• Welcome! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

treating teenage acne


concerned mom

My son's acne is worsening. He's fourteen and the dermatologist gave him a topical cream. It's not improving but I don't think his cleansing routine is too great either. I think I need to work with him side by side to make sure he's moving forward to clear up the acne. Do any teachers have advice I can share with him? Oh and, his dad doesn't want him taking oral penicillin so that's not an option right now. Especially since he hasn't convinced us that he's washing religiously. Thanks.

been there

try this

I know you may hear this from a lot of people, but you might think about trying proactiv for him- like from the infomercial. I'm 25 now and I had bad acne from age 14 up, with the worst probably being when I started college at 18. I'm talking embarrassing, huge, I didn't want to leave the house type acne on my face and neck (nevermind my back and the horror of swimsuits that showed my back). I tried the dermatologist, tried thinking I'd grow out of it, all sorts of over the counter treatments. Finally, now that my 2 younger brothers were having similar acne problems, my mom got us all proactiv and I'm not saying its a miracle, but after about 2 weeks, my face looked WAY better. I've been using it about 6 months and am pleased that as a teacher, I no longer have kids asking me why I have bug bites. I only wish I had the nerve to order it myself 5 years ago when I really needed it and first saw it. For whatever reason, it really worked for all 3 of us and they seem to be very legitimate although at first I too was wary about infomercial stuff.


Senior Member
We went the antibiotic route. My son's acne started when he was 11 and was pretty inflamed by the time he was 12 1/2, so we figured we'd better. It has worked.

The thing that worked for us about the cleaning routine was pointing out to him acne scarring whenever we saw it on someone on tv, etc. He really didn't realize the consequences and sort of saw his acne as a mark of maturity (since he had it before anyone else). His dad and his uncle both have a few scars so seeing people with lots of scarring sort of scared him straight. He realized that was a real possibility for him.


Senior Member

My daughter is 20, but has been dealing with acne since she was 10. She started seeing a dermatologist at age 11. He gave her a topical antibiotic and a topical cream. We tried a couple different topicals over the next couple of years. Finally we switched dermatologists. The next one prescribed an oral antibiotic and topical cream. Things got better until she started college. The stress of college resulted in MAJOR outbreaks, even with the oral antibiotics and topical cream. She then started using ProActive along with the oral antibiotic and that has been the key. Her acne is very under control and her skin looks great. She does use it religiously, twice a day. She's been on different oral antibiotics and Minocycline seems to work the best for her. It doesn't have a lot of side effects either, which is good.
I recommend giving ProActive a try. It's not cheap, but it does seem to last longer than what they suggest and you can change how often it is sent.



is a part of life. Sounds like your son's acne is stubborn but he's also not at a very good age either - 14 is so transitory!! If his face still looks like what you describe in 2 or 3 years, then I would worry about why it isn't clearing up.

I agree w/ not taking penicillin - there is no proof it works anyway. Everyone's body is unique. And, penicillin/amoxicillin wasn't invented for acne - people are too much on the "use the cillins for everything." Which is why they don't work when they should.

Your son should wash his face no more than three times a day. Morning, afternoon, and night are optimal times. But washing doesn't necessarily improve acne. NOT washing at all obviously isn't good for more than one reason, but over-washing can also be detrimental.

Benzoyl Peroxide washes are marketed as being the best cleansers for acne, but there are other washes to consider as well. Neutrogena has a good line w/ salycilic acid, and Cetaphil is good, too. Cetaphil is mild and gentle.

Acne is frustrating and often embarrassing. There isn't a simple solution, unfortunately.


Senior Member

I am 25 and have had problems with acne since I was about 10 years old. I have some scars, which I could have prevented had I kept my hands away from my face. For about 6 months I've been using Pro Active, and it works well. It has kept me from having outbreaks, but I still get an occassional pimple. Different cleansers work for different people, but I would suggest Pro Active.