How to get rid of teenage acne

acne facial singapore

Teenage acne can be a frustrating and confidence-shaking experience. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and practices, teenagers can manage and reduce their breakouts effectively. 

In this article, we will explore the causes of teenage acne, the types of teenage acne, possible skincare routines that can help with this condition and benefits of an acne facial.

Causes of Teenage Acne

Understanding the root causes of acne is crucial to dealing with it effectively. Several factors contribute to the development of acne, particularly during the teenage years.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations during puberty can trigger acne. Both boys and girls experience an increase in hormones called androgens during puberty. This increase causes the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and lead to acne.

Puberty is a time of significant change in a teenager’s body, including rapid growth and development of secondary sexual characteristics. During this period, the body produces more androgens, which stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin. This increased activity can lead to an overproduction of sebum. When sebum mixes with dead skin cells, it can clog hair follicles. These clogged follicles then become an environment where bacteria thrives, causing inflammation and giving rise to acne.

Hormonal changes are not limited to puberty. They can also occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and times of high stress. For teenagers, managing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help moderate hormone levels and reduce the likelihood of severe acne outbreaks.

Excess Oil Production

Excess oil production can be influenced by factors other than hormones, such as genetic predisposition. Teenagers with oily skin types are particularly prone to acne, as their sebaceous glands produce more sebum than necessary. This excess oil can mix with dirt and sweat, further clogging pores and leading to blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe forms of acne.

Managing oil production involves using appropriate skincare products that can help regulate sebum levels without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. 

Non-comedogenic products, which do not clog pores, are essential in maintaining a healthy skin balance.

Bacterial Infection

The skin naturally harbours bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. In small amounts, they are harmless. When they multiply excessively due to clogged pores and excess oil, they can cause inflammation and lead to more severe acne.

Propionibacterium acnes bacteria thrive in an environment rich in sebum and low in oxygen, which is often the case in clogged pores. They produce substances that trigger inflammation, leading to red, swollen pimples that can be painful and persistent. The body’s immune response to this bacterial invasion can also result in pus-filled lesions, known as pustules.

Preventing bacterial overgrowth involves keeping the skin clean and minimising pore blockages. Active teenagers in particular should make sure to always wash their face right after sports using a gentle cleanser and use sunscreen when out in the sun. For a foolproof and easy way to get those done, we recommend our SPF30 Total Protect Face & Body Wash. Total Protect is a 2-in-1 facial cleanser that acts as a sunscreen too. It is non-greasy and suitable for all ages and skin types.

Types of Teenage Acne

Non-inflammatory Acne

Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads and whiteheads are the most common forms of acne among teenagers. They develop when pores become clogged with a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells. 

Non-inflammatory acne is generally less severe and can be managed with proper skincare.

While regular exfoliation and proper cleansing are key to preventing the formation of new blackheads and whiteheads, we don’t recommend removing them at home yourself.

Inflammatory Acne

There are a few types of inflammatory acne: 

  • Papules: Small red bumps 
  • Pustules: Pus-containing red bumps 
  • Nodules: Large, solid bumps beneath the skin 
  • Cysts: Painful, pus-filled bumps 

They occur as an immune system reaction to clogged pores and intensified bacteria. 

Treating inflammatory acne often requires more intensive treatment. In adults, oral medications are often prescribed together with cortisone injections or laser therapy to reduce inflammation and prevent scarring. 

However for teenagers, we recommend starting with gentler solutions first like facials and getting their basics i.e. skincare right before considering more invasive treatment.

Skincare Routine for Teenage Acne


Use a gentle cleanser that suits your skin type twice daily, in the morning and before bed. Avoid harsh scrubbing, which irritates the skin and worsens acne.

Choosing the right cleanser is key. For oily or acne-prone skin, look for gentle cleansing ingredients like tea tree oil, which has natural antibacterial properties. And for sensitive skin, opt for a mild, fragrance-free cleanser that won’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Ingredients to look for in such a cleanser include aloe vera and chamomile, which soothe the skin without causing irritation.

Cleansing may be particularly important for teenagers who are active in sport. The accumulated sweat and grime can clog pores and lead to acne.

At the same time, it is important to note that washing your face too frequently can lead to dryness and irritation. Teenagers should find the right balance in their cleansing routine, accounting for their skin sensitivities and activities.


For teenagers with oily or acne-prone skin, lightweight, oil-free moisturisers are ideal. Look for products containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which provides hydration without adding excess oil. Moisturising helps to balance the skin’s oil production and can prevent the overproduction of sebum.

Some teenagers skip moisturising, thinking it will make their acne worse, but this can actually lead to increased oil production as the skin tries to combat dryness. A good moisturiser will help maintain skin hydration and support the skin’s natural barrier function, making it less susceptible to irritants and bacteria.

Using Toners

The hormonal changes that are rife in teenagers can lead to fluctuations in oil production and skin sensitivity. A toner can help to restore balance, removing excess oil and makeup, without causing dryness.

As with the tip above, teenagers should look for gentle toners, with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.

Shampoo Regularly

Oily hair can transfer oil to your face, contributing to breakouts. Shampooing regularly helps keep your hair clean and reduces the risk of acne on your forehead and hairline.

When shampooing, make sure to thoroughly clean your hairline and rinse out any product to avoid residue that can clog pores and cause pimples.

Limit Makeup Use

Makeup can clog pores and contribute to acne if not used properly. Here are some tips to minimise its impact on your skin:

  • Choose non-comedogenic products: These products are formulated to not clog pores and are a better choice for acne-prone skin.
  • Remove makeup before bed: Always remove makeup thoroughly before sleeping to prevent pore blockage and reduce the risk of breakouts.
  • Avoid heavy foundations: Opt for lightweight makeup that doesn’t smother your skin.

Consider an Acne Facial

Acne facials for teenagers are designed to treat the specific needs of younger, acne-prone skin. They often include gentle cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and soothing masks to reduce inflammation and clear pores. Professional treatments can effectively target stubborn acne and improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin.

During acne facials, you can also receive personalised advice and product recommendations from the professionals trained to treat and assess your skin. 

One acne facial we perform for teenagers is our Signature Medical Peel. This procedure includes the use of medical-grade AHAs and BHAs to slough away dead skin cells, boost skin renewal and control oil production. It also has additional skin rejuvenation benefits to ensure skin remains bright and healthy. 

Our Signature Medical Peel is safe for all ages, including those below the age of 18. However, we require individuals to have parental consent and for a legal guardian to be present at registration. We offer first trial rates of $38 (U.P. $299).

Acne facial in Singapore

The solution to stubborn acne, whether as a teenager or an adult, is special attention–and professional help. At SkinLab our therapists are focused on helping you find the best treatment and products for your unique acne condition. 

Book a consultation with us today.

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