Acne Treatment for Teens: When to see a dermatologist

Acne in teens is part and parcel of growing up. It is estimated that 85% of teens struggle with acne, and it is so prolific that escaping your teen years without acne or acne treatment is considered a miracle.

When acne first appears our first instinct is to invest in skincare and look for over the counter, specifically formulated acne treatment for teens. Popular options are acne washes and topical creams which include ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help fight acne-causing bacteria. 

benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for acne

While over the counter acne treatments for teens may be successful to prevent acne, in certain cases it is important to be able to identify when these solutions become ineffective and a visit to a dermatologist is required. There are various types of acne treatments in Singapore that dermatologists can prescribe to address the issue.

Acne treatment for teens

Most cases of teen acne can be referred to as hormonal acne. Hormone fluctuations when teens reach puberty can cause a myriad of problems including overactive sebum glands, which leads to oily skin, blocked pores and sadly, acne.

There are other reasons acne can develop in teens. Stress is a proven trigger for acne - we can all remember the stresses and anxieties of our teen years. Sweating from exercise or hot climates can also be a cause of acne as it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that helps acne to develop.

How is teen acne different from adult acne?

When teen acne is not managed or treated well, it can progress to become adult acne. Post-adolescent acne or adult acne can occur after you turn 25, and progressively becomes harder to treat with conventional acne treatments.

Sometimes lifestyle changes, skincare habits and diet need to be modified to calm adult acne. There are signs that adults also need to spot to know when it is time to see a dermatologist for their acne.


Teen Acne Adult Acne
Appears over the whole face, back and chest Appears mainly on the lower face, jawline and chin
Experienced by boys and girls as a result of changing hormones from puberty Experienced mainly by women due to fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle or as a result of pregnancy
Manifests in more blackheads and whiteheads Manifests as more inflammatory, including cysts, redness and sensitivity

Signs it is time to see a dermatologist for teen acne

seeing a dermatologist for teen acneThe benefit of seeing a dermatologist is that they can give advice tailored to your teen's skin and acne type, which means the results are much more likely to be effective compared to over-the-counter acne treatment for teens you would pick yourself.

A dermatologist will determine the best course of treatment for their skin type which normally consists of a combination of prescribed antibiotics or topical creams, cosmetic treatments such as laser therapy or acne facials.

These customized acne treatment plans are also advantageous in that you can request for a drug-free intervention should you prefer it.

But when should you give up the drugstore acne washes and visit a qualified dermatologist?

1. When topical treatments or derma skincare no longer work

If your teen has been religiously using on-the-spot acne treatments but it seems to be losing its effectiveness, this could mean that their acne is getting worse. A dermatologist can curate and manage their treatment plan accordingly.

2. When acne reoccurs despite a good skincare routine

skincare routine for acneGood skincare can be great for managing teen acne, but similarly to point number one, if your teen is breaking out despite a top-notch skincare routine laced with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, it may not be normal hormonal acne, and thus require a stronger form of treatment.

3. When acne leaves scars

There may not be many silver linings when it comes to teen acne, but the one thing is that when you are in your teens your cells turn over much more quickly. This means that acne spots come and go.

Unfortunately, as we get older our cells do not renew as quickly, and spots can hang around for ages and cause red marks and scarring. If your teen has acne and starts to experience scarring, this is considered serious acne. It is essential to seek the advice of a derma professional to avoid life-long scars.

closeup of acne scarring on face

4. When acne begins to affect your teen's social life

We all know that acne can be a real confidence killer. In fact, people with acne are more likely to develop:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor self-image

If your teen avoids going out and socialising because they are embarrassed about their acne, it is definitely the time to seek the help of a dermatologist to safeguard their wellbeing and mental health.

How not to manage teen acne

How Not to Manage Teen AcneWhile most solutions to treat acne for teens comes from a dermatologist, there are some things you need to take note of to prevent acne from getting worse.

  • Do not pick or squeeze acne

Picking or squeezing spots is a recipe for disaster. Not only will it mean spreading the infection to the rest of the face, but it will also risk acne scarring which can cause pigmentation for life.

  • Avoid makeup

The first thing your teen will want to do when a new spot rears its ugly head is to cover it up, but it is best for them to avoid makeup where possible. Makeup will clog more pores and potentially cause another breakout.

  • Do not ignore it

It is best to leave acne spots and pimples alone, but that does not mean it should go untreated. Make an appointment with a medical professional or a dermatologist to get it treated as soon as possible.

Why choose Illumia Therapeutics?

Acne treatment for teens is complicated, that is why we work together with a team of aesthetic doctors to tailor make a customized treatment plan which suits the specific needs of our client.

We factor in their skin type, lifestyle and the severity of their condition to ensure the end result is beautifully clear acne-free skin. For the quickest and most effective way to treat acne for teens, book a consultation with our team of expert therapists to determine the best acne treatment solution.


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