.

Myth #3: Only prescription medications help clear acne

Not only do prescription medications come with a lot of side effects, but they only act as a band-aid for acne. Because several factors trigger acne, treating it at its root cause is important.

Why does my teen have acne?

A lot of changes that take place during adolescence are linked to hormones. And because hormones and the skin are so closely connected, this is one of the places it tends to affect the most. The main hormone that affects our skin is testosterone- the male hormone. We all have testosterone, but the amount of testosterone in our bodies increases during puberty. This surge in testosterone can trigger acne because it affects the oil glands in the skin, and when our skin produces more oil, it traps dead skin cells, leading to the formation of a microcomedone (the beginning of all acne). Get the full scoop on acne here.

But because everyone's bodies are unique, we experience puberty differently, this is some people develop more severe acne, while others may have the occasional blemish. Here are some other factors that might lead to having more acne as a teen:

  • Your genetics play a large role in your acne; it can run in your family

  • Using pore-clogging ingredients in haircare, skincare, or body products

  • Eating foods high in iodine, sugars, and processed food

  • Friction on your skin from sports equipment

  • High-stress levels

Some acne triggers might feel out of your teen's control, like genetics, but there are several things you and your teen can implement today to prevent acne.

8 acne tips for your teen:

1. Avoid touching and picking your face

Touching your face too much can lead to more irritation, spreading acne bacteria. It's also important to break this habit as soon as possible because this habit will lead to scarring and even excoriation disorder- a skin-picking disorder.

2. Start treating your acne right away

Because hormones are not the only cause of acne, you'll want to learn the root cause of your acne so you can manage it as you get older. We often think teens will outgrow their acne, and once puberty slows down and their hormones start to balance out, acne and acne scars can still linger. Leaving acne untreated can lead to years of frustration, permanent scars, and years of acne.

3. Use non-pore-clogging ingredients

Pore-clogging ingredients can be hidden everywhere, even when a product claims to be "acne-safe" or "oil-free." Check all of your haircare, skincare, makeup, and body products for sneaky pore-cloggers. You can find that list here.

4. Don't sleep with your makeup on

Even acne-safe makeup can cause a breakout if you sleep with it on because it can eventually lead to clogging your pores. I recommend doing a double cleanse in your nighttime routine.

How to double cleanse:

- Use an acne-safe makeup remover to pre-cleanse your skin

- Follow up with your gentle gel cleanser

5. Wash your pillowcases and sheets

Our pillowcases and sheets hold on to our body oils and bacteria- the perfect breeding ground for acne. I recommend changing your pillowcases daily and your sheets weekly or twice weekly if you're experiencing body acne.

6. Try to eat a balanced diet

What you consume regularly plays a large role in your skin's health. I recommend sticking to a low-glycemic diet to avoid inflammatory foods.

7. Keep your routine simple

We live in a time of skin influencers who have an 18-step skincare routine, and for most of us, that's not possible or necessary if you have acne. When it comes to your teen's routine it's important to be consistent, washing their face when they wake up and before they go to bed. Here's a general outline of what your routine should look like:

-Gentle Face Wash


Hydrating Serum


-Daily SPF

I put together a clear skin starter kit that you can find here.

8. Work with an acne specialist

Once you've implemented all the tips above and your teen is still struggling to get clear, it might be time to work with an acne specialist. Having acne isn't the only reason to have a healthy and consistent skincare routine. An acne specialist can help you discover your specific acne triggers and teach you how to care for your skin for many years to come. It's never too early to start a teen on a routine to get them into the habit of caring for their skin.

How do I talk to my teen about their acne?

This one might be a little tricky because your teen might not feel super comfortable discussing their skin concerns, especially if it's something they are a little insecure about. You can start by asking them how their skincare routine is going and ask them if they need any help with it. This will help your teen open up if they have questions or concerns about their skin. It's best to have a gentle and loving approach when speaking to your teen about their skin. Try not to shame them for not being consistent with their routine but instead think of ways to help guide them in the right direction.

The best way to help your teen with their acne is to ask them if they'd be interested in working with a skincare professional before making an appointment. If your teen isn't really sure or on board to start their clear skin journey, it's best to know that right away. To get the most out of working with a professional is to ensure your teen is 100% committed. I understand that as a parent, you will want what is best for teens, but they must want it more than you.

If your teen is ready to clear up their acne and learn how to care for and maintain their healthy skin, my teen acne program might be the best place to start after implementing the 8 skin tips. Schedule your Clear Skin Journey Call here to connect to see if working together can help your teen achieve their clear skin goals. I would never take on a client I didn't feel I could help.

Sending you all the clear skin vibes,

Autumn the Acne Coach


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